Anvil Roll 101: Essential Products and Practices for Maximum Tooling Life

Posted on: July 10, 2023

In the world of converting and flexographic printing, anvil rolls power many processes across various platforms. Discover how proper care, maintenance, and accessories can enhance output quality, increase production speeds, and ensure consistent performance in your anvil rolls. 

Types of Anvil Rolls

Wilson Manufacturing offers two variations on standard anvil rolls to help you adjust to material changes and tooling wear without press downtime. 

Stepped Anvils

Designed from a standard anvil roll and then either oversized or undersized, our stepped anvils can manage variations in the material or tooling. Stepped anvils are a cost-effective way to achieve a deeper or lighter die strike and extend the life of tools that are beginning to show signs of wear.

Adjustable Anvil Rolls

Adjustable anvil technology allows operators to adjust the cutting depth on the fly and from job to job without changing out the anvil. Wilson’s adjustable anvils feature a 0.5-micron minimum adjustment and fully hardened tool steel construction. This game-changing versatility allows you to minimize downtime and reduce waste. Parameters for multiple jobs can be saved by referencing a job or die number, allowing for easy retrieval when needed and reducing the risk of errors during setup.

Essential Anvil Roll Accessories

To maximize the life of your tooling and maintain peak performance, there are a few essential products you should add to your setup. These accessories can be critical in ensuring your tooling cuts exactly how you need it to, run after run. 

Pressure Gauges

Incorporating pressure gauges in your station will help you monitor any changes in pressure that need to be addressed. Our WH1 gauges use a hydraulic-based system with rotatable readouts. For thicker materials or steel-to-steel applications, we recommend the WM1 gauges that operate using a mechanical-based system. Both types feature quick snap locks for ease of use and can be fitted to most machines and presses.

Long-term overpressuring or running with excessive pressure can wear the cutting blades prematurely. With pressure gauges, you can observe when pressure increases naturally, allowing you to release it and reset it back down to the minimum running requirement to maximize the life of your tools. This added visibility ensures you are optimizing production time and preempting unnecessary tooling damage. 

Bearer Wipers

Irreparable damage can be caused by debris on the bearer area of the die or anvil. Bearer wipers are a critical component in keeping the bearers free of debris and lubricated to reduce the friction caused by heat. Installing bearer wipers and keeping the felt pads clean and well-oiled will ensure your tooling runs at peak performance. 

Cylinder Inspection Tool

This measuring device allows you to check the concentricity of your anvil roll to ensure it can perform consistently and accurately. With this measuring tool, you can monitor deviations in diameters and surface conditions to alert you of any changes that may indicate wear on the tooling and if retooling is needed. 

Quick Tips for Anvil Roll Maintenance

No matter what type of anvil roll you are using, regular maintenance with proper care and handling can significantly reduce the risk of damage and can ensure you are getting the most out of your tooling.  Our comprehensive guide to care and handling provides more details about maximizing the life of all your rotary tooling.

Regular Inspections

Whenever you switch out a die or anvil, take a moment to inspect the gear for wear and debris and check the body for grooves or imperfections. If you notice these things, first clean your anvil roll with a clean, lint-free cloth. If the imperfections are still visible, it may be time for retooling or replacement. Checking the roll with a clean, bare hand is often the best way to “feel” any imperfections on the surface. We recommend using the cylinder inspection tool monthly to regularly monitor the condition of your anvil rolls.

Anvil Roll Audits

To maintain anvils in optimal condition, we recommend a yearly audit. Free to existing Wilson customers, this audit includes diameter confirmation, damage inspection, potential issue identification, and future maintenance recommendations. These audits are available year-round and can be requested through your Wilson representative, who will work with you to create an efficient audit plan for your facility and your tooling.


To best care for your anvil rolls, make sure to clean them and keep them free of debris to reduce the chance of build-up that may cause damage. When removing them from the press or storing specialty anvils not in use, be careful to avoid contact with any type of jewelry as it can cause damage to the tool—avoid any contact with foreign objects! Store clean tooling with adequate rust protection and in the original packaging it arrived in. 


When you begin to notice wear on your tooling, or you identify diameter changes, you can send your anvil rolls to Wilson for retooling. Our experts will re-grind your anvil to restore the surface to its original smooth condition. 

Maximize the Life of Your Anvil Rolls

By prioritizing the care and handling of your anvil rolls, you can maximize their life and usefulness. Regular maintenance, including cleaning, lubrication, and consistent inspection, is vital in preserving tooling performance and maximizing lifespan. Investing in properly caring for your anvil rolls will safeguard your operational efficiency and maintain consistent results to minimize downtime. 

To schedule your next anvil roll audit, connect with your Wilson representative, and to explore more care and handling best practices, check out our comprehensive guide.

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