Static control and web cleaning & handling: a look at products designed to help converters achieve defect-free printing.

Author:Katz, Steve
 
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Static electricity presents multiple challenges to label printers and converters. Electrostatic charges develop on web surfaces as they are transported through various converting processes such as printing, rewinding, slitting, coating and laminating. These charges often cause dust and debris to attract labelstock on the web, which results in print leading to quality issues and potentially customer dissatisfaction. There's also a safety issue-significant static charges can cause operator shocks, interruption of process control electronics, and even fire. In other words, controlling static is serious business.

Static control and web cleaning and handling equipment go hand in hand, as clean and well-handled webs eliminate static. What follows are details about some of the newest and best products from leading industry suppliers that can optimally clean and handle narrow webs and eliminate static.

POLYMAG TEK

Polymag Tek manufactures innovative contact web cleaners for the converting industry, custom designed to remove dirt, contamination, slitting dust and converting debris. The company's products are designed to be simple and robust designs with a low cost of ownership.

Polymag Tek offers web cleaners of all sizes, to accommodate everything from small label presses to wide web film lines. "We make each machine to our customer's specifications because we understand that each process, press and substrate is unique," explains Joe Rodibaugh, technical sales for Polymag Tek."A one-size-fits-all approach is not our method."

In 2000, Polymag Tek commissioned the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) to study the efficiency of different web cleaning methods. The company published its findings and have based its web cleaner design off of the knowledge gained from this study. (The study is available at http://www.polymagtek.com/dirt-report.html)

Polymag Tek manufactures single-sided and double-sided web cleaners for narrow web applications. In its most basic model (2RNWC), a 3" OD Contact Cleaning Roll "nips" the substrate against an existing idler roll. The Contact Cleaning Roll (CCR) removes the contaminants from the web, and then transfers them to an adhesive tape roll. Most models include pneumatic separation of the nip and the rolls when the press stops in order to prevent any conveyance issues.

"Our two-sided units operate on the same principle. Our 4RNWCIIA provides two-sided cleaning at a fraction of the cost of competitors clamshell units," Rodibaugh says.

He continues, "Some suppliers mass produce a particular model of a clamshell web cleaner. Although we do produce a clamshell model web cleaner (4RNWC-CD/6RNWC-CD), we only propose this model for customers that run their presses continuously for six hours or more without stopping."

The clamshell has drawers for the adhesive tape that allows on-the-fly tape change. "Although this feature is great for continuous operations, it adds to...

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