A large UK printing company coating auto fabrics were having a problem with the coating curing onto their chtome anilox roller and blocking the cells. It was proving impossible to clean by hand so they were having to throw their 2 metre chrome rollers at a rate of 2 per month. The cost was becoming prohibitive but the tough coating was unable to be removed by any of their existing suppliers so they were seeking an alternative to both reduce replacement costs and production downtime.
We offered to do some free trials for the printing company. We have anilox rollers in house and have done hundreds of trials with inks, dyes and coatings over the years so we’ve developed an extensive catalogue of what does and doesn’t work. After receiving a sample of the coating that they use we set up our test roller and applied the coating. On this occasion we were unable to remove it with any of our normal range of cleaning solutions, but noticed a combination of 2 chemicals did have some success. Working with our chemists, we developed a new mix of these solutions, which we then successfully trialled on an “uncleanable” roller from the customer.
Once a successful cleaning process has been developed it is then a matter of economics and process requirements whether it is better to subcontract the cleaning or for the customer to acquire the equipment and chemical together with the know-how and do it themselves. Due to how frequently the chrome rollers needed cleaning they opted for their own tank and the cleaning chemical we had developed, together with a commissioning at which we trained them in the cleaning process. Since our partnership began, they have never had to replace a roller due to that coating not being able to be removed saving them over £4000 per month and preventing lengthy downtime as rollers are recoated. As a recurring theme of using what we learn in new areas, we have since used and recommended the new cleaning chemical to other customers with similar issues.