Flexography is a medium of printing which uses flexible rubber plates and quick drying ink in its operations. It is a modern form of letterpress which is usable on a wide variety of material ranging from plastics to paper and metallic films.
Recently, the popularity of flexographic printing technology has increased significantly. This can be attributed to:
• Flexographic sleeves are light and require minimum maintenance
• Flexographic printing is ideal for all kinds of substrates
However, to achieve the optimum functionality of the technology, the user must diligently observe all cleaning and maintenance protocol. Maintaining flexographic equipment may not be easy; it requires strict observation to the set protocol. The following are a set of basic guidelines applied when cleaning flexographic equipment.
Use appropriate cleaning material
The best cleansing materials used while cleaning flexo plates should be soft such as sponges. Using rough or course material is likely to significantly affect the integrity of the plates. More people continue to use nylon mesh to clean flexo plates. This, however, is a poor cleansing material.
As important as it is to use appropriate cleaning material, it is equally critical to use correct cleaning agents. The right agent is determined by carrying out tests on the flexo plates. Tests are used to establish whether the agent can damage the plate while cleansing. In recent times, more chemical cleaning agents have flooded the market. While these agents clean flexographic equipment well, some of them disintegrate and dissolve into the plates. Components that dissolve into the plates amend their chemical composition leading to problems in the future. In this regard, it is recommendable to use alcohol as a cleaning agent.
With the ever-expanding room for technological expansion, more establishments prefer the use of automated plate cleaners. Auto cleaners optimize the cleaning solutions. They can remove all the ink from the plates. However, they offer varying cleaning solutions. It is critical for organizations to implement the type of cleaner that would work best in light of the kind of ink used by the establishment.
Cleaning on time
It is always good to clean plates immediately they are out of the cylinder. Leaving ink on the flexo plates is always not recommendable. Dirty plates trap substances before the printing process. Some of these particles may be hard to remove. Additionally, it is critical to install proper flex storage solutions to avoid the use of dirty plates.
Many organizations put more emphasis on output production and put little focus on maintaining the plates. Such policies are only detrimental. It is necessary to continuously clean and maintain the flexo equipment to achieve optimal production in the long run. Proper maintenance practices will assure that flexographic printing apparatus such as flexcart and flexstand last longer. The FlexStor website has more resources available if you would like to learn more information.