Downtime Eliminator Flexo printing

Problem: My rolls are not getting as clean as they should be and I think it is the cleaner. What is going on?
Answer: Flexo Wash cleaning solutions need to be mixed 50/50 with water. Here’s why:

Anillox Cleaning Solutions

How to Mix Anilox Cleaning Solutions

Contrary to logic, using the cleaning solution at 100% will NOT increase the cleaning effectiveness of the unit. So, to make a long story short, if you are using the cleaning solution at 100%, the cleaning result will not be better and you stand a chance of losing more straight cleaning solution than is necessary. You now might be saying, “Well, why can’t I just mix it at 10, 20 or 30% cleaner and the rest water?” 

First, all of our anilox cleaning solutions are designed to work the best at a 50/50 mixing ratio with water. Diluting that ratio to 70-80% water and only 20-30% cleaner will negatively affect the cleaning performance.The bottom line is that if you go with too much water, the cleaning solution will not clean as well. 

Secondly, when too much water is added, the cleaning solution will now have a tendency to foam a lot, even if the temperature in the solution tank is set correctly. Mixing the anilox cleaning solution 50/50 with water provides the best cleaning result, will not foam (provided that the cleaning temperature is correct and the diaphragm pump is set to the correct speed – see The Eliminator post on Foaming) and reduces the amount of actual cleaning solution loss.  Though we are always trying to limit the amount of cleaning solution lost during the cleaning cycle, there is always some water and chemical loss during a cleaning cycle. The amount of loss depends on a number of factors: how big the roll is, how big the unit is, how many rolls you are cleaning at a time, how long the drain time is, if enough stop rings are being used and how fast the diaphragm pump is running. I won’t go into a lot of detail or estimates on how much solution is lost but I would like to touch briefly on a few of the items mentioned above. 

Drain Time

To start, the drain time on the unit should be at three minutes. If your drain time is only one or two minutes, you are not allowing enough time for as much solution to drain back into the tank as possible. That will lead to more solution loss. 

Stop Rings

Stop rings are used to block off the extra holes in the solution discharge pipe. If you do not use stop rings, then solution is discharged to areas of the wash tank that it doesn’t need to be in. This can lead to extra solution loss.

Stop Rings Anilox Cleaner

Diaphragm Pump

The diaphragm pump only needs to run fast enough to keep the roll wet. Turning the diaphragm pump too fast will discharge more cleaning solution than necessary and the solution will be spread out all over the wash area. This can lead to solution loss as well.

To make it easier for you to have the correct mixing ratio, Flexo Wash does offer anilox cleaning solutions pre-mixed 50/50 with water in 5 gallon cases and 55 gallon drums. These cleaning solutions are ready to go and can just be poured into the solution tank. No mixing required. Please contact us to get pricing on these premixed cleaners. 

Handy Tip:

Make the measuring easier on yourself. Using your 2.5 gallon jug, fill up one jug with cleaner and another with water. Whether you use more than one jug is up to you but it is a good, easy way to start.