Static has a knack for wreaking havoc on even basic printing applications. Here, suppliers offer a range of remedies.
by Kate Tomlinson, Assistant Editor
WHAT'S YOUR WORST static nightmare? Several package printers recently shared theirs with packagePRINTING. They follow below, along with static control suppliers' strategies for remedying the issues at hand.
Static Attack #1: Is it slowing you down?
Problem: "We found that especially while working with sheeted polystyrene or clear BOPP, we were having a lot of trouble stacking and jogging the product as it came off the press. Due to all the static these materials hold, we were only able to run the press at 110 fpm. We also received feedback from our flexible packaging customers that they were able to increase line speeds due to a reduction of static in the product."
—Jeff Vincent, process improvement manager, Belmark, Inc., pressure-sensitive tags/labels and flexible packaging converter
Solution: "Utilizing our experience on static control for winding applications, Ion Systems initially worked with Belmark to determine the proper location and installation of the Virtual AC Intelligent Static Neutralizer systems for their film rewinders. This technology provided more ions to reach greater distances.
Static charge accumulates as incoming material winds into a roll. In order to get a neutral roll at the end of the winding cycle, every layer of the material in the roll must be neutralized. Thus, static neutralizing bars must have long range capabilities in order for the bar to clear the diameter of the finished roll and still effectively neutralize the material as soon as it starts winding on the core.
The Virtual AC technology was also used to neutralize the labels after being die-cut on the film press to reduce stacking and jogging problems. In addition, real-time feedback of system performance and operational status has contributed to better productivity and quality production. The results were a dramatic reduction of static charge on the processed material. Adding static control equipment to Belmark's machinery has provided numerous benefits: finished customer products are now neutralized; operators receive a decreased number of shocks while handling finished rolls; electrical malfunctions (such as control lock-ups) are decreased; and press speeds have increased from 110 fpm to 250 fpm."