Carbon fiber rolls, once considered a luxury item in the printing and web converting industries, have evolved into an affordable upgrade for converters committed to running high-quality web operations. MECA Solutions, an industry leader in the production of rolls and custom mandrels, is experiencing an increase in orders behind the operational benefits of lightweight features.
The lightweight properties these rolls provide create benefits that touch multiple points in printing and converting operations. Key among those benefits is a decrease in accumulated stress on motors and other machine components, giving certain rolls an additional return on investment that plays out over the long haul.
“We are seeing a growing number of customers who were running traditional steel rolls come to us with requests for quotes on carbon fiber rolls,” says Tim Olson, sales manager at MECA. “Word is getting around that the rolls are more cost-effective than their outdated reputation.
Carbon fiber rolls feature exceptional stiffness and strength, especially considering their weight is only about 25 percent that of steel. Carbon fiber’s vibration absorption properties make it possible to run at higher speeds while maintaining tight tolerances and image quality.
“Moving to carbon fiber rolls minimizes total weight, which is a significant consideration when dealing with larger anilox and bridge sleeves,” Olson says. “This results in a higher-quality product with less maintenance on the machines and safer handling for workers.”
Enhanced corrosion resistance, low coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE), chemical resistance, and thermal and electrical conductivity are other benefits carbon fiber rolls offer.