Static Control & Web Cleaning

Static control and web cleaning: essential equipment to an essential industry

By Stewart Gordon-Smith, business development director, Meech International W

ith all the pressure converters in the label and packaging industry have come under recently –

unprecedented demand due to panic buying and stockpiling, production challenges due to social distancing requirements, staff shortages and supply chain issues – seamless, production and flawless quality control have never been more important. The packaging industry is critical to modern life, helping to dramatically reduce food waste and protect products from contamination – and static control and web cleaning systems play a vital role. With their advanced capability to remove contamination and static charges from webs, these devices contribute to the smooth running of packaging and printing processes. This leads to high quality, safe to use end products, while significantly reducing wastage and offering a greater saving in overall costs. Every company’s production challenges

are different. Varying web speeds, substrate types, the climate and cleanliness of the production environment all have an impact on which static control and web cleaning solution works best. But before deciding to invest in such equipment, it is vital to understand how static charges occur and why contamination can lead to a multitude of problems.


Static generation can occur on a converting line for a number of reasons. Fast running web rolls may generate friction, for example, or the web being processed may be within a highly statically charged field. Separation and induction are also capable of increasing the potential for contaminants to become attracted to the web’s surface. For instance, if static charges are

generated during the converting process, airborne particles in the form of dust and dirt could adhere to the moving web, potentially hindering the material’s final presentation. This also greatly impacts on the hygiene of products - which are almost guaranteed to be discarded before entering the next phase of their production. Statically charged webs can also cause

issues for print machinery, as static charges are capable of repelling ink away from the web surface. This can cause a blurring effect or leading to print appearing out of register. Any products with compromised appearance will lead to an increase in rejects and wastage.

40 July/ August 2020 The Hyperion range of DC ionising bars,

power supplies and generators are Meech’s highly advanced static control - offering, designed for short, mid and long-range ionisation respectively. The bars found in this range are made for today’s modern, fast- paced production environments and are engineered to include monitoring technology as well as control over output voltage, frequency and balance. Recently developed remote technology

from Meech allows the user to remotely monitor and adjust the performance of connected Hyperion equipment, through a mobile phone, tablet or desktop. This allows

for optimum flexibility of usage, no matter the time of day.

COMBATTING STATIC PROBLEMS The most effective way of removing the threat of static charges is to install ionising bars onto converting equipment, just prior to and after the point where static charges most commonly occur – this can be determined with help from an expert in the static control field. This result is a significantly reduced risk of static charges and contaminants being attracted to the web’s surface.

WEB CLEANING For optimum web appearance and function, any static control devices should be paired with a web cleaner. With product cleanliness of upmost importance to manufacturers, web cleaners are a cost effective way of maintaining high quality products while preventing wastage. Web cleaners come in two different forms: contact and non- contact. Contact systems, such as Meech’s TakCleanTM, are suitable for narrower, slower lines. They incorporate elastomer contact cleaning rollers and perforated adhesive rolls which pick up and remove contamination from the web surface. While highly effective at removing low to moderately contaminated web materials, the adhesive rolls require changing and are not ideal for highly saturated webs. Ideal for a wide variety of applications,

non-contact solutions utilise airflow to clean webs. Providing exceptional contamination removal for a wide variety of applications, Meech’s CyCleanTM, for example, is an advanced system capable of handling virtually any substrate. It provides comprehensive decontamination and will remove particles as small as 0.3 micron. The CyClean range also includes the CyClean R, a Web Cleaner that utilises the existing technology but is designed to specifically work on low tension weds. With more materials being developed for converters to process than ever before, non-contact systems provide a long-term future proof solution for converters.

FINAL CONSIDERATIONS Increased demand is likely to result in shorter turnaround times, which will lead to incremented production speeds. This can create problems on various parts of the line, impacting on flow and ongoing business costs.Investing in equipment that can counter static charge and contamination will help companies keep up with the demands on their business and ensure the consistent manufacturing of high quality label and packaging products. Meech is proud to have played a vital part in supporting converters through this most challenging of times – helping them to counter the effects of static and ensuring they can maintain high-quality and contaminate-free production.

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