Shocking Fact of Life
Static control and web cleaning go hand-in-hand with safety, productivity, and quality in the package printing industry.
STATIC ELECTRICITY IS a fact of life for most printers and converters. So are the productivity, quality, and safety issues that accompany static and its resultant web contamination.
Static is a naturally occurring nuisance on many packaging substrates, building up as a result of the general processes of converting and printing, and aggravated by seasonal changes. The problem arises "once the material is out in the open, going from roller to roller, it becomes highly charged and pulls particles from the manufacturing environment to the film," explains Andy Grzesik, general manager of Tantec, Inc. (Schaumburg, Ill.).
Without static control or web cleaning equipment, the particles cling to the substrate, creating botched print jobs and, ultimately, waste. With the appropriate equipment, the charged substrate is neutralized, and what debris does contaminate the material can be cleaned away. The result: unmarred end products that please customers.
With the help of suppliers and converters, packagePRINTING took a closer look at three main issues converters and printers deal with when combating static: safety, productivity, and quality.
Converter's issue: "Hop Industries has been converting PVC sheeting and Hop-Syn Synthetic paper for more than 25 years. These substrates generate a large amount of static electricity during converting processes, and static elimination units are necessary to minimize the static so that the operators will not be constantly shocked," said Robert Noetzel, the marketing director of Hop Industries Corp.
However, since adding an Ion Systems Industrial static elimination unit to its new Dusenbury slitter/rewinder, Noetzel added, Hop has been able to protect operators from being shocked, and produce rolls of product with a neutral charge that helped its customers.
Solution: In many instances, static electricity is an irritating nuisance, more just an attention-getting shock. However, machine operators can be shocked time and time again, and sometimes with serious effects. "The massive electrostatic charges which build up in reels of plastic film, may, in certain circumstances, be strong enough to throw an adult across the room when discharged," said Matt Fyffe, general manager of Meech Static Eliminators (Richfield, Ohio).