An experiment is to be carried out by Alphasonics UCS Ltd in order to address industry concerns around the relationship between ultrasonic cleaning and anilox roll damage. Starting Sunday May 25, 2014, there will be a continuous roll cleaning trial streamed online, live from the Alphasonics manufacturing facility for 24 hours a day over the course of five days, with no breaks.
Viewers will be able to tune in to see rolls being cleaned on a continuous cleaning cycle using Alphasonics’ Active Cavitation, Enhanced SuperSweep and Alphasound technologies simultaneously. Six rolls in total, three brand new and three with existing superficial end damage will be cleaned in order to highlight that through controlling ultrasonics in the right manner, roll damage need not be associated with Alphasonics equipment. A full time lapsed version of the trial will be available on the company’s YouTube channel afterwards.
Chris Jones, UK and Ireland sales and marketing anager elaborates on why Alphasonics is choosing to carry out this trial and broadcast it in such a way. “There are some horror stories surrounding ultrasonics that from systems which circulated in the 80’s and early 90’s where equipment was low frequency, low specification and generally not fit for purpose. We have competitors around the world that jump on these stories from before our time in the industry and we unfortunately get tarred with the same brush, despite the fact our ultrasonic technology simply cannot damage rolls. We’re giving customers the opportunity to see for themselves what our equipment can do and more to the point, what it can’t do in relation to anilox roll damage. We’re sending out a strong message to the industry that our systems are the safest and most effective on the market.”
Manufacturing equipment from their base in Liverpool, UK, Alphasonics developed Alphasound and Super Sweep technologies in 2000 as a means of cleaning high screen aniloxes on a regular basis without any risk of damaging rolls. These in house developments utilized two ultrasonic frequencies, distributed equally in a cleaning tank to eradicate "hot and cold spots" which caused the historical roll damage from earlier ultrasonic roll cleaners. This was followed by the developments of Betasound and most recently Enhanced Super Sweep and Active Cavitation, which were launched at Labelexpo Europe 2013. These enhancements saw ultrasonic distribution further improved upon and cleaning times brought down by accelerating chemical reactions in their cleaning systems, Jones says. These, along with cycle times and operator determined features are what Alphasonics use to eradicate risk. They maintain that controlling ultrasonics with these methods remove the potential of anilox damage.
Alphasonics plan is to run a nonstop cleaning cycle for the full five days interspersed with comment and discussion through the trial. Anilox rolls have been supplied by some of the industry's top suppliers, including Pamarco Global Graphics. Troika Systems will also be part of the trial to check the rolls using their AniCAm QC Tool. Checks will be carried out before the trial begins and live on camera at the conclusion of the trial to verify results independently.
In total, the rolls will go through the equivalent of five year’s worth of cleaning in these five days with just over 1400 cleaning cycles taking place. Viewers will even be given access to the stream the day before the broadcast begins to watch the broadcast being set up along with a live insight into Alphasonics’ workshop floor. The idea is to give viewers all-access view of the full process to ensure transparency and clarity of the trial. By carrying out this broadcast Alphasonics are looking to, in their words, "put the falsities and hearsay to bed once and for all."
Jones hopes that the trial can put an end to potential customers not getting the full picture on their equipment. He adds: “The sad truth is that the equipment that caused the horror stories from the earlier periods still exist in one form or another today. What we have always done is install controls into our systems to ensure damage is simply impossible using our technology which sets us apart from the culprits in question in every way possible.
"For this reason, it’s simply unfair to have our equipment and our technology questioned in the form of accusations which in essence are aggressive sales tactics by some competitors we have. By questioning our capabilities despite knowing full well the quality and reputation Alphasonics are known for, they play on a fear factor when sat in front of customers and it’s a problem we run into all over the world. Frankly, it’s poor form on their part we’ve decided to meet this head on. We cannot wait to get going and give customers the truth.”
Further details can be found at www.alphasonics.co.uk where they will be releasing a series of blog posts and discussions leading up to and during the trial. Customers are invited to contribute to discussions by fielding questions through the site and also through a live comments section available with the video.