A commercial printing facility was looking for a way to clean presses without extensive downtime.
Build-up of ink and grease on printing machinery can cause misalignment and machine malfunction, which results in high scrap rates, lower quality and reduced production. Clogging of vent slots and material build-up on other components can also result in reduced print speed.
Printing with fluid inks at high speeds creates an “ink mist” of fine droplets that comes from the transfer of the inks from the printing plate to the surface being printed on. These droplets settle on the printing deck and eventually clog the vent slots or nozzles. This results in a reduced and uneven airflow, which in turn inhibits proper drying. To compensate for this reduced airflow, the press speed is reduced.
For commercial printers, quality is of the utmost importance.
Projects must be delivered by the deadline without print or color errors. Cleaning and maintenance procedures must be in place to ensure that the printing press functions properly and the operation consistently produces a quality product.
In many printing facilities, machinery is not cleaned until absolutely necessary because traditional methods cause lengthy downtime. Modern presses have six to eight color decks, so cleaning downtime can easily add up to several thousands of dollars of lost production per cleaning cycle.
The facility relied on manual cleaning such as scraping and wiping with chemical solvents and wire brushes.
These methods created several issues:
- Time consuming
- Stalled production
- Did not completely remove inks, grease and paper grime from equipment
Several hours were spent on each color station to scrape and wipe the critical surfaces. In a typical cleaning process, manual scraping requires 20-30 hours per piece of equipment.
The Solution: Dry ice blasting
Dry ice blasting is an ideal cleaning solution for many different types of printing presses, including off set, flexography and Gravure. The process can easily clean any part of the press, including:
- Ink trays
- Side frames
- The feeder/deliver unit
Dry ice cleaning is an air-powered media blasting system which uses solid carbon dioxide (CO2) in place of walnut shells or other particulate material. Unlike other blasting techniques, dry ice cleaning:
- Does not leave any secondary waste (dry ice sublimated to gas)
- Is safe and non-toxic
- Does not create downstream contamination
- Reduces or eliminates exposure to dangerous chemical cleaning agents
- Eliminates painstaking and lengthy manual cleaning
Dry ice blasting replaces the use of dangerous solvents, scrapers and chisels and reduces many direct and indirect costs such as:
- Poor printing quality
- Wear of machined parts
- Hazardous waste and solvents
Dry ice blasting quickly cleans the press and its components in place, without generating secondary waste and with little to no disassembly required. The rollers on the printing press can be removed, which provides easy access to all surfaces. Both sides of the deck can be cleaned in as little as 10-15 minutes before going back into production.
A 56 inch six to seven color printing press takes nearly 90 minutes to clean with the traditional method. When cleaning with dry ice, it takes only 30 minutes.
With this type of speed and efficiency, there is no longer a need to wait for the next shutdown to clean. It is cost effective to perform cleaning between jobs, which results in increased production and extended product life.
“We like our Cold Jet very well. It makes life much easier in helping the equipment stay in better condition. The ease of operation and amount of cleaning we get done is amazing. It cleans a 56 inch press in just 30 minutes, and takes grime and glue off with an incredible speed. To see it first hand is really phenomenal.”