The seals on your printing press can be made from a variety of materials. While your supplier will help you make the final decision on what material you should use in your practice, here are some of the more common ones you will likely see.
The cheapest and most common end seals are foam. While the price is an obvious attractant, the foam doesn’t last very long and is not a good idea if you have long printing jobs, fast press speeds, or certain ink types. At the same time, one benefit of using foam is that you can find it in almost any density, so you are sure to find something for your press.
Neoprene and Rubber
Neoprene and rubber have much longer life expectancies than foam. Combined with the fact that they can handle any ink, this makes them great for long and demanding runs, such as your next printing job about the harbor seal. One drawback to using this material is that it doesn’t sit well on many presses and can cause extra friction on your anilox roll.
Pre-soaked felt is the way to go if your press is prone to leaks. These oversized seals provide a snug fit and have been pre-soaked in petroleum, so you get less friction on your anilox roll. Like neoprene and rubber, felt is compatible with all ink types and lasts a long time. The only drawback is that this material must be regularly greased to get the full benefits. Otherwise, they will dry out after the first time you wash your anilox roll.
The ultimate goal is to get the right end seal for your printing press. To do this, you will need to weed through the options and find which one works for your application. Remember to weigh the benefits and drawbacks to figure out your best match.