For around forty years laser engraved ceramic Anilox rollers have been used by the flexographic printing industry. The transition from mechanically engraved Anilox rollers to laser engraved Anilox rollers was slow at first, but now the use of laser engraved ceramic Anilox rollers is ubiquitous. However, the use of laser engraved ceramics as coating and applicator rolls has been a much slower affair. To date, the main problem with high volume ceramic applicator engravings is that the ceramic flows and therefore makes a messy engraving. Now because of the introduction of new laser engraving technology, the shape of things to come is quite different!
A simple way to think about the laser engraving of a ceramic Anilox roller is that a focused laser beam is pulsed synchronously to a roller rotating near to the focus point of the laser. The combination of the number of laser pulses around the roller, with the distance that each column of pulses are apart along the axis of the roller defines the number of Anilox cells in a given area. The position of Anilox cells from column to column facilitates the angle of the Anilox cell structure, 30, 45, 60 degrees etc. The underlying principle of a roller moving past a stationary focus laser beam is found all round the world on modern and old laser engraving machines alike