How to deal with static in your print shop

proTIP #35


What is static electricity and how does it affect paper?

The phenomenon of static electricity is more than just a surprise jolt of energy when you touch a door handle. Its the buildup of electric charge in a particular area, and its caused by the transfer of electrons. So how does this relate to paper?

Well the tiny fibers in paper get rubbed together in printing or print finishing applications, creating a charge which causes the paper to stick together or even stick to surfaces. This then creates issues when you're trying to feed it into a machine, or separate sheets for collating, etc.

Ways to reduce static electricity on paper

So, there are a few ways to deal with removing static. We've listed them here from the smallest things that you can try, up to purchasing additional equipment to help make your life easier.

  • Fan the sheets - If you're laminating, before you put the sheets onto the deck or feeding tray of the laminator, fan them really well. That will break them open and get some airflow going in there to discharge that static
  • Anti-static string - Available from Skandacor or your local hardware store, you'll want to put this on the back of your digital printing press to make sure you're reducing or eliminating static on the sheets as soon as they're printed, as well as on the in-feed and exit of your laminator.
  • Powered ionizing bars - Another option for controlling the static is DC-controlled ionizing bars.
  • Ionizing joggers - Also available from Skandacor, ionizing joggers simply blow air onto and through the sheets to force them apart and discharge the static electricity.

Other Factors to Consider

Humidity can affect your paper greatly. So depending on where you had your paper stored or where the sheets have been sitting after you printed them, your sheets can either be much drier than you want them or so moisture-laden that they're almost glued together.
Also, the paper type and lamination film that you use can also play a role in how much static your sheets contain. For example, SOFTpro laminate film will tend to hold a lot more static than other laminate films.

So those are two additional things you can keep in mind. And if you're still struggling, we're always happy to help. Reach out to our service team at 1.888.820.9020. 
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