Beating Static Woes
Attack static problems early, or else they could take over
by Kate Tomlinson, Associate Editor
IT'S THAT TIME of year once again. As temperatures drop and the heating units are turned on (sucking much of the humidity out of the air), pressroom static problems intensify. We all know the standard static control drill: add a bar, some tinsel, or a vacuum unit to avoid dirty webs and to keep your operators from getting shocked (or worse!). In addition to expanding product lines, today's static control and web cleaning suppliers have taken the best of the best, made slight improvements, and added features to ensure you are getting the best for your money. packagePRINTING went straight to industry suppliers for tips on tackling static before it wreaks havoc on your pressroom.
Tips of the trade
• "During high-humidity seasons, materials which tend to be hygroscopic, such as uncoated papers and non-wovens, absorb some degree of moisture from the ambient humidity. The collection of moisture on their surface increases electrical conductivity which results in lower static charge generation. Moisture also allows a semi-conductive path for static charges to bleed off to ground through contact with metal machinery components. Plastic films are also somewhat effected but generally not to the same extent, as they tend not to collect as much surface moisture.
"While static control products are the most effective way to control charges, during the winter months machine speeds can be reduced. This will sometimes aid in lower charge generation on materials. Also, humidity levels in the production environment can be increased."—Mike Oldt, business unit manager, SIMCO Industrial Static Control
• "If a customer is struggling with static, the first recommended step would be to contact a static professional and get a no-obligation survey done. If they are still unsure of making the investment, customers should try to arrange an equipment trial. I am sure that a company confident in their application specialists and products will not object to such a proposal."—Tobias Wagener, GM, HAUG N.A. • "Look at your static problems as engineering projects, don't just throw more tinsel at the problems."—Mark Blitshteyn, VP/Industrial Products, Ion Systems