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. Laser solutions are specifically designed to solve these problems, but are they the proper tool for cleaning printing rollers?
WHAT ARE PRINTING ROLLERS?
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.
HOW LASER SOLUTIONS WORK
Our laser systems use thousands of laser pulses per second to absorb into and remove contaminants such as oxides and hazardous coatings. Due to the nature of the laser, several passes may be required for a more thorough clean. The pulsed energy removes contaminants while a suctioning part of the laser contains the coatings — eliminating the need for a secondary cleaning process.
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.
TYPES OF PRINTING ROLLERS
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.
WHATEVER YOUR NEEDS, ADAPT LASER HAS A SOLUTION FOR IT
Adapt Laser specializes in the know-how and application of laser cleaning solutions. We offer products with a range between 20 and 1,600 watts and provide training to ensure your employees can get the most from their laser cleaning solutions. We’ve equipped a variety of industries and companies with laser cleaning solutions — including military and defense for the US Air Force and Navy — and hundreds of organizations trust our state-of-the-art laser cleaning solutions.