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Fowler Associates Labs



Static Fire Stories Articles & Technical Papers Current News

Static Control for the PFFC


By: Constance Harness

Paper Film Foil Converter (PFFC) senior editor Claudia Hine, in an article on "Trends in Static Control" in the August 2000 issue of PFFC Magazine asks the question: Are You Still Clinging to Tinsel for Static Control?

The importance of neutralizing static on a running web is paramount for the following reasons: Elimination of safety hazard to employees, minimization of product contamination, prevention of voids on printed material; faster production speeds, prevention of fires if solvent-based inks or coatings are used, and deliverance of a well-rounded roll by eliminating one cause of blocking or telescoping.

A variety of relatively inexpensive static elimination systems are available: Ionizing static bars, air blowers, air nozzles, and air knives.

Mark Blitshteyn, general manager of Ion Systems Industrial, Windsor Locks, CT, believes that the answer to that question lies in a resignation on the part of users of not being able to find good equipment.

However, Tobias Wagener, general manager of Haug North America, Mississauga, Ont, Canada surmises that having the best ionizer is not going to do any good if it is in the wrong place.

Jim Patterson, executive VP of Julie Industries, Inc., Wilmington, MA, concurs and states, "Static is created by contact and separation of similar and dissimilar materials. Industrial static control equipment is really application-engineering driven. You must have the right tool for the job in the right location."

Blitshteyn says that generally, static neutralizing bars need to be close to the surface of the moving web to be effective and sometimes the optimal location is hard to find because the majority of converting equipment is not designed with static control in mind. Because metal is a ground that will compete for ions, he says there is new technology on the market today that uses no metal in the neutralizer construction which frees the ions to travel farther.

In addition to range, Wagener recommends equipment that is easy to install, easy to maintain, uses shielded cable to eliminate electrical interference, and is repairable. He states that the amount of positive and negative ions put out by the bar should be balanced because an unequal distribution of ions could put a charge on the surface you want to neutralize.

Patterson adds that on-line static monitoring is starting to catch on. Using a cleaning head that is also a static eliminator will decrease cleaning downtime. When printing with UV inks, it is important to clean and neutralize static at the same time as the UV inks pick up slitter dust and transfers it.

According to Blitshteyn, a computer interface static control system that is an integral part of the line would save time. For instance: "If you take a 400-foot long coating/laminating line, you may need 10 to 20 neutralizers spread along the line from the unwind to the rewind. Even if you have intelligent equipment that has a display, to go around and look at 20 displays, even once a week, is a job in itself. Putting all the information, all the files, all the history, and control in a computer screen at the control panel makes the static control system an integral part of the line."



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