Static control products for the label converting industry

Label & Narrow Web

Matt Fyffe, VP/General Manager, Meech USA

1) What challenges does static present to label converters?

There are a number of issues that static can cause when present on a production line, which is why the businesses operating in the labelling sector need to be aware of its effects. Aside from potentially inflicting harmful shocks to operators, static is capable of attracting considerable amounts of dirt and dust to the web’s surface. Not only will this result in a series of labels with poor print quality, it also means the labelling press will require frequent cleaning and slow production down.

It’s no good if a labelling company offers a fast service if they have to keep stopping their machines to clean them because of the build-up of contamination attracted by static charges. Or if at the inspection stage labels are rejected, which is of course not only wastage but expense. This matters even more if the end use for the label is perhaps medical or a clean environment.

2) What are some of the notable trends in the labelling industry affecting static and static control products?

What we’ve noticed recently is that end users are demanding more sophisticated standards in the goods they purchase than they may have done a number of years ago. For instance, filmic materials are being used more commonly now as they are pleasing on the eye, but at the same time they tend to generate higher static charges.

Think about a digital label printing line. Here, a massive static charge can be generated both during the printing process and as the film or paper is unwound from a roll. These charges are capable of attracting dust to the web from several feet away and once it has deposited on the material, it will negatively affect the final print quality.

3) What are Meech’s popular products among your label converting customers? Please describe these products in detail and the advantages they provide.

Narrow web presses used by label converters traditionally adopt tacky roller contact systems to efficiently remove contamination. This method provides excellent cleaning and is mainly used for filmic substrates. For other substrates such as paper or board, which typically carry higher contamination levels, contact vacuum systems or non-contact systems are used.

Meech’s contact cleaning systems, the TakClean (tacky roller) and VacClean (vacuum), are employed mostly in the print and label printing sectors. Tacky roller contact cleaning systems in particular use elastomer rollers to remove dry, unbonded contamination from a moving web, which is then transferred onto adhesive roles where it is trapped. The design of the system also allows operators to see the contamination being collected on the adhesive roll.

However, there are some drawbacks to this method. While contact systems provide excellent cleaning, contamination will build up on the adhesive roll unless it is checked and changed on a regular basis. This results in a gradual deterioration until the adhesive is refreshed and performance returns to 100%. As a result, tacky roller contact web cleaning may not be the ideal choice for more heavily contaminated materials.

In this case, non-contact or vacuum contact cleaning provide an alternative solution, as the system performance is not affected by the contamination level and no consumables are required, which helps reduce ongoing costs. CyClean, Meech’s latest non-contact web cleaning system, is capable of removing contamination to below 1 micron and incorporates fluid dynamic principles to deliver higher levels of cleanliness for label printing applications.

4) Is there anything else you’d like the label industry to know about Meech’s static control products and services?

Despite static being a common phenomenon, we believe that some industries may not be fully aware of the impact it can have on their business. Meech has long recognised the issues caused by static and our most recent bars, the 971IPS and 929IPS, were developed as a response to customer feedback and provide efficient ionisation from a 24V power supply. Combined with our range of web-cleaners, we are able to provide customers with the excellent standards of static elimination they have come to expect from the Meech brand.