Static Control for
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
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
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."
Claudia Hine: "NOW CAN YOUR TINSEL
DO ALL THAT?"