Apex Academy

Count Your Blessings: Preparing for an Anilox Inventory Audit

It’s the most wonderful time of the year as we all take the time to reflect on the blessings that make operations successful. It’s also time to know the status of your anilox inventory and set goals for profitability and performance. Conducting an audit every 12 months can ensure your flexo operations bring joy and prosperity all new year. As a global manufacturer of innovative anilox roll and sleeve solutions, Apex International can assist with anilox audits, volume measurements, reconditioning, maintenance and more. In this blog, we'll provide some tips on how flexographic printers can prepare for an anilox audit in the new year.

Why Audit Your Anilox Inventory?

Before diving into preparations, it's essential to understand why an anilox audit is necessary. Anilox audits evaluate the Apex employeecondition and performance of your anilox for optimal performance on press. With a comprehensive audit, you will know your anilox cell KPIs, cleaning, maintenance, and reconditioning needs, and if there is any microscopic damage impacting your print. Empowered with this information, your operators can confidently pull the right anilox for the job while the others are sent to Santa’s workshop for repair. Contact the Apex technical services team to discuss the details of our comprehensive audit services.

Preparing For Anilox Audits

There are a few steps flexographic printers can take to streamline their audit process and get operations back up and running.

Naughty or Nice Aniloxes

Collect relevant information about the state of your current anilox inventory. Talk to your operators to better understand which aniloxes are used the most/least and why. There may be a few naughty aniloxes in the bunch that are collecting dust on the shelf due to poor performance. Separate the good from the bad and notify your Apex representative so we can help you better understand which metrics equate a good anilox and which threshold determines an anilox that needs maintenance. 

Evaluate Your Production Mix

When you understand your order mix, you can make an informed decision on the aniloxes that favor these types of applications. Additionally, you can re-engrave your under-performing aniloxes to the engraving and/or volume you know is more useful to your production mix. Are you struggling with pinholes during your opaque white laydowns? Do you need to improve the precision of your special effects print stations? What anilox volume and engravings are utilized most across different lines and applications? Evaluate your production mix and any issues you are having with your most profitable and consistent orders, and Apex can audit and optimize your anilox inventory for a custom fleet tailored to your goals. 

Appraise Your Processes

Now that you know which aniloxes perform the best for your unique priorities, take note of their processes so you can reproduce for success. How often do you clean them? What process do you have for handling and storage? What ink, anilox engraving, doctor blade, and plate combination works the best, consistently? What other factors could be impacting the success or failure of your aniloxes? Appraise your printing, cleaning, PM, handling, and storage processes to standardize for ultimate profitability. Auditing this information prior to a full anilox audit can provide proactive insight to printers looking to make the most of their Apex audit service.

Set Your Resolutions

Tis’ the season for looking back on our best moments, recognizing our failures, and making resolutions for the new year. Now that you have evaluated your operations, make a list of clearly defined goals (and check it twice!) to ensure your audit service remains focused on your objectives, capabilities, and opportunities. We suggest setting your goals in regard to the anilox and print process as some of the following: 

These are all realistic goals Apex International can help you achieve through innovative anilox solutions, like our patented open-channel GTT engraving, and top-notch technical service and audits. Utilizing the 2023 FTA award-winning Veritas inspection system for our comprehensive audits, Apex can identify and track your best performing anilox engraving patterns/volume, roll wear over time, and your overall return on investment. Printers too have access to this powerful quality control tool in-house and can incorporate important profit metrics such as cleaning schedules and costs, anilox usage and maintenance needs. Data like this will allow you to weed out the bad rolls of the bunch that require the most time, money, and attention and stock your inventory with top-performing anilox assets.

Apex is a proud supplier of the Veritas inspection microscope and MicroScan3 software, innovated by the engineers at MicroDynamics and trusted by Apex for decades. By gathering your metrics before the audit, and collaborating with Apex during the evaluation, you can make the most of your annual anilox audit. Evenmore, take control of your anilox inspection process all year long by incorporating the Veritas and MicroScan3 solutions into your preventative maintenance processes, easily. Built robust and economical for printers worldwide, Veritas can bring a new level of print quality, process optimization and press performance to your Apex anilox inventory.  Contact Apex to schedule your inventory audit and start off the new year with a plan for growth, profitability, and performance.

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