If you own or run a commercial printing press, you know how important high-quality results are to your business. Ensuring great product output the first time saves on money and materials. The best doctor blades for your press will depend on the make and model of your equipment, and the type of printing you do. You have options between metal blades and plastic blades.
A doctor blade works by scraping off the layers of ink on the anilox roller to create a clean, consistent printing job. Whether you choose metal blades or plastic blades for your press will depend on what materials you are working with and what are the customer’s desired results.
Metal is the industry standard for doctor blades. Commercial printing requires large amounts of ink and material, and properly aligned and pressurized blades ensure that old ink and residue are cleaned from the rollers between different jobs. You can get metal blades in standard carbon steel of the thickness and edge bevel you require to fit your press and print job requirements. There are other metal blade options available, such as enhanced gold, stainless steel, silver, or white plus. Metal blades are durable and easy to replace when needed.
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Doctor blades made from non-metal materials, such as plastic and composites, serve specific purposes and can be an excellent choice for your press. Plastic or composite blades are better suited for flexo printing, or when you are using highly abrasive inks that might degrade or corrode metal blades with extended use. Nylon, fiberglass, or graphite are examples of the materials used to make plastic blades. Plastic blades are good for UV inks or other printing fluids that can wear out metal blades faster.
Whether your press uses gravure or flexo printing methods, choosing the correct blades is as important as keeping your rollers clean between jobs.