Esterlam doctor blade

Company background

Esterlam designed and developed the original synthetic Doctor Blades (blades that remove the excess ink in the printing process) over 30 years ago and are global leaders providing clear solutions for today’s demanding flexo, gravure and screen applications. 

Doctor Blades can be used to print and coat paper, films (e.g. PET, BOPP, PVC) and foils used in packaging, labelling, publications, corrugated products and displays, in addition to metal decoration and printed electronics.

This case study showcases how Esterlam benefited from PMCP to investigate potential performance variance from their client's end. 

Esterlam logo

What did they want?

A series of PET blade samples were provided by Esterlam to be imaged and analysed on the FIB-SEM to study the consistency of their performance. The aim was to check whether any difference could be discovered between the samples.

Agreed analysis plan

  • Surface imaging and elemental analysis
  • Hardness testing for verification
  • Imaging and elemental analysis on cross-sections by FIB milling


  • The surface imaging and elemental analysis showed homogeneity across the samples.
  • Investigations on cross-sections prepared by the ion beam milling confirmed the finding from the last point. 
  • Hardness testing was performed throughout blade samples at a larger scale to proof confirm former results. 
  • These results provide Esterlam important information with which they can assure product quality to their customers and work better with the suppliers for well-informed discussions.

Esterlam sample milling

Company feedback

“The work carried out by PEMC on the FIB-SEM has gained Esterlam a lot of respect from our client. The outcome of the testing has strengthened our relationship as they realise that we are trying to work with them. It has also led to better dialogue with our supplier after studying the findings.

“As a progressive and proactive company, we look forward to working with PEMC again in the future, possibly on some research and development projects. Your help has been greatly appreciated, thank you.”
– Jon Finnerty (Production manager at Esterlam International Ltd)