What’s the difference between Ceramic Anilox Roller and Steel Anilox Roller?
Ceramic and Anilox Roller as one of the most important part of Flexo Printing Slotting Die-cutting Machine, today we are going to share what’s the different between then and the features of Ceramic rollers.
The anilox roller originated around 1938 and has a history of more than 70 years. It was invented purely to complement of the flexographic printing machine. It can be said that because of the flexographic printing machine, there is an anilox roller. The earliest anilox rollers were made of iron rollers, and then the anilox was embossed on the surface of the rollers. The process was relatively rough, and the abrasion during use was also large. Printing quality and printing costs were difficult to guarantee, which restricted the flexibility of flexographic printing promotion, and it was mainly used in corrugated carton industry at that time.
In 1970, driven by the development of the thermal spray processing industry, someone proposed to use a hard thermal spray ceramic layer to make anilox rolls. However, due to the hardness of the ceramic layer (up to HRC70, HV1100), the engraving was very difficult, so it was stopped at theoretical stage at that moment. Until 1984, the nature development and application of laser technology, the ceramic roller really come into the world, this process uses high-energy plasma thermal spraying, spraying a layer of Cr2O3 metal oxide ceramic material on the surface of the metal roller, and then using precision grinding and polishing to make the roller surface ceramic layer achieve a mirror effect, and then use the high energy of the laser beam, the ceramic layer is vaporized to complete the engraving of the mesh shape.
Generally speaking, the difference between Ceramic and Anilox Roller:
- The process is different: the metal roller is plated with a copper layer on the roller core. After the mesh is rolled, it is plated with hard chromium, the inner wall of the mesh is smooth, and most of it is a quadrangular trellis mesh. The ceramic roller is a roller core with a sprayed ceramic layer (ceramics for non-daily use), divided into bottom layer, middle layer, and surface layer. There are 3 layers in total. Laser engraving meshes can be engraved with hexagons, diagonals, floating points, Gulfstream, and etc…
- The scope of application is different (High LPI): during the printing process, the metal roller is limited to the requirements of printing products below 250LPI, and can’t work together with Doctor Blade System, which cannot meet the production requirements of fine printing or HD printing products. Ceramic rollers can achieve from low to high LPI (up to 1500LPI, carton industry up to 700LPI), and are very good for Coated Cardboard, White Kraft Cardboard or Brown Kraft Cardboard and etc…which are used for fine printing with high value.
- The service life is different: the steel anilox roller hardness is not enough, so it is easy to wear, usually the service time is 3-4 years, after that the ink layers will be become thinner and thinner. While the surface hardness of the ceramic roller is HV1250 degrees, the resistant is 5-10 times stronger than that of the metal roller, and the printing quality more beautiful and stable, if it is well maintained, it does not need to be replaced even for 5-8 years. Although the one-time investment in the early stage is more expensive, it is still more cost-effective than the metal roller to allocate it.
- The consumable parts are different: after the metal roller is rolled, burrs will appear on the surface of the roller, which will damage the rubber roller and printing plate during use, which greatly reduces the service life of the rubber roller and printing plate. The ceramic roller is processed by laser engraving, and with polished after lasering, so it’s surface is smooth, and there is almost no abrasion on the rubber roller and the printing plate.
- Many cell types can be choosing for different requirements (if interested, we can share in the future.)