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Proper Wash-up of Rollers
Printing rollers are referred to as the “heart” of the printing press, yet the rollers are the most neglected part of the printing press.

Misuse of the roller is usually due to a lack of information on how best to care for them. Pressmen should check their roller daily; watch out for and prevent accumulated ink and glaze. The roller must be cleaned at once or it will crack and pit and continue to deteriorate.

Glazed rollers occur when the printer is working with materials soluble in water and minerals soluble with solvents.

Cleaning the roller of both types of glaze-causing materials is a difficult task. The recommended TRC Process is a two-step procedure.

  • The first step is specially formulated to break down ink, making it water miscible.
  • The next step is to flush away this solution that has been held in suspension along with the lint and gum.
Some products sold for use in the pressroom may have a detrimental effect on rollers and blankets. The harshness of the solution can be determined by soaking a section of blanket or roller covering overnight and checking to see if swelling has occurred. The TRC representative can demonstrate this test.

Most offset presses have automatic wash-up devices that do not clean beyond the face length of the roller. Heavy build up begins to flake off into press, causing “nickels”. To prevent this, the roller shoulders beyond the wash-up device should be cleaned by hand at least weekly. Where these ends are inaccessible, a long handled brush will come in handy. The wash-up blade should be examined for wear monthly, if necessary, replaced. Daily wash up of a press, sometimes leaves a residue of ink on the rollers. Ultimately, the surface of the rubber rollers becomes filled with dried ink, become hard and glazed and they do not accept and distribute ink properly. The rollers (rubber and urethane) are, then hand-washed with a stronger proprietary wash-up. (Ketones, acetates or any chlorinated hydrocarbons are never used). However, if glazing has gone too far, then this may not be effective. The roller should be removed from the press and sent for factory re conditioning.

Composition roller should be cleaned with a recommended roller wash after usage. At the end of the day, oil should be applied to the ink plate and the press should be run for a few minutes. Rollers will pick up a film or oil and this procedure will prevent ink drying on it.
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