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Home Physics Novel Plasma Technique for Functional Coating of Anilox Rollers

Novel Plasma Technique for Functional Coating of Anilox Rollers


Anilox roller -heart of flexo printing - is a hard cylinder, usually constructed of a steel or aluminum core which is coated by an industrial ceramic which surface contains millions of very fine dimples (cells). Modern anilox rollers are laser engraved.

Typical products printed with the use of flexography include flexible packaging with retail and shopping bags, food and hygiene bags and sacks, flexible plastics, self adhesive labels, wallpaper etc. Growing market needs faster printing with the highest quality. The market demand for faster printing requires that rollers with enhanced aniloxcore adhesion must be developed to keep up with it. In turn, enhanced adhesion requires a special cleaning of anilox core surface.

The Institute of Physics of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, in collaboration with Institute of New Materials and Technologies, developed a novel plasma-based functional coating laboratory facility for the ion-plasma treatment of anilox rollers. Available equipment performs pre-heating, ion cleaning, and polishing of the cylindrical type substrates, followed by magnetron assisted sputtering with a subsequent deposition of a variety of functional coatings onto the anilox surface.

Technique developed is particularly suitable for deposition of high-quality metallic (e.g. Cu, Ti, Zr) and ceramic (TiN, TiC, ZrN) coatings onto the working surfaces of the anilox core. The purpose of the treatment is to increase the wear and corrosion resistance of the rollers and to increase the wetting when used with the printing inks.

Innovative Aspect and Main Advantages

  • Deposition of binary chemical compounds (e.g., nitrides, oxides, carbides) to make ware-resistant and corrosion–resistant anilox layers and increase their wettability;
  • Integration of plasma based ion cleaning, polishing and deposition techniques into the single technological process to increase anilox-core adhesion and prevent pollution of the environment;
  • Special design of interior of vacuum chamber that allows to transfer anilox core from the heating zone into the ion-plasma cleaning zone and finally into the deposition zone where rotating cylindrical magnetron performs coating.

Areas of Application

Equipment developed can be used in industry for manufacturing of advanced anilox rollers.

Prototype of the coating facility.
Fig. 1 Prototype of the coating facility.

Ion cleaning device.
Fig. 2 Ion cleaning device.

Magnetron sputtering unit.
Fig. 3 Magnetron sputtering unit.

Anilox roller with TiN coating.
Fig. 4 Anilox roller with TiN coating.

Stage of Development

Our advanced technique is an outcome of hard R&D work that resulted in creation of the working prototype. The last one was tested for deposition of TiN coating on the steel rollers. The coating has revealed the fine grain structure and hardness of the stoichiometric TiN layer. A deep patent search has shown patenting potential of the technique developed. We can design, fabricate, test and deliver an industrial prototype that meets the customer’s needs.

Contact Details

Technology Transfer Office
Organization: Institute of Physics
Adress: 46, Nauky Avenue, 03680, Kyiv, Ukraine
(+38 044) 525 9841, Fax: (+38 044)525 1589
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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