Rolls cleaned and counting!

“Clean is Clean”

…or is it?


There are many different ways to clean an anilox roll. 

  • Rub n’ Scrub
  • Ultrasonic Cleaners
  • High-Pressure Chemical Wash Machines
  • Laser Cleaners

So, clean is clean, right?  Or is it?

Since 1984, we have cleaned thousands of anilox rolls – ceramic, chrome and even cylinders with non-typical surfaces.  We have cleaned surfaces with water-based inks and coatings and we have stood up to the challenges of removing cross-linked materials as well.  You could say that we have developed an eye for CLEAN over the years.


Over the past year, we have had the opportunity to clean our customer’s “clean” rolls when they have not performed as they should even after cleaning.  Some of these “clean” rolls still contain visible and invisible residues and many times exhibit staining, streaking and water spots.

Our Eclipse® Laser Cleaner for Anilox Rolls deep cleans rolls with only laser light.  The residues left behind by your production process or by your current cleaning process cannot escape the light and cleaning power of our proprietary 50-watt circular scan laser.

Please see below for comparisons of the Eclipse® Laser Cleaner and some other cleaning processes:

Rub n’ Scrub

The “rub and scrub method” can be a quick way (on small rolls) or a very long and time-consuming way (on large rolls) to clean an anilox.  Anytime a chemical solution is used to clean an anilox roll, the cleaning solution will only clean the top layer of the dried ink or coating.  Rubbing the anilox with a sponge or pad will not get into the cell bottoms.  Even using the correct brush (stainless steel for ceramic or brass for chrome) will not penetrate to the bottom of the cell.  The Eclipse® Laser Cleaner causes a reaction at the cellular level with all the residue in the cell causing it to ablate and lift out of the cell, restoring its volume to the original specifications.

Ultrasonic Cleaner

The below 600 line, 4.5 BCM anilox roll was cleaned with an ultrasonic cleaning system but, because the anilox roll was not getting completely cleaned, it was showing up in this narrow web client’s final printed product as depicted below.   

Before After

Before & After EclipseⓇ Laser Cleaning

Another anilox from the same customer was a 550 line, 3.1 BCM anilox roll.

Before After

Before & After EclipseⓇ Laser Cleaning

            Close up of staining on ultrasonic cleaned roll

Same Roll During Eclipse® Laser Cleaning

Same Roll After Eclipse® Laser Cleaning

DinoCAM Image of Above Roll Before Laser Cleaning

DinoCAM Image of Above Roll After Laser Cleaning

Customer Feedback on the Above Roll

“Laser cleaning is much better than our current process.  The results are significantly better and you can see the difference in our ‘before’ and ‘after’ test sheets.  This ‘cleaner clean’ positively impacts our make ready and production time by making the process more predictable.  I think the biggest impact was this:  We were prepared to send several rolls out for re-engraving because we couldn’t get patterns out of the rolls.  Once they were deep cleaned with the laser, the patterns went away.  It wasn’t wear patterns – it was dried ink in the cells.  THAT saved us money!”

High-Pressure Chemical Wash Machines

We had a customer bring us a roll that he wanted to watch us clean with our laser system.  He said that his high-pressure chemical wash roll cleaning system was not removing the residues sufficiently and that he needed to run it through multiple wash cycles and was still not getting it 100% clean.  The roll, while it visually appeared to be clean, still had residue in the cells. As a matter of fact, we were able to wipe the roll with an alcohol wipe and still lift off residual ink.  Our Eclipse® laser cleaner was able to remove the remaining residue, restoring the cell volume back to “like new!”

More recently, we had a company approach us with a couple of anilox rolls that had been cleaned in their new roll cleaning system that implements a “precision air-streamed powerhead” and uses both a cleaning agent and then a rinsing agent.  Their complaint was that their rolls were just not clean!  Push back from the equipment manufacturer forced them to reach out to find someone who could clean their rolls and prove that the rolls should be and can be cleaner!  Our Eclipse® laser cleaner was able to deep clean this roll and gain additional volume on both rolls.  The below 1045 LPI anilox went from 2.05 BCM to 2.27 BCM – that is a 10.7317% volume increase!

High Pressure Chemical Washed “Clean” Roll – Before Eclipse® Laser Cleaning

After Eclipse® Laser Cleaning

Above Roll – AniCAM Before Cleaning:  2.05 BCM

Above Roll – AniCAM After Laser Cleaning:  2.27 BCM

Laser Cleaners

 Lasers are the newest and most innovative technology in anilox roll cleaning that our industry has seen in years.  Their growing popularity is evidence that these systems are here to stay.  However, all lasers are NOT created equal – laser wattage, pulse frequencies and scan patterns are the biggest variables.  Our 50-watt “MADE in the USA” laser with its proprietary circular scan laser pattern is doing circles around our competition!  (Pun intended!)

We have a customer who purchased a line scan laser cleaning system from a competitor.  They have a handful of rolls that they just can’t get clean enough.  So, they ship them all the way from Canada to us for us to clean their “clean” rolls!  We were able to take one of their anilox rolls from a 9.0 BCM to 16.0 BCM – an additional gain of 7 BCM or 77.7% and another one of their rolls from a 13.0 BCM to a 15.2 BCM – an additional gain of 2.20 BCM or 16.92%.

Above Roll – AniCAM Before Cleaning:  2.05 BCM

Above Roll – AniCAM After Laser Cleaning:  2.27 BCM

In Conclusion

So, clean is not always clean!  Let us raise your standard of clean so that you can meet your customer’s standard of their finished product!