Printing rollers can be used in a variety of ways — from the newspaper sector to the wallpaper manufacturing industry. Regardless of how they’re used, one thing remains the same: printing rollers must be cleaned, or they will underperform. But, cleaning these printing rollers isn’t always easy. They often have unique geometries that make it difficult to clean or use hazardous coatings that are thick and difficult to remove.
Printing rollers are made from either rubber, metal, or a combination of the two — called resin when the roller has a metal base but a rubber topcoat. Depending on their purpose, they are either smooth or have etched designs that cause a set pattern when coated and applied to a surface. Think about the pattern you see on your wallpaper. It’s usually one image repeated over and over. That effect is done by the roller. But, printing rollers have a variety of uses — from lamination and hot stamps to paint and web cleaners.
Cleaning printing machines and ink rollers machines with laser light is the latest technology. It offers many advantages when compared to traditional methods:
- Better cleaning quality – up to 99 % of the original cup capacity can be recovered
- No chemicals (cleaning agents, etc.), no water, no disposal => clean and environmentally friendly method
- Leaves no residues on cylinders
- Saves time – cleans surfaces fast without the need to soak or wait
- Considerably longer service intervals
Clean laser technology is a safe and reliable method with nothing to clean-up. While alternative cleaning methods (chemicals) can only re-expose a fractional amount of the capacity, Laser cleans a cylinder of 2 m in length and 30 cm in diameter in about 40 minutes time down to the pores. Result: Consistent high printing quality printing. Moreover, the time between cleanings can be increased by up to three times. Laser cleaning reduces equipment set-up time, scrap rates and costs. It improves equipment production availability while increasing service life.
Lasermach offers flexible laser cleaning systems, which can be used directly inside as well as outside printing machines. Particularly good results can be achieved cleaning thrust bearings and ceramics cylinders. For print rollers, the laser treatment is controlled by means of highly magnified images of the surface condition and computer-assisted color analyses. Removed particles are captured immediately at the source so no further contamination occurs. This cleaning process not only eliminates chemical disposal expense, it helps protect people and the planet.
The laser Cleaning method is suitable for UV cured colors and coatings containing reactive components such as acrylic and meth acrylic modified polyester resins. Cleaning can easily take place in standby mode so that UV lights are preserved.
When it comes to cleaning printing rollers, our laser systems remove the coatings covering the application without damaging the substrate at all — so you’re left with a pristine base that’s ready for the next coat. The cleaning process helps to reduce smudges and other mistakes in the pattern that can ruin the desired result and result in downtime. This means that the quality of your printing molds and tools are maintained for all future performance. And, because laser cleaning is up to 15 times faster than media options, you spend less time cleaning and more time manufacturing your product.
Urethane or rubber rollers are typically used for production involving paper, textiles, sheet metal, or other delicate materials. That’s because they need to be gentle on products. Rubber — in general — is slightly porous and can melt or degrade if cleaned using laser solutions. That’s why other cleaning alternatives are better suited to handle the porosity and material of urethane rollers.
Resin rollers have a metal base layer with a rubber-like topcoat. Unlike urethane, the topcoat material isn’t quite as porous, but it’s still made from this rubber-like material. UV inks and coatings containing reactive binder components — such as acrylic and methacrylic-modified polyester resins — can easily be cleaned. And, with certain settings, the UV lamps can also be spared. But, laser solutions can damage the topcoat of these rollers — causing them to melt or degrade. That’s why other cleaning methods are more suitable for resin rollers.
Metal rollers are used for products that can sustain a little bit of a heavier roller. Unlike the urethane rollers — which are typically smooth — the metal rollers usually have a pattern. These can create unique geometries that make them difficult to clean. But, our laser systems efficiently clean steel or ceramic rollers. Because our lasers don’t damage the substrate, they can be used to improve print quality and maximize ink absorption capacity.