An Anilox Scoring Mystery Solved

A Daetwyler Analyze, Design, Implement, Measure Success Story

Anilox scoring with an unknown source was costing hundreds of thousands in repairs and re-engravings… a thorough analysis revealed the fix was easier than anyone thought…

Heavy score lines were frustrating a paper and packaging company when working with their F&K 98-inch CI press. Over a two-year period, they spent more than $450,000 in re-engravings and remakes of the anilox to resolve the scoring – but they had been unable to determine the cause of the problem.

A new anilox for this press costs approximately $30,000, making it a major issue if any rollers have to be replaced or resurfaced. This massive cost does not include down-time associated with changing out anilox trying to find one where the lines wouldn’t show up in the print area of their water-based wide-web flexo work for folding cartons and preprint liner boards.

They tried with no success to work with their current anilox and doctor blade supplier to resolve the issue. Daetwyler wasn’t a supplier at the time but, thankfully, this new client decided to reach out for help.


First, Daetwyler performed a press analysis to see if the root cause of the scoring could be identified. Our experts and the client’s staff evaluated the entire press room. We looked for areas where insoluble particles could be introduced into the ink or pumping system. We also checked chamber setup, doctor blade material, and blade configuration. During the analysis, we found the current doctor blade edge was breaking down into large slivers and getting trapped between the anilox and doctor blade causing score lines. Making matters worse, a radius blade set-up was causing the press to be run with too much pressure. The combination of improper blade material, blade type, and set-up looked to be the reason for the ongoing scoring problem.

Our recommended course of action was to test a MDC Soft Nickel Coated Lamella Tip doctor blade. The MDC Soft is designed to breakdown into a fine powder-like substance instead of large slivers. The company’s operators agreed to run the MDC Soft for one month only on new or re-graved anilox so any new scoring could be tracked and isolated.

After one month, the anilox that were run with MDC Soft had no visual score lines or damage. The company then decided to switch the entire press over to MDC Soft and keep tracking. Over the next few months, new scoring was practically eliminated to the point where it is no longer a business issue.

The change also allowed them to run with less pressure and eliminate the blade slivers in applications where other blade compositions were more suitable.

As a bonus, this client also saw a reduction in dirty print and streaks. They’ve been running with this set-up for over four years and now replace or resurface five anilox per year as a standard/normal SOP program as opposed to damage repair.

• $450,000 recouped in two years under new set-up

• Anilox maintenance now costs less than $125,000 per year

• Better job quality and less waste on prints with score lines

• Reduced downtime with fewer anilox changes