Flexo-Graphics was having a problem--and it was a good problem to have. Business was growing rapidly, but it realized its internal processes were not keeping up with production demands. As the business grew and expanded, the need to clean its aniloxes effectively grew and expanded, too.
Flexo-Graphics' problem was that the an!lox cleaning method "broke down too often and too fast." Due to this unreliable cleaning system, Flexo-Graphics employees spent a few hours a day cleaning rolls by hand, as well. Two employees were dedicated to the manual cleaning of not only the an!lox rolls, but the trays and parts.
Tim McDonough of Flexo-Graphics says, "Our eyes were really opened when an ink vendor showed us how dirty our 'clean' aniloxes were," despite all the time and effort the company had put into cleaning them. McDonough then turned to Flexo Wash. He began chatting with Mike and Patrick Potter prior to recent Labelexpo and TLMI Annual Meeting events. "They educated me about the Flexo Wash machine and what it could do."
After measuring its cleaning space, McDonough realized he had the space to accomodate a Flexo Wash unit. Flexo-Graphics conducted a demo of its dirty anilox rolls in the Flexo Wash anilox cleaner and found the results to be "remarkable" and that their rolls "were not nearly as clean" as they thought they were, according to John Witmer, operations manager.
The company learned how just a slight change in the cleanliness of an anilox roll really affects the color. They also determined that "staying at color" was dependent on the cleanliness of the anilox roll. McDonough explains, "Much of our customer base was moving to tight color tolerances, and we felt the Flexo Wash solution would give us the cleanest rollers and best chance to regularly reproduce spot colors within the acceptable Delta."
Time was also a huge factor in their decision. Before, determining the time to clean the anilox rolls took some planning because it would mean the press was down for an hour. Also, Flexo-Graphics could only clean two anilox rolls at a time in its ultrasonic cleaner and it would take one hour.
In 2017, Flexo-Graphics purchased its first anilox cleaner, a Handy 2x2. It could clean four rolls at a time with a much shorter turnaround time of 15-20 minutes maximum (sometimes only 10 minutes using the Quick Wash).
In 2018, the company purchased a new press, which was a 17" press with 10 colors. This new press, with work that was much more in the "UV...