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Picking Your Doctor Blades

Plastic blades being displayed as a fan.Doctor blades are the key to successful production but choosing the best one for your needs is often a complex process.  You need to know your intended application, as well as the advantages and drawbacks of different blade types.  Fortunately, we are here to help. Before you order new blades, consider some of the best uses for two styles you can buy:

  • Metal Blades – The material of choice for high-quality and repeatable doctoring results, these blades come in several forms. Each one has its advantages, such as the long life of tool steel blades or the corrosion resistance of stainless steel. The important thing to remember is that metal should be your go-to for doctoring that’s consistent across numerous jobs.
  • Plastic and Composite Blades – Certain flexo, coating, and gravure applications require cost-effective performance but not necessarily the benefits of metal blades. A couple of examples would be applications that use low screen count anilox rolls or corrugated applications.  You can count on plastics and composites to deliver this performance. These blades tend to have a long life at high speeds and are ideal for use on laser-engraved ceramic anilox rolls.

Are you still unsure which blades you should buy? Don’t be afraid to ask an expert! A reputable supplier should be happy to work with you to determine the best product for your situation.

Make the Most of Your End Seals

End SealsWhen it comes to printing applications, your choice in consumables makes all the difference.  One of the most critical pieces in your arsenal are your end seals.  Unfortunately, the wear they face during high-speed printing processes means that they may need replacement sooner than you would like.

If your seals are not lasting as long as you need, it’s crucial to get new seals that deliver the level of performance you desire.  With modern technology, most seal designs are easy to replicate when you use the right provider. The key is recognizing which supply companies give you the best product for your money.

For long-lasting seals that support your success, you want a partner that uses high-speed CAD cutting equipment to produce durable replacements.  This state-of-the-art approach offers the best balance of speed, customization, and quality. Most importantly, it avoids many of the problems with traditional die-cut seals, such as:

  • Warpage
  • Concave Edges
  • Chamber Leakage

Depending on your needs, you might also want an alternative material or chamber-specific seal geometry change. This is where custom design and material capabilities that include foam, rubber, felt, and composite design makes a massive difference.  By working with suppliers who have a versatile range of products and the ability to tailor their production to meet your needs, you get the best possible results.

The Advantages of Steel Doctor Blades

Printing BladesThe doctor blade is a crucial component of the flexo printing and gravure printing processes. It removes ink from the surface of the roller so that the intended volume of ink can be transferred. In this article, we will discuss the advantages of steel doctor blades.

When quality is your production priority, you cannot go wrong with a steel doctor blade. Blades made with this material are specially manufactured so that printing processes generate consistent, high-quality results. Many printers prefer steel doctor blades because they are:

  • Cost-Effective: Carbon steel is highly economical. Its durability makes it an excellent choice for short-run production jobs, as well as projects that use non-porous substrates or inks that are not very abrasive.
  • Durable: Doctor blades crafted from tool steel are designed with longevity and toughness in mind. Abrasive inks, such as white inks or those containing titanium dioxide, solids, or rough anilox rolls, can cause wear and tear due to friction. Tool steel doctor blades can withstand the abuse.
  • Long-Lasting: One significant cost in the printing production process arises from press downtime due to the need to change or adjust the doctor blade.   Many grades/types of steel and edge shapes are available so that you can choose the best option for the application.  Running long life tool steel in high wear applications and other grades in less demanding setups will help ensure that all of the blades will need replacing at the same time.  By replacing blades less often, you will save on production costs.

There are many advantages to running steel doctor blades. Contact Allison Systems to learn more about your options.

Things to Consider When Ordering Custom End Seals

End SealsWhen it comes to printing, consistency and quality will make or break your enterprise. Many printing firms are turning to custom end seals as a way to ensure they are getting the best possible results. Custom parts that fit your equipment are a great way to enhance your productivity while improving your business’s cost-effectiveness.

End seals are an essential component of your production processes. However, that never means you have to settle for the same end seal you are currently using if it is leaking or causing other problems. With a custom end seal, you can adjust the shape or material of the end seal to help solve issues with the current design.  End seal geometry can vary slightly from OEM specs, especially if you have switched suppliers one or more times.  Slight changes in geometry can cause the end seal to not mate with the doctor blade or anilox roll as it should and create leakage points.  If necessary, the material used to produce the end seal can also be adjusted to better match your current run conditions.

By working with Allison Systems, you will find it easy to keep up with the demands of your business. Request a consultation with us to learn about your options.

Durable Gold (QR) Metal Blades

Metal BladesIn printing applications, abrasive inks can wreak havoc on the metal blades that your equipment needs to function. Allison Systems strives to solve this problem by offering a product with exceptional durability, specially created to last as long as possible by employing innovative design. Offering a number of advantages over traditional blades, our Gold (QR) option is available with several bevel options and in thicknesses of:

  • 0.006”
  • 0.008”
  • 0.010”
  • 0.012”

Excellent at enduring abrasive inks, QR blades also serve to reduce scoring issues. As they wear down, they produce smaller particles than other materials – particles that easily flush away from the blade instead of sticking between it and the cylinder. That means less frustration for your team and better results when you print, especially over time. It also translates to less waste from unusable materials.

Value isn’t the QR blade’s only advantage, however. It’s also versatile. Available for use with gravure and flexo doctoring, it also supports containment applications with both chrome and ceramic rolls. With expansive uses and a long lifespan, this product stands out as an excellent choice when you want premium quality and the freedom to make the most of your blades.

Using CAD-Driven Equipment to Create Custom End Seals

End SealsEnd seals are a vital part of modern printing applications. With today’s CAD-driven processes, these valuable components are easy to customize in accordance with your operation’s needs. Turn to a company that offers specialized cutting equipment and enjoy all of the benefits of contemporary custom seals, including:

  • Personalization – Depending on your equipment and its intended use, any number of specific designs might be necessary to deliver the right results when you print. Because seals made with CAD-driven technology are easy to customize and create using various materials, they offer tailored precision without a hassle. Some of the available materials include foam, rubber, felt, and composite.
  • Replication – Since CAD systems can easily replicate an existing design, even highly customized variants are easy to reproduce with quick turnarounds. This is ideal for larger operations in need of numerous seals, as well as ensuring that quality replacements are easy to obtain when needed.
  • Cost-Effectiveness – In addition to saving time and delivering dependable results, CAD-driven cutting equipment creates the seals you need without breaking the bank. Those savings don’t come at the cost of quality, either. Superior to die-cut equipment, these designs help you avoid issues like warpage, concave edges, and chamber leakage.

Using Graphite Doctor Blades

Composite BladeGraphite composite blades need to be effective if they are going to deliver the results you are after. Similar in function to standard metal blades, these graphite doctor blades are perfectly manufactured to be used for flexo applications with laser engraved ceramic anilox rolls that have less than 500 LPI screens.

Featuring graphite lubricating characteristics, these blades offer a long lifespan when they are being used with abrasive water-based inks on large ceramic anilox rolls. These doctor blades are provided in a seal relief shape, which helps to reduce end seal distortion at the blade. It is also effective at reducing end seal ink leakage.

Graphite doctor blades are typically used for the creation of higher-end graphics in corrugated applications. You will be able to find these blades in 20, 25, and 35 mil thicknesses. Finding the right combination of material, shapes, and thickness is a must if you are going to get the results you are after when it comes time to work on your project. That is why you must work with an educated manufacturer to discuss your needs so they can guide you towards the perfect option to fit your specific needs. The right choice delivers the right results.

Purchasing End Seals

Are your end seals not working the way they used to by either leaking more than before or not lasting as long?  The methods used to produce end seals can have an effect on their shape thereby making it difficult to find end seals that perfectly fit your equipment.  So, what can you do to get the right end seal you need without unnecessary delay? The answer is to contact Allison Systems so that we can help you with either duplicating your existing end seal or creating custom end seals for your needs.

Most end seals provided by Allison Systems are created using state-of-the-art CAD-driven cutting equipment that can efficiently and effectively deliver the size and shape you need. This high-speed equipment allows the freedom to maximize design reputability, cost-effectiveness, and customization options for our clients. This creates a superior product that is an excellent choice for businesses like yours that far outshines products made by other methods.

Whether you need end seals made from foam, felt, rubber, or combinations of materials, you are going to be able to find a seal that works for you when you work with Allison Systems. Just reach out to us to start the discussion on your needs so that we can ensure you get the end seal that works best for your application.

Choosing the Right Composite Blade for Your Needs

Composite BladeWhen it comes time to choose doctor blades for your printing press, you’ve got some decisions to make. Are you going to use metal or go with a different material, such as a composite blade. Whatever you decide to use, choosing the right blade for your print application is an important step.

Composites can be a smart selection as they provide long life at high speeds as compared to some other materials. Look at the type of products you print, and that will help you make the decision. If you need fine screen metering with a ceramic anilox roll, then a composite, such as Allison Systems’ Fiberglass Plus, is a good choice that is effective with most water-based inks including those that are abrasive or have high solids content.

Take a moment to think about what types of printing you do most often. Composites are ideal for line work and some process jobs on paper and board substrates. Composite blades which are blended with graphite are ideal for higher-end graphics on corrugated materials.

Allison Systems will offer blade selection guidance that will help you make the most effective decision on a replacement. A blade analysis, which covers blade alignment and contact angle, may also help you decide if the current type of blade you are using is appropriate for your application or if you should switch to another type.

Blade Selection Guidance

Plastic BladesWhen it comes time for doctor blade replacement, you may be wondering if another type would work better on your press, or if you should simply keep ordering the same type you’ve been using all along. There are many options on the market ranging from plastic blades to  composite to metal. Our team at Allison Systems has assembled a few points for consideration to help you make sure you get the blades you require for your printing application.

Consider your roller material, the length of the press runs you typically require, and the abrasiveness of the inks you use and that will give you a solid starting point for consideration of which blade material you should purchase. You will want to look at blade edge shapes as well to obtain good wiping characteristics and reduce ink leakage.

You also need to think about the product and the substrate being used.  High-end graphics or line work?  Paper, film, or corrugated substrate?  All these points need to be considered when choosing a blade.

Allison Systems will offer blade selection guidance by working with you to choose the right blade for your application as well as diagnosing any issues you are having with your current blade.  Learning about your current blade performance can help you to make decisions about any future changes.  A blade analysis is often part of this process and gives insight into the alignment and contact angle of your blade thereby allowing you to make setup improvements if needed.  Allison Systems will also provide sample blades for testing with your application to verify the chosen blade is effective for you before you commit to an order.

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