Process flexibility and blade cost savings in gravure printing
von Ansgar Wessendorf,
The patented blade AkeBoose blade holder system offers the chance to cut down doctor blade costs considerably while guaranteeing high precision and consistent doctoring results in rotogravure printing. The special geometry of the blade holder systems allows working with less contact pressure, resulting in extended blade life by up to 50% as well as longer service life of gravure cylinders.
How does the blade holder concept work? The blade holder is used instead of the traditional 40 – 50 mm wide lamella doctor blade in the rotogravure printing press. The blade holder itself serves as an adaptor that is clamped in the machine holder and carries two blades: The actual doctor blade (which is the working blade wiping the ink) and the back-up blade (which gives the doctor blade stability).
Doctor blade and back-up blade together imitate the lamella blade principle: The working blade has a fixed width of 10 mm. By varying the back-up blade width between 8 and 9 mm, different lamella lengths can be created. Additionally, different doctor blade thicknesses can be used to create lamella thicknesses between 0.65 and 0.203 mm, depending on the required print quality. This modular setup is very straightforward to handle and offers great flexibility to accommodate the individual requirements of different print jobs.
Blade cost savings between 30% and 60% The 10 mm working blade used in the AkeBoose blade holder is very inexpensive compared to a conventional 50 mm wide doctor blade with lamella. In addition, the low-pressure doctoring principle of the blade holder extends the service life of the doctor blade. This does not only mean remarkably reduced blade cost per printed meter, but also reduces machine down-time and thus overall operational costs.
Quick and easy blade changes directly on-press The unique blade clamping system of AkeBoose blade holders enables the operator to change the doctor blade in seconds, without the need for special tools. The blade change can be done directly on-press, it is not necessary to uninstall the bulky and heavy machine holder and take it to a service area. That saves a lot of time in the blade changing process, which is again beneficial for press efficiency because the press downtime related to blade changes is reduced to a minimum. The blade change principle is very straightforward and works the same for both NewEdge® and Strip-Blade blade holder models.