frequently asked questions
What are your rental terms and conditions?
Please click here for our Rental Terms and Conditions which will accompany your rental agreement.
Can I use dry ice to blast my anilox rolls?
NO. Dry Ice, although not technically harder than Baking Soda, will cause surface damage to soft substrates because of the high velocity it requires in order to work effectively. Dry Ice can also cause an exothermic reaction on “layered” substrates, causing failure or damage. For example, printing rollers found on printing presses should never be blasted with Dry Ice, as the ceramic top coat of the roller will “peel away” from the steel core it is bonded to when subjected to severe temperature changes.
How does Dry Ice Blasting work?
Dry ice blasting is a blasting method that uses dry ice pellets as the blasting material. Dry ice is CO₂ in solid form.
To better understand, there are three steps in dry ice blasting:
- Kinetic – When dry ice pellets are accelerated in a jet of compressed air and strike a hard surface, the pellets crack and loosen the coating or soil on the substrate being cleaned.
- Thermal – The extreme low temperature (-79˚C/-110˚F) of the pellets makes the coating brittle, loosens it and allows the dry ice to dislodge the coating or soil.
- Sublimation – Dry ice permeates the coating and immediately sublimates, which means that the dry ice instantly goes from a solid state to a vapor state. This resulting increase in volume creates an “explosive” effect that lifts the coating off of the surface.
Is it true that Dry Ice Blasting doesn’t require any clean-up afterwards?
No – any contaminants which are removed during the dry ice blasting process need to be contained and disposed of properly.
How is Dry Ice handled?
Dry ice needs to be handled carefully as the temperature of dry ice is −109.3 °F (−78.5 °C). Gloves should be worn when filling the hopper with Dry Ice.
How is Dry Ice Packaged?
Dry Ice comes in 500 lb bins. All orders must be in increments of 500 lbs with the minimum order being one 500 lb tote.
What is the shelf life of Dry Ice?
Dry Ice will last 2-5 days and is subject to sublimation (solid to gas conversion) from the moment it gets shipped to your plant.
I have a soda/sand blaster - can I use it to perform Dry Ice Blasting?
No. Dry ice blasting equipment is unique and contains several engineering features not found on soda and sandblasting equipment.
Is Dry Ice suitable for confined spaces and hard to reach areas?
Yes – but be aware that dry ice will replace the oxygen in an enclosed space with carbon dioxide so wearing a proper tethered hood system is a must.
What do you use to clean anilox and gravure rolls?
Our baking soda systems use a specially formulated baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) engineered to clean anilox rolls. This neutral pH baking soda is fine enough to clean the highest of line screens. The baking soda found in your home and in the grocery store will not work for this application.
Our laser cleaning technology uses a low temperature light beam to deep clean rolls.
How many passes do you do when cleaning a roll?
Usually just one pass is required, but on occasion two passes may be needed if the roll has never been deep cleaned or is plugged with a very thick coating.
How do you know a roll is clean when you are done cleaning it?
We use a 200x power microscope prior to cleaning as a visual check and also take a Capatch test strip reading. Capatch is a liquid volumetric test that determines where your bcm level (or ccm) lies. We do the same procedure after cleaning to determine the cleanliness of the roll as well as the improvement in volume (bcm or ccm).
What types of rolls can you clean using the baking soda and laser cleaning processes?
We can clean gravure, embossing, anilox, chrome, glue and coating rolls using either method.
What is the lowest and highest LPI roll you can clean?
50 LPI up to 1500 LPI.
Have you found any presses or corrugators that you are unable to clean On-Press?
No, we have not. But just in case we do, we also have the ability to clean rolls off press at your facility or ours.
How long will it take to clean my roll?
Typically we are able to clean rollers at 2-4 inches per minute. A 40” roll takes about 15–20 minutes to clean and a large diameter jumbo roll that is 120” will take about 2 hours.
Can you tell me little more about your off site cleaning service?
You can send your rolls to our facility to be cleaned. With this service we offer a same day, 24 and 48 hour turnaround time. Also you will receive a written roll report with before and after cleaning BCM readings and we will document any visible wear or damage on the roll.
What are your shipping and merchandise terms and conditions?
For a full understanding of our freight, shipping and merchandise terms and conditions, please click here.
What does bcm stand for?
Billion cubic microns. This is what American roll manufactures use as a measurement standard for the volume of a roll.
What does ccm stand for?
Cubic centimeters. This is what foreign roll manufactures use as a measurement standard for the volume of a roll.
What does LPI stand for on an anilox roll?
Lines Per Inch. This is how many cells a roll has per linear inch.
Why do I need liquid cleaners if I am having my rollers deep cleaned with baking soda or lasers?
We firmly believe a top-notch maintenance program includes both a deep cleaning method and a daily wash up routine. In between deep cleanings, we recommend the daily use of liquid cleaners as a way to keep rollers from getting plugged or “dirty” prematurely. When liquid cleaners are used during the press wash-up cycle, everything the ink touches will also get cleaned, including ink pumps, chamber assemblies and doctor blades.
What about aluminum and other soft metals?
Today, many rollers/sleeves and chamber assemblies are made of aluminum or contain soft metal components. Many cleaners on the market today are not metal-safe and can quickly ruin & corrode these expensive parts and pieces. All of our products are safe on aluminum and soft metals.
We use oven cleaner to clean our rolls. Is this safe?
No. If you notice on the label or MSDS the mention of Sodium Hydroxide or Potassium Hydroxide, it is a caustic-based cleaner. It will work, but will also cause roll damage, especially if it gets underneath the roll’s ceramic coated surface or into the interior of a sleeve. Oven cleaner is a caustic based cleaner, and should never be used to clean a dirty roll.
Can I use cleaners on my printing plates and other areas of the press room?
Yes. Many companies don’t realize their plates can also be cleaned to extend their life vs. throwing them away. One company we work with invited us in for a demonstration, and we literally took “scrap” plates out of their garbage, cleaned them with our line of cleaners, and showed this company a way to save a lot of money.
My plant runs solvent and water based inks and/or coatings. Will the same cleaner work on everything I need cleaned?
Yes and no. Cleaning off water-based inks or coatings requires different surfactants and other chemical components than UV or Solvent based inks or coatings. Gravure inks can also present unique cleaning challenges. Some companies will market their cleaners as “all-in-one” chemistries, and even though they may work, you will spend more than necessary if your primary concern is removing one vs. the other.
We recommend making a decision based on what your plant does. To maximize cleaning performance, make sure you choose a cleaner specifically designed for your soil condition. There is a big difference when attempting to remove water based materials vs. solvent or UV based residues.
Many of your product descriptions seem to be duplicates. Why?
Although there seems to be overlap in some of the product descriptions, each formula is unique. There are many types of inks, adhesives and coatings that would fall under the same basic category but, when looking at your particular residue and considering your cleaning application, we can narrow the choices down further.
For example, there are SO MANY types of UV-Curable Inks featuring various characteristics such as: coating thickness, cure time due to the UV-Light intensity and curing temperature which makes it impossible for us to guide our customers and/or claim that a single cleaner such as Ink Blaster FG removes all UV-Curable Inks.Therefore, we recommend our customers to evaluate both Ink Blaster FG, Ink Blaster OS (on the solvent side) and Optima 2000GP Aqueous Ink Remover on the detergent side. The same concept/philosophy is valid for other types of inks such as: Flexo Inks, Polymeric, Solvent-based, etc.
Therefore, we always offer 2-3 of our ink & adhesive removers to our customers so that they may try these products side-by side in their cleaning equipment (immersion, immersion with ultrasonic, high pressure cabinet washers, etc.) to determine which product will serve their needs the best.
Does my process require a certified Food Grade product?
If your plant is subject to either USDA or FDA regulatory requirements and your packaging or product is used in conjunction with food or food applications, chances are the liquid cleaner used in your plant should be Food Grade. This does not apply to all situations, but most companies we talk to who are under USDA jurisdiction just use water to keep their rolls wet and hope it will rinse off the leftover ink found on their rollers.
We have one client, the largest tissue plant in North America, who was using the water-only method. It was in working with them that we discovered the need for a product like this. After a rigorous testing process, we successfully formulated a liquid cleaner that removes their ink and complies with all CFR (Code of Federal Regulations) requirements. Contact us for more information on this product.
Does Product Chemistry Matter?
Yes, the chemistry of your cleaner does matter, especially with your ceramic roll. Ceramic is porous which can allow a too aggressive product to get “inside” your roll. Other methods of entry include chips on the ends of rolls, damaged and worn rolls, or getting inside of sleeves while being cleaned.
It is important to know the pH levels (ink vs. cleaners) of your products. Most water based inks range from 8.5–9.4. For safe practice, it is recommended to use a cleaning chemistry that does not go below 5.5 or exceed 11.8. Other considerations include ventilation, PPE and disposal. We recommend purchasing a pH meter.
Do I need to consider the pH of the chemicals that I use on my rolls/sleeves?
Yes, it is important to know the pH levels (inks vs. cleaners) of your products. Most water based inks range from 8.5-9.4. For safe practice, it is recommended to use a cleaning chemistry that does not go below 5.5 or exceed 11.8. You may consider owning a pH meter.
Is there a “green” chemistry that works as good as my current non-green formula?
Absolutely! The key is making sure the detergent is classified as non-hazardous, does not contain any caustic ingredients or RCRA metals, and has no or low VOC content. It is easy to check out this information – make sure that you ask for a product’s SDS as this document must identify any of the above mentioned compounds.
How do I know my roll needs cleaning?
The most obvious sign that a roll needs cleaning is when your color density or your coat weight diminishes. Another way is to find out your current roll volume using a Capatch Test Strip – if it is plugged 50% or greater then it is time to clean it.
How often should you come to clean our rolls?
Usually 1–4 times per year makes sense for most plants with whom we work. Companies like box corrugators may only require our service on an annual basis while high-end flexographic printers usually require more frequent visits (sometimes monthly) in order to maintain their superior print quality.
How should we maintain our rolls between service visits?
ARCS has a full line up of eco-friendly ink removers. We recommend that they be run through the press with each wash cycle. We even offer a one-of-a-kind food grade ink remover currently used by one of the world’s largest paper towel makers.
Do you sell microscopes and Capatch (liquid volumetric test strips)?
Yes, we sell both of these items.
Click here for more information on our microscopes.
Click here for more information on our Capatch Test Strips.
We have several plants. What geographical areas do you service for On-Site cleaning work?
ARCS services the entire East Coast from Maine to Florida and have expanded into the mid-west to cover states such Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Ohio, Tennessee, Minnesota, Michigan and Indiana. We work with other companies who perform roll cleaning using baking soda for areas outside of this coverage area.