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Why Plastic Doctor Blades Offer More Advantages Than Steel

Demands for more precision and better results have culminated in innovative products that challenge the traditional concepts of what makes a good doctor blade. In recent years, plastic doctor blades have made strides to become closer to their steel counterparts, and there are several reasons why they might be a good fit for your application:

Safety

If you’ve ever worked in a press room, you’ll know steel blades can cause injuries if not handled appropriately. The edges become honed during use, resulting in razor-sharp tips. The polymer of plastic blades can still get sharp when used but doesn’t develop the same dangerous edge. Even after use, plastic doctor blades are less likely to cause injury than steel, although caution when handling used blades is still a necessity.

Performance

If you want exceptional wiping capability, you choose steel. However, advanced polymer materials and innovative tip technology can now provide adequate stiffness at thinner gauges than before for less demanding applications. Also, some plastic blades can last much longer than their steel counterparts, causing less press downtime.

Durability

Some Polymer materials are incredibly tough and are resistant to mechanical wear, and some, but not all, are self-lubricating.

Cost-Effectiveness

Plastic doctor blades tend to be kinder than steel to anilox rolls. Anilox damage leads to defects, waste, and the expense of repairing or replacing the roll. Plastic is non-abrasive and unlikely to cause damage or premature anilox wear.

Sustainability

Plastic blades reduce a printer’s environmental impact. Producing plastic uses much less energy than steel and emits fewer greenhouse gases with a smaller transportation component.

Printers must look to innovation and advanced technology to streamline their processes, and many are finding the answer in plastic doctor blades.

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