Doctor Blade materials – stainless steel or carbon steel?

Doctor blades come in different materials, including stainless steel and carbon steel. If your doctor blade is not labeled, it can be difficult to determine the material it is made of. By identifying whether your doctor blades are made of stainless steel or carbon steel, you can ensure that you are using the most suitable blade for your printing application. In this article, you will learn how to easily test the material of your doctor blade and what distinguishes the different materials.

Carbon steel doctor blades are generally a good choice for printing applications that involve solvent-based inks, while stainless steel blades may be better suited for water-based inks and applications that require high levels of corrosion resistance. Ultimately, the best choice will depend on the specific needs of your printing operation.

See our product range of doctor blades here.

Test if your doctor blade is stainless or carbon steel:

You’ll need

  • Doctor blade
  • Water, 100-200 ml
  • Some kind of jar or pitcher (to pour the water and stable enough for the doctor blade to stand)
  • Lemon, 1 or 2

How to do?

  1. Fill up the jar with water
  2. Squeeze the lemon juice into the water (if you use more juice you’ll see the result more fast)
  3. Put down the doctor blade you want to test into the lemon water
  4. Wait 4-8 hours
  5. Take out the blade
  6. Is it rust on it?
  7. Yes – carbon steel
  8. No – stainless steel





4 differences and similarities between carbon steel and stainless steel doctor blades:

  1. Durability: Both carbon steel and stainless steel are strong and durable materials.
  2. Corrosion resistance: Stainless steel is highly resistant to corrosion, while carbon steel is more vulnerable to corrosion. This means that stainless steel blades may be a better choice for printing applications that involve exposure to moisture or corrosive chemicals. When printing with water-based inks, it is best to use stainless steel.
  3. Cost: Carbon steel blades are generally more affordable than stainless steel blades. However, it is important to remember to use the appropriate blade for the task at hand. This depends on factors such as the printing press being used and the length of the printing run. If you are familiar with your doctor blade, it is often a recipe for success.
  4. Ink compatibility: Stainless steel doctor blades are compatible with water-based inks, while carbon steel blades are better suited for use with solvent-based inks. Carbon steel corrodes when it encounters water-based paint. If the machine stands still, there is a high risk of rust occurring. But this is usually not an issue as long as everything is up and running.

Both carbon steel and stainless steel doctor blades are easy to install and maintain.

If you want more information or advice regarding our printing doctor blades, contact us or your distributor.

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