How To Prevent Sparks & Firers Whilst Gravure Printing – SADC Region

Fire breaking out in printing press plants as a result of ESD (electrostatic discharge) is rare, but the threat is very real.

During periods of low humidity levels (well below 50%) ESD causes sparks and small fires in and around the ink pans of gravure printing presses.  These sparks and fires if not detected or extinguished timeously could cause havoc with consequent loss of production time resulting.

The obvious solution is to stabilize the humidity inside printing press plants throughout the year to mitigate the threat. Easier said than done!

Gravure printing press plants require large volumes of air exchanges to dissipate heat as well as extract evaporated organic solvents. This mechanical process continuously introduces ‘fresh’ outside air into the plant thereby inhibiting effective humidity control measures.

Ikeuchi (Japan) overcame the foregoing challenge by introducing ‘spot’ humidification to make life far easier for gravure press printers. The process involves focusing a steady continuous stream of dry mist towards the ink pans of the gravure printing press’s ink pads without wetting the air utilizing Ikeuchi’s patented AKIMist technology.

In a published case study Ikeuchi reduced the ESD from 24kV down to 4kV – a remarkable technological achievement. A side benefit was also the improved quality of the final print as well as far fewer dust particles in the air resulting in a far improved final printed product.

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