Staying online is every print shop’s main concern from a bottom line standpoint. This 2018-2019 Winter has seen some of the coldest temperatures across locations in the Plains, Midwest and East Coast. Extreme temperatures that an entire generation of people have never experienced. Low and even below zero temperatures are not unusual in places like Minnesota or into the Canadian provinces. But this Winter it hit a larger swath of geography here in the US. Extreme Winter conditions lead to heaters pumping out hot air more often. The heat goes on, the indoor conditions get exceptionally dry. What does that mean for commercial offset or digital printers and print shops?
For commercial printers, this low humidity condition in the shop can have an adverse effect on everything from paper curling and dimensional changes to paper getting stuck in machines. Dry conditions impact adhesives, glues and coatings. Inks may dry too fast and not lay down properly on the sheet which can impact registration.
Commercial Print Manufacturers Specify Temperature & Humidity Levels.
For digital printers, the manufacturers of printing equipment require that the machine be run at a specified humidity level. For instance, HP specifies environmental conditions for their line of commercial printers that include temperature and humidity requirements. It can be difficult for a print shop to keep a consistent and high level of humidity with a small, plug in or localized humidifier. Why?
First, a large amount of humidity is needed to offset the always-on heat. This is especially true when outdoor temperatures hover in the teens or even 20s (F), nevermind when those conditions pass zero and into the negative temperatures.
In an environment that contains lots of equipment and machinery, there is an additional reduction of humidity in the air. The heat expelled from the machinery essentially ‘uses up’ any moisture in the air.
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Consistent Humidity For Printing
When working with a product like paper that is derived from a natural resource, its hygroscopic nature means that it tends to absorb any humidity that might be present in the air. That’s why it’s important to provide a consistent, set humidity level in the production process to create a high-quality end product. Consistent humidity can keep the paper from a continuous cycle of drying out and then becoming re-moistened, drying out and becoming re-moistened.
Not only will humidity keep paper pliable and help keep a consistent shape, it reduces paper jams. Humidity prevents machinery parts from becoming rigid and dried out. It also keeps some parts cool like rollers. This creates less opportunity for parts to jam or break.
Humidity will also relieve static caused in these same low humidity conditions whether that is with an organic derived material such as paper or laminated paper, coatings or plastics used for printed packaging. Keeping static at bay prevents materials from jamming or sticking together and can even prevent sparks and fires.
Print Humidifiers : Don’t Guess
Having a dependable humidification system for your commercial print operation is important for keeping conditions consistent. Utilizing a a system that can sustain a humidity set-point can make operations easier. Our FOCUS system offers a closed loop system which means humidity is always available when the sensor tells it to release. The same system offers a solenoid at the nozzle making it drip-less. FOCUS systems can add small amounts of humidity to sensitive and demanding environments to maintain conditions.
Humidify Your Shop: Be Sure
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phone. 1-800-322-4364 or 1-760-322-1111 | email. fog at microcool.com