Cleaning cylinders has traditionally been a dirty business and has long been a manual operation. Manual cleaning involves chiseling off dried ink and coatings from the ends and wiping down cylinders with solvents by hand. Whether this is a slow or a quick process, it is still a manual process performed by employees who are more and more valuable to your operation.

With all this effort, are your cylinders even clean enough? Not always.

Here is the truth about manually cleaning cylinders: It’s your time and money and with manual cleaning, both are increased.

While manual cleaning is relatively quick, it is inefficient and requires too much labor expense. There is also the matter of unnecessary cylinder damage, which will lead to poor print quality. Lastly, there are major safety concerns whenever manual cleaning and chemicals are involved.

If this sounds like your situation, the good news is that there is a way out. Let’s assess your situation and then we can focus on solutions.

Assess your pressroom:

  • What does your pressroom or work area look like?
  • Are your cylinders in good shape?
  • Does your cleaning keep up with your production?
  • Do you have dedicated employees responsible for cylinder maintenance?
  • Do you have a daily cleaning maintenance routine?
  • And most importantly: Where is your process breaking down?

Downtime. Decreased production. Decreased labor force. Dirty cylinders. Inconsistent output. Low employee morale. Inability to keep up with production needs. There are solutions to all these pain points.

The Truth

Regarding your pressroom and your printing needs, let’s discuss the universal truth that all businesses either know already or need to know about the future:

Whatever CAN be automated WILL be automated.

Makes sense, right? Workers are harder to come by, but production needs to be maximized. Downtime is unacceptable and a huge liability. Businesses in the printing industry that formerly had full pressrooms of employees are a thing of the past. Automation is the future. Actually, automation is YOUR future.

Nobody can afford to waste the manpower, the valuable time or the poor output of manual cleaning anymore. The market is too competitive.

The advantage to automation is that it is constantly innovating. For converters, they can decide how much automation they want for their business, ranging from printing processes to cleaning processes. Depending on their points of pain and what level of production they need to achieve, the level of their automation is in their hands.

Another Truth:

Automation is easier than you think.

Did you know that you can clean your cylinders in just 5-20 minutes, depending on the solution?

Cleaning should not be the cause for your production to slow down. There are a variety of solutions from single to multiple cylinder cleaners that all can do the cleaning in 5-20 minutes.

Flexo Wash has two types of cylinder cleaners available:

  • Single/double cylinder cleaning:
    Optimal for cleaning of less than 60 cylinders per day
  • Multiple cylinder cleaning:
    Used for cleaning of more than 60 cylinders per day

The fully-automatic Cylinder Cleaners are designed to deep clean and restore gravure cylinders. Based on liquid and high-pressure water, this quick and gentle cleaning process leaves the cylinders totally clean and ready for immediate use. Total cleaning time ranges from 10 to 20 minutes and is gentle enough to allow for daily cleaning without causing any wear and tear to the roll.

These Cylinder Cleaners work with environmentally-friendly cleaning liquids, which are specially made for the deep cleaning of cylinders with all types of ink. There is also an option to use your own solvent blend. The water from the high-pressure rinse is automatically led directly to the drain, then to a tank for re-use or to one of our water treatment units. The water consumption is only ten liters for each roll meter.

The FACTS about Cylinder Cleaners

  • Proven technology
  • Offers AGILITY with a fast-cleaning process; approximately 10-20 minutes
  • Daily deep cleaning as often as you want
  • No wear and tear on roll
  • Works with Eco-friendly cleaning liquids
  • Effective on all ink types
  • Fully-automatic, closed-loop
  • Option for rotating brushes for deep cleaning system; no labor involved directly with cleaning

Either system works with sustainable cleaning solutions which will work with all ink types.

These machines can be equipped with rotating brushes, which make it possible to clean gravure cylinders in the machine. The brushes ensure in-depth cleaning of the engraved parts of the cylinder thus leaving it completely clean on all surfaces. The machines can be equipped with rotating brushes for cleaning of gravure cylinder ends, where there is often a heavy build-up of ink, which is difficult to remove.

The hard rotating and oscillating brushes will remove all ink from the shaft and end of the cylinder, making the cylinder clean on all surfaces. The cylinder can then be taken to production, storage or re-chroming without any manual treatment.

Proper cleaning is vital for your business. Eliminating your points of pain will increase production, decrease downtime and improve employee morale.

How about this for your new Truth:

  • Labor reallocation
  • Supplies expense down
  • Cells deep cleaned – process improvement
  • No longer using solvents to clean
  • Employee safety improved
  • Strong return on investment

The key to proper cleaning of your gravure cylinders is automation, and as we have described above, it is the most effective and simple way to get your cylinders completely clean and ready for the press again.