While a doctor blade might seem like a simple part of the flexographic printing process, it is a key player. People who are not familiar with this type of printing wonder how such a small part can have such a large impact on print quality. To better understand this, it is time to learn more about doctor blades.
In the engraving and printing industry, steel blades are the best choice for a high-quality print. Carbon steel blades are popular for short jobs that use non-porous materials and non-abrasive ink. Long-life steel blades are a great option for printers working with abrasive ink or rough anilox rolls. Ceramic blades are used with very abrasive inks. On the other hand, composite blades are popular because they last much longer than metals. Meanwhile, plastic blades are a good option if you need extra flexibility for a job.
Doctor blades have been made from steel for a long time. Today, steel is still the best choice for printers who need a high-quality product. There are many options available, from blue carbon, stainless, long-life, and coated steels to ceramic blades. Each one has a unique property, so printers can find the one that works best for them.
Composite blades are designed for use on ceramic anilox rolls and last much longer than metal blades. They are very durable and can be used with the most abrasive and UV inks. Additionally, they are reinforced, so they do not bend like plastics. However, they do not produce as high a quality as metal blades.
These provide the lowest quality and the longest life. This is because they must be thick to be rigid enough to use. However, this thickness leads to them leaving a lot of ink on the anilox roll.
Although doctor blades may not seem important, they can have a big impact on your print quality. Depending on your application, metal, composite, or plastic could be a good material for your blades.