Dry Ice Blasting with Cold Jet
[Web Information Archive - circa 2004]




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Printing Press Before Dry Ice Blasting

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Click here for a recent article published in the Fall 2003 edition of Knight Ridder on Cold Jet blasting at The Miami Herald

Cut Time and Waste
Today's ink and varnish polymers are designed to adhere to most surfaces, resist scratches and, in some instances, be solvent resistant. These characteristics that make their use attractive, also make the removal of dried ink very difficult. Ink buildup on the gears and deck guides causes poor alignment and results in low print quality and high scrap rates. To compensate for this phenomenon, plate mounting generally needs adjusting several times to register critical graphics in order to produce an acceptable quality level. Generally, each "press run" to check the register of the colors results in thousands of feet of wasted material. This inherently wasteful process can now be eliminated due to the on-line precision cleaning ability of Cold Jet dry ice blasting.

Reduce Downtime
In many plants, the cleaning of the side frames and print deck mechanism is usually avoided until absolutely necessary. Typically, several hours are spent on each color station to scrape and wipe the critical surfaces. With today's modern presses having six to eight color decks, cleaning downtime can easily add up to several thousands of dollars of lost production per cleaning cycle. However, when using Cold Jet dry ice blasting, because the cylinders can be removed to provide easy access to all surfaces, both sides of the deck can be cleaned in as little as 10-15 minutes before going back into production. In addition, dried out drip pans and fountains can easily be cleaned as well.

Printing with fluid inks at high speeds also creates an "ink mist" of fine droplets that comes from the splitting and transfer of the inks from the printing plate to the substrate being printed. These droplets settle on the "between color dryer boxes" and eventually clog the vent slots or nozzles, resulting in a reduced and uneven air flow, which in turn inhibits proper drying. This can also be caused by an overflowing fountain pan, which occurs when a press stops suddenly. To compensate for this reduced air flow, the press speed is reduced, which immediately results in lost production and lower quality. Just a small reduction of 100 fpm (30 m/min) in speed can reduce production time by 1-2 hours per day. Not only does Cold Jet dry ice blasting speed up the cleaning process, but it cleans better too.

In a typical cleaning process, manual scraping requires 20-30 man hours per piece of equipment. Using the Cold Jet dry ice blasting process, the same piece of equipment was cleaned in less than two hours. With this type of speed and efficiency, there is no longer any need to wait for the next shutdown to clean. It is now cost effective to do your cleaning between job changes on the press, giving you more production time and higher production rates.

Printing Press After Dry Ice Blasting

Dry Ice... Non abrasive and Clean
Traditional cleaning methods used to clean printing presses involve strong solvents and other media that must be collected, treated and disposed of. Most solvents that are strong enough to remove the inks are hazardous or even flammable and their disposal is highly regulated and costly. Wearing personal protective equipment, required by OSHA, also limits the effectiveness of using hand tools to perform this method of cleaning. Furthermore, the scraping and chipping action of hand tools wears and destroys the machined parts causing high repair costs and lost production time. Repeated cleaning in this way eventually destroys the accuracy of cylinder adjustments, making it increasingly difficult to produce a quality product.

At Cold Jet, we understand the critical need for clean gears, bearings, journals and screw adjustments for controlling the variations in printing registration. With highly accurate impressions, residue build up from inks and varnishes can constantly inhibit the smooth operation of the printing cylinders which can affect your productivity. Cold Jet dry ice blasting replaces the use of dangerous solvents, scrapers, chisels and emery cloths without having to dismantle the press thus eliminating the following direct and indirect costs:

  • Long down time hours due to intricate machinery cleaning.
  • Poor print quality products and increased scrap from improper alignment.
  • Disposal of hazardous waste and solvents.
  • Unwanted wear of machined parts and their high replacement cost.
  • Personal injuries due to use of hazardous solvents and hand tools.
  • High labor costs inherent to complex cleaning.

Calculate your potential savings with dry ice blasting by going to our calculator.
And for more specific and technical information see our technical papers.


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