Meech highlighted innovative solutions for labelling industry with static control and web-cleaning ranges at Labelexpo Europe 2013
Meech International showcased its full web-cleaning and static control ranges at this year’s Labelexpo Europe. With a line-up that included the recently launched Hyperion bars, the 971IPS and 929 IPS, and the non-contact web-cleaner CyClean, the show proved to be the ideal podium for illustrating how Meech’s products can benefit businesses in the labelling sector.
“It was good to be back at Labelexpo, but we never intended to treat it as just an opportunity to exhibit our latest products,” explains Business Unit Director for Cleaning Systems, Adam Battrick. “Being fully aware of the ever-growing importance of the labelling market, and with a long heritage in static and web-cleaning, our key aim was to explain to visitors just how Meech solutions can benefit companies in this sector and advise them on some of the issues if static and/or contamination is left untreated. We are pleased to confirm our offering attracted a good deal of interest throughout the show.”
The need to minimise wastage and achieve higher levels of productivity is a key priority for label converters. Adam explains that, in order to achieve this goal, it is important to capitalise on the strengths of contact and non-contact web-cleaning.
“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,” he says. Meech’s contact cleaning system, the TakClean (tacky roller) is employed most 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 rolls where it is trapped. The design of the system also allows operators to see the contamination being collected on the adhesive roll.
For other substrates such as paper or board, which typically carry higher contamination levels, the Meech VacClean contact vacuum system is commonly used. “In the label market we are seeing a move towards interest in non-contact systems, such as our new CyClean. This is due to non-contact cleaning giving the best of both worlds”, explains Adam, “CyClean can be used with all substrates, improving the flexibility of the press and it is not affected by high contamination levels like a tacky roller system and has no consumable costs”. CyCleanTM, 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.
“Web cleaning systems need to achieve two main actions for successful cleaning,” explains Adam, “the boundary layer of air on the web must be broken, allowing contamination trapped under and within it to be removed, and the static charge on the web must be eliminated so that contamination can be isolated. Only a system this thorough will result in a spotless web, which is of paramount importance in label printing, as brand owners expect the very highest quality finish to promote their product to the end user.”
Static control range
Despite static being a common phenomenon, Business Unit Director for Static Control, David Rogers believes that some industries may not be fully aware of the impact it can have on their business.
“As static is generated, process lines begin to mis-feed as products made of synthetic material such as polyethylene, polypropylene and polystyrene misbehave, and the opportunity for contamination of the final product increases dramatically,” he elaborates. “Add to this the increased potential for serious damage and injury to operators as a consequence of electric sparks generated within explosive environments, and the need to control static levels becomes a fundamental aspect of the production environment.”
David goes on to illustrate examples of how static can affect the labelling sector particularly: “A common need for static elimination is found on digital printing lines. For instance, a massive static charge can be generated as the coated paper or film is unwound from a roll. These charges are capable of attracting airborne dust to the web from several feet away, which can be particularly damaging if the material comes within close proximity of the floor. Once the dust is on the material, it can cause defects in print quality.”
Another issue to take into account is that high static charges can also cause problems with ink adhesion, as they can actually repel the ink from the material surface, and affect the overall quality of the product. Not only does this scenario lead to increased production costs, it can also lead to reduced production speeds.
When static is present on the web, even in small amounts, this can also cause issues during the winding process. As the material is wound up, the “battery effect” can result in a huge charge being accumulated. Aside from causing high levels of dust attraction, a powerful discharge can result not only in operator shocks, but also fires or the severe damage of in house equipment.
“Meech has long recognised the issues caused by this phenomenon,” concludes David, “which is why we aim to provide customers with the excellent standards of static elimination they have come to expect from our brand. In that spirit 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.”
Meech’s complete static control and web-cleaning ranges are available immediately. For more information on both product ranges, as well as the company’s other systems, please visit www.meech.com.