The design, development, engineering, manufacture, distribution and installation of these particular blades could be regarded as scientific. Perhaps other commercial consumers who may have been privileged enough to witness events at the design table would prefer to refer to events unfolding as holistic. All doctor blades for flexo printing purposes will be required to be mathematically precise. In any event, the doctor blade component is a necessary part of the broad field of commercial or industrial printing.
Two printing methods have generally been used. These are the flexographic (flexo for short) and rotogravure methods (also simply known as gravure, and perhaps that would be accurate because, yet still, there are further methods, such as photogravure). In all the commercial printing methods, the doctor blades will be utilized to control the amount of ink that continues to surface the printing cylinder. It was always necessary for the master journeyman to look far and wide before finding the appropriate doctor blade to match his printing methods and the machines he was using.
He would, however, have to look extremely far, and yet still, depending on his location or circumstances, he may not even ever find a blade. Which is why one would have to be custom-built for the printing presses. Today, there are those industrialists who have now turned to plastic as a more cost-effective alternative. But it could be argued that the continued use of ISO certified steel and stainless steel will remain profitable and productive for the long-term. And such blades can be utilized in a cost-effective manner just as long as they are being used correctly.
This is pertinent when you consider that such blades will be operating at extremely fast speeds most of the time when in operation.