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FLEXO Magazine : December 2011
Plants & Processes Getting a Handle on Anilox Roll Inventory troubleshooting Determines audits, Measurements & controls are essential By Bill Malm Can you recall purchasing an anilox roll with engraving specifications requested by one of your operators? How about one for a new coating to meet a specific customer’s needs? Maybe, you have changed ink suppliers or decided on a different plate material since initial anilox specifications were chosen. The number of anilox rolls in inventory increases over time, and so does the variability. This variability can, and will, affect the bottom line. Printers often ask for help in getting a handle on their anilox roll inventory. That immediately prompts a series of questions that address the most common indicators of an unmanaged anilox inventory. Specifically: • How much of your overall press downtime is related to color matching at press? • Is this time due to reformulating inks at press, swapping anilox rolls to achieve desired color strength or until you locate the roll with the least amount of damage to the surface? • Do you have a way to check on your anilox condition? • Have any variables been changed? • Which variables are under control? The problem may stem from a lack of documentation con- cerning current volume and overall condition of anilox rolls. For example; one might have a downtime code that encompasses too many potential variables. That said, step one is to get a handle on anilox condition. What does the anilox roll inventory look like? This can easily be answered with a roll audit that will determine the current/actual cell volume of each roll in inven- tory. Actual volume is what really matters, and is much more useful to a press operator than the original stamped volume, as MINIMIZE VARIABLES, IMPROVE EFFICIENCIES • Problems may stem from a lack of documentation concerning current volume and overall condition • An audit should include comments related to any physi- cal damage to the engraved surface such as: score lines, dings, scratches, chipped ends, blisters, etc. • Anilox standardization programs must offer consis- tent, repeatable, and reliable measurements • Awareness is key. Everyone who handles a roll has the potential to damage the roll, so it is very impor- tant that all parties involved understand the need for proper care and handling Documentation of current condition and overall volume of an anilox roll is essential. Photos: HarperGraphic solutions. 60 FLEXO DeceMBer 2011 www.flexography.org