Is it worth your company’s time and resources to complete an anilox roll audit? Are there really enough benefits to make it worth your while? What kind of information can you glean from an audit that you couldn’t find out on your own? Before we answer those questions (spoiler alert: it costs nothing and it’s worth the short amount of time needed!), let’s do a quick review of the anilox roll audit basics so we’re on the same page about what a Pamarco audit actually involves.

A Pamarco anilox roll audit means that one of our experienced roll technicians is coming into your plant, taking an impression of your anilox rolls, having the roll’s exact condition determined through an in-depth analysis by our lab, and then providing you with a detailed report of the roll’s performance, along with recommendations to enhance your efficiency. These audits can be completed as part of your regular maintenance schedule (1-2x each year) or they can be carried out individually to assist you in identifying specific problems.

Let’s fast forward a little bit: you’ve scheduled your audit, a technician has taken impressions of your anilox rolls, and you’ve gotten a report back. But wait, what tests did the lab do? And what do your results mean? In order to fully understand the benefits of our detailed reports, I’d like to take you on a tour of the behind-the-scenes of our anilox roll audits. I think it’s very helpful to know a little more about the impressions that are taken and what they can tell us about your plant’s performance.

After the impressions are taken, we send them to our lab and they are read by experts utilizing the same equipment that was used to originally certify the roll. This allows us to understand the condition of the engravings and then determine a plan of corrective action, if necessary. In other words, as a result of this comparative operation, we can identify the roll’s original volume and determine, based on the amount of wear, whether a roll can continue running or if it needs to be replaced.

Some really good news about audits? We often find our customers are having real problems and think a roll needs replacing, but our audit determines that the roll in question is only plugged. While not everyone is this lucky, it happens quite a lot! We know that plugged rolls are always a bad thing and lead to a host of print issues, but plugging is typically correctable – especially with a customized plan of action from a company that has performed over 70,000 audits. Our end goal is to not only help you uncover issues and immediately correct them, but to help you prevent these same problems (and others) from recurring in the future. We are able to do this by providing you with recommendations involving the best cleaners and cleaning schedules, frequency of roll use, and a follow-up visit to confirm you’ve turned the corner once these suggestions have been implemented.

The recommendations that come along with every Pamarco audit are based on the measurable data points for each roll engraving, an exact number that we are able to determine using our roll impressions. As you can see on the attached audit sample, these include volume, depth, cell opening, wall width, depth-to-opening ratio and effective cell volume. This information is critical to best understand your press capabilities and current anilox performance.

With every audit we also include a summary sheet for ease of use. This sheet allows you to see all of your rolls with a color coded priority system. The system is very simple: green is good, orange needs attention or cleaning, red is worn and needs replacing. This summary allows you to quickly and easily identify problem areas throughout your anilox inventory.

In a world constantly on the move, I can’t overstate the importance to every roll owner of slowing down enough to audit your rolls so that you can understand what you have and what conditions you are up against. These audits can even show a deficiency that is press-specific rather than an issue with a roll, an early indication that changes need to be made. Of course, there is always the possibility that we simply confirm you are on the right track because your rolls are clean and in good operating condition. This result allows you to commend your press operators for a job well done and reinforce the importance of regular maintenance. The underlying point here is this: during a roll audit we are not only taking impressions, but also looking at the overall press conditions that are impacting your final product and company image.

We look at things that answer these kinds of questions: are you experiencing score lines? Are there damaged areas on the roll? Are the chambers set up correctly? Are the correct doctor blades being used? What about the right ink filters and magnets? The list goes on. Throughout the audit process, we can also discuss cleaning methods and timing with press operators to offer insight into today’s best practices as used throughout the industry.

Remember how we asked if it’s worth your company’s time and resources? A major advantage of having a Pamarco anilox roll audit is that it basically costs you nothing other than a pause in your workflow. We offer audits as a free service to our customers. The only requirement from the customer is access to the press for just a short while – it takes less than a minute to take a single roll impression. Most pressroom audits take less than an hour from start to finish, depending on the number of presses you have.

If you are on the fence about roll auditing or have doubts about the benefits please reach out and have a discussion with your Pamarco sales representative. There’s nothing to lose and so much to gain. We all know the old saying ‘knowledge is power’ – in this case it is absolutely true because knowing the condition of your anilox rolls can guide on-press decisions and help your team produce better results.