Dry ice blasting has an unbelievable success rate within the printing industry. Printing presses, by their very nature, are extremely messy machines. Over time the ink will cause production quality problems, whether that be in slight colour bleeds, drag marks or dot bridging.
The main focus we have found, is the build-up in each cell of an Anilox roll. High viscosity inks will load up easily on the plate. This is slow drying and will also attract dust and lint which transfer onto the printing substrate, causing defects and rejections of quality.
Traditional methods of cleaning are cumbersome, time consuming and can’t guarantee 100% contaminant removal.
On the other hand, dry ice blasting is quick, cleans the rollers in situ and will remove 100% of the contaminant. We should know, we have done hundreds, if not thousands, of these machines.
Reducing downtime is critical in the print industry and dry ice blasting really can reduce clean down times by up to 80%. Massive reductions in downtime mean massive production increase.
We have an extraordinarily high repeat business ratio with the printing companies that we work with and, after a recent performance survey, the feedback provided has given us a great indication as to why they have all chosen Optimum over previous dry ice blasting companies….containment.
Our containment systems are second to none. Every part of the press is enclosed in a ‘containment tent’, which has soundproofing sheeting surrounding it. We build PPE
decontamination areas within the area so that ink isn’t tracked across clean flooring/walls etc. outside of the tent.
This detail is critical and without it cross contamination becomes a serious issue. So much so that recently the dry ice blasting process was deemed unmanageable, by a large package printing company, and black booked. It took all of our negotiation skills to persuade the client that there is a solution and the process will conform. A trial was administered where we successfully contained 100% of the waste stream. The contract was won on this basis and, after careful planning, we built a 60ft x 15ft screening tent around the press. The blast was completed within the timeframe set and on budget.
Certain dry ice companies have a lazy, money grabbing approach to the industry, with an eye on the ‘here and now’ and not on their repeat business market. This type of unprofessional business model will only get us all ‘black booked’. Remember, industry talks.
Standards need to be kept and we believe there is always a solution to every problem. If only other companies would follow suit!
By Ian Reynolds