Traditionally, printers had to rely on steel blades to get a high-quality print. However, this has changed with the refinement of plastic blades over the years. Since these blades are just as good as their metal counterparts, printers should consider the pros and cons before deciding which one is right for their business.
Many publishing offices recognize steel as the superior material for removing excess ink from the anilox roll. This can produce a higher-quality print easier. Additionally, steel blades can be easier to find, and they are often available in a variety of price ranges and qualities.
Meanwhile, the blades wear quickly and need frequent replacement. It is also possible that loose metal fragments can damage your anilox roll and harm technicians who change the blades. Additionally, using steel has a larger impact on the environment. It requires a lot of energy to manufacture steel blades, and they can result in messes that contaminant more water in the clean-up process.
Plastic doctor blades are vastly different than steel. They are prized for their engineered tips which last for a long time. This reduces the number of times you need to replace your blades and maximizes production time. Additionally, they can achieve excellent contact with your anilox roll. They can maintain this contact without chipping or cracking, so your roll is not in danger.
With that being said, these blades are still potentially hazardous for technicians during changing. While your anilox roll may not be at risk, your technicians can still cut themselves on the sharp edge, especially as it wears and become thinner over time.
Recent advances in technology have greatly enhanced plastic doctor blades. Therefore, printers need to carefully consider each material’s pros and cons before choosing which one they want to use in their shop.