Combatting Static

By Matt Fyffe, Vice President/General Manager, Meech International

Static control and web cleaning systems continue to play a vital role in the converting industry. With their advanced capability to remove contamination from webs, these devices contribute to the smooth running of packaging and printing processes. This leads to a high-quality end product while significantly reducing wastage and offering a greater saving in overall costs.

IMPACT OF STATIC

Static generation can occur on a converting line for a number of reasons. Fast running web rolls may generate friction, for example, or the web being processed may be within a highly statically charged field. Separation and induction are also capable of increasing the potential for contaminants to become attracted to the web’s surface. For instance, if static charges are generated on a label printing line, airborne particles in the form of dust and dirt could adhere to the moving web, potentially hindering the label’s final presentation. Print quality can also be impacted by static charges, as these are potentially capable of repelling ink from the web surface. The end result is that the final product’s appearance is compromised, leading to increased rejects and wastage.

COMBATTING STATIC PROBLEMS

The installation of ionizing bars onto converting equipment will significantly reduce the static charge and the risk of contaminants being attracted to the web’s surface.  There are products available that are suitable for usage on a variety of converting lines and are designed for short, mid- and long-range ionization respectively, as well as designed for today’s modern, fast-paced production environments.

WEB CLEANING

The removal of static alone is not enough to guarantee a clean, spotless web. At a time where product cleanliness is of upmost importance to manufacturers, investing in a web cleaner is a cost-effective way to increase quality and prevent waste.

Web cleaners come in two different forms: contact and non-contact. Contact systems incorporate elastomer contact cleaning rollers and perforated adhesive rolls which pick up and remove contamination from the web surface. Devices like this are suitable for narrower, slower printing lines.

Utilizing airflow to break the boundary layer of the web, non-contact solutions provide exceptional contamination removal for a wide-variety of applications. Advanced systems are capable of handling virtually any substrate. They can provide comprehensive decontamination and remove particles as small as 0.3 micron. With more materials being developed for labeling and printing than ever before, non-contact systems provide a long-term future proof solution for converters.

CONSIDERATIONS FOR CONVERTERS

For label and packaging printers, increased demand is likely to result in shorter turnaround times, which will lead to incremented production speeds. This can create problems on the printing line, impacting on production flow and ongoing business costs.

Investing in equipment that can counter static charge and contamination will help companies keep up with the demands on their business and ensure the consistent manufacturing of high-quality label and packaging products.


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