How Choosing the Correct Blade for Your Printer. In printing, doctor blades remove ink buildup on the anilox roll. The purpose is to create a uniform ink surface that makes a better image transfer.
In flexographic printing, most people use a reverse angle doctor system. The blades are positioned at an obtuse angle to create a better ink surface on the roller. Usually, the doctor blades should be placed at a 30- or 35-degree angle to the roller, forming an obtuse angle facing outward.
You will want to choose the right doctor blade depending on your application. Initially, doctor blades were manufactured for rotogravure, meaning you can easily select the wrong edge for your flexo printer.
Blade Materials – Choosing the Correct Blade for Your Printer
Blade materials will also make a significant difference in your image quality. Usually, chrome anilox rollers use stainless steel blades. Keep in mind, these are consumed faster than their ceramic or carbon steel cousins.
Plastic blades are becoming more and more popular in the flexography world. They dramatically increase the lifespan of the blades, but you need to apply increased pressure to get the same wiping consistency. Safety is another benefit to using plastic blades. Their dulled edges prevent accidental injuries in the blade replacement process.
The composite blade is a relatively newer technology that continues to make advancements. They allow manufacturers to use thinner materials without fear of reduced spring strength. In addition, you can get the same durability out of them as you would from plastic blades. They also resist corrosion and do not have the safety concerns of metal blades.
Though improvements in technology continue to be made, there is not currently one blade material that completely replaces the other. Metal, composite and plastic blades all have their place depending on the material you print on and the type of anilox roll you use. Consult with your printer manufacturer to learn what blade is right for you.
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