Choosing the right blade makes all the difference in large-scale and commercial printing. These metal blades — known as doctor blades throughout the industry — control the amount of ink that remains on a printing cylinder. It helps keep ink evenly distributed for a more precise and careful print. There are many to choose from, but we would like to highlight one of the options at Allison Systems: the blue blade.
Why Use Blue Oxide Blades?
Blue doctor blades are made from carbon steel. This material is known to be economical and it can be used for short-run process jobs with non-porous substrates and non-abrasive inks. The blue steel blade itself is made of carbon steel with a blue oxide layer.
The original purpose of the blue oxide was to give the blade makers of a bygone era a better way to identify the bevel of the blade. The bevel is easy to identify because of the contrast between the blue material color and the polished steel edge color. While this treatment is no longer necessary in the manufacturing process, it can still be helpful to more accurately identify the beveled edge to ensure correct installation orientation when the blade needs to be changed.
The blue oxide blade is available in 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 15, 18, and 20 mil thicknesses, with a number of different beveled edges. Some of the bevels only come in certain thicknesses, so make sure you’ve already identified which blade is best for your printing press equipment. If you’re unsure, we’d be happy to help you identify the right metal blades for your equipment.