During the printing process, static electricity is not usually a problem one initially thinks of. First of all, one would think about the efficiency of the machines and printers or presses, their integration in the chain of production and, therefore, their reliability. However, these machines are subject to static electricity, which has a bigger effect than one would imagine. An awareness of this is the first step to limiting it’s effects.
Static electricity is formed when an electrical charge moves from one material to another, leaving the first charge positive and the next one, negative. If the material is conductive, then there isn’t an issue. On the other hand, if it is not conductive, the static charge does not move and accumulates in one place.
Why is this an issue, you ask? Because static electricity attracts dust. Dust is the enemy of any successful print impression for two simple reasons.
- When we think of dust, we think of lower printing quality. Dust settles everywhere, be it in fine mechanics of machinery, or on the print heads, it accumulates on all surfaces. The labels suffer in quality and accuracy. For instance, it affects the quality of the printing and readability of barcodes.
- When we think of dust, we think of cleaning. To avoid this loss of quality and the risk of dust getting on the machines, you must clean and remove the accumulated particles. To do this, you need to stop the machines and the production process, resulting in a loss of time and productivity.
Managing static on a production line is crucial in stopping the dust from slowing down or impairing the printing process. There are solutions to reduce static electricity. One of them is called Ionization. The idea is to neutralize the charges on the surfaces of machines with ionized air. This “cloud of ions” charged positively or negatively will neutralize (in both senses of the term) the “basins” of static electricity. So, dust build up is limited and printing can continue without interruption or loss of quality.
How do you manage the static electricity generated in your printing process?