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When Synthetic Paper Clings: A ‘Shocking’ Tale of Static on paper

Static electricity is a common occurrence that arises when synthetic papers undergo frictional contact, leading to an exchange of electrons and the accumulation of electric charge. In the realm of printing synthetic papers, static electricity plays a pivotal role in determining the quality of the final output.

What causes static electricity on synthetic papers?

When synthetic papers undergo printing processes, friction between the materials and the machine's components can create static electricity. This static charge has the propensity to attract dust and debris, thereby increasing the likelihood of imperfections in the final printed product. Furthermore, static electricity poses challenges to ink adhesion and color consistency.

Temperature and humidity play significant roles in exacerbating static electricity issues during the printing of synthetic papers. Fluctuations in temperature and humidity levels can impact the moisture content of the paper, influencing its ability to conduct or retain static charges. In drier environments with low humidity, synthetic papers are more susceptible to accumulating static charges due to reduced moisture levels. Conversely, in environments with high humidity, moisture absorption by the paper may mitigate static electricity buildup.

How does static electricity affect the printing process?

Static electricity can result in a phenomenon known as "ink flying," where the ink is repelled from the plastic surface due to the static charge. This can lead to uneven ink coverage and poor print quality. In some cases, static electricity can also cause printing defects such as "ghosting" or "haloing," where images appear blurry or distorted.

Additionally, static electricity can impede ink adhesion to the paper surface, leading to issues such as ink repellency or poor color saturation. These challenges underscore the importance of controlling temperature and humidity levels in the printing environment to minimize static electricity-related issues and ensure high-quality printed outputs.

What are the solutions to mitigate static electricity on Synthetic Paper?

Though there's no magic fix for static, the antidote is a mix of many.

There are several strategies that can be employed to reduce the impact of static electricity in printing plastics.

1. Acclimatization of Plastics before printing

Acclimatization of plastic paper before printing involves allowing the material to adapt to the environmental conditions of the printing facility. This process mitigates issues caused by moisture absorption, temperature changes, and static electricity buildup in transit, which can compromise print quality.
During manufacturing and storage, plastic paper can absorb moisture or undergo temperature fluctuations, leading to print defects. Acclimatization entails placing the plastic paper in the printing environment for a specified time (8 - 18 hours) before printing, allowing it to adjust to temperature and humidity levels.
By acclimatizing, printers ensure better registration accuracy, improved ink adhesion, and reduced static electricity buildup, resulting in higher print quality. It minimizes the risk of print defects such as misregistration, or color variations, enhancing overall printing efficiency.
The duration of acclimatization varies based on factors like plastic paper type, thickness, and environmental conditions. Despite the extra time required, acclimatization is crucial for consistent print quality and efficient printing processes.

2. Surface Coatings of Synthetic Papers

Using Synthetic papers with coatings is highly recommended over just corona treated synthetic papers. Coatings offer customizable chemistry. This customized chemistry can provide many benefits.
Despite varying expert opinions, it's important to highlight our unique selling points to minimize static using our patented chemistry on all three of our Digital Synthetic Paper range :
  • GRAFFITI POLYESTER PAPER - Rigid Pure Polyester papers
  • GRAFFITI SOFT POLY PAPER - polypropelene based papers
  • GRAFFITI STRATA - Laminated Papers
a. Surface Finish 
A smooth, non-absorbent surface that can be more prone to accumulating static charges compared to uncoated or corona treated plastic. This is because the smooth surface reduces the ability of the paper to dissipate static electricity.
Graffiti Digital Synthetic Coatings provides 'peaks & valley' textures on the synthetic paper making it easy for static to be dissipated.
b. Paper Moisture Content
Graffiti Digital Synthetic Coatings have been proven to minimize moisture absorption rates. This decreases probabilities of heightened static production, particularly in arid conditions.
c. Anti-Static Additives
Graffiti Digital Synthetic Coatings chemistry also have anti-static additives. Our innovative additives added to the coatings help to prevent static charges for seamless printing. These additives help to dissipate the static charge and prevent it from building up during the printing process. 
GRAFFITI COATINGS, are a top patented coating in the industry designed to reduce static. No foolproof solution exists in the market, making Graffiti Coatings a leading player.

3. Hardware - Ionizing Equipment

Utilize ionizing equipment, such as de/ionizing bars & blowers, to neutralize static charge on synthetic papers during feeding and on the delivery side. These bars introduce ions of opposite polarity, effectively reducing static and improving print quality.

Some products we have come to suggest and listed here below: 

  • STOP STATIC - https://stopstatic.com/solutions/printing-general/
  • MEECH Anti-Static bars - https://meech.com/product/915-anti-static-bar/ 

Overall, understanding the science of static electricity in printing on synthetic papers is crucial for achieving high-quality, consistent results. By implementing the right solutions and techniques, printers can minimize the impact of static charge and produce flawless printed products.

Currently there is no air tight solution to reduce static to zero. However, by incorporating best practices such as using anti-static devices or controlled humidity levels, printers can significantly reduce static-related issues.

 

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