End seals come in various materials that vary in abrasion, solvent, and overall resistance. Here are some of the materials that your supplier may recommend and how to tell which one will best fit your application.
Foam end seals are very common and often the cheapest option on the market. However, if you are going to be running your printing press for a long time, at high speeds, or with certain fluids, these seals will not perform as well. There also tends to be a pretty large variation between foams based on where you purchase your seals.
Neoprene and Rubber
Compared to seals made from foam, neoprene and rubber have a much longer life expectancy. They work for UV and aqueous inks and coatings, so you don’t need to change them out between vastly different jobs. However, they often do not sit well because of the friction between materials and anilox rollers.
Felt seals are the way to go if you experience a lot of leaks. They are oversized, so you get a good fit while also being pre-soaked with petroleum to minimize buildup and friction in your press. They can be used with all coatings and inks and have a longer life expectancy than foam and rubber seals. However, they require a little extra maintenance because you need to keep them lubricated with grease to get the best performance possible. You will need to grease them after each time you clean your machine. Otherwise, they will dry out and require replacing after each time you clean your press.
Getting the right material for your seals will ensure that these crucial pieces are effective. This means that the right seal will help you ensure a high-quality print. Be sure to look at each material’s pros and cons to get a good idea of which one will be best for your application.