Humidification for Paper Processing and Printing Industries
Constant and consistent humidity level control in all stages of paper processing and printing is critical for best production results. To maintain the moisture content of paper and to ensure proper operation of equipment, humidity levels are required to be between 40% and 55%.
An ideal humidity level ensures paper quality, a great finished product, dimensional stability of paper, optimum ink transfer, and improved reliability. The result is less paper jams or breaks and reduced paper curl and cracking — all while maintaining maximum equipment speed. Shrinkage and static electricity are also eliminated from the process.
So, if maintaining a specific humidity level improves operations and increases profitability, what is the best way to achieve the required humidity levels?
The two most common approaches for humidification in the paper processing and printing industries include adiabatic humidification (direct evaporation) and isothermal humidification (steam).
Adiabatic humidification involves pressurizing water up to 1000 psi and distributing it through a specialized nozzle, where it is atomized down to as low as 10 microns (10 millionths of a meter) and introduced into the air that requires conditioning. Due to the microscopic size of these droplets, they possess a huge surface area relative to their volume, and provide a rapid evaporation rate for very effective humidification.
Adiabatic humidification differs from the isothermal process in several important aspects. First, it does not introduce thermal energy (heat) into the water supply or surrounding air. In fact, due to the process of thermal dynamics, the evaporative process actually reduces ambient temperature. This can be critical in facilities where equipment operation can increase temperatures.
Second, the adiabatic humidification process saves time and money compared to most isothermal methods of humidification. An adiabatic humidification system requires about 15 watts of electricity to provide 8 lbs. (1 gallon) of water capacity. A comparably sized steam system would require approximately 3000 watts for the same water capacity.
An adiabatic humidification system also provides lower startup and maintenance costs. Historically, the need for re-circulated water for these systems presented significant challenges, such as increased operational costs and additional maintenance needs. The need for re-circulated water was largely due to inferior products and the inability to obtain high moisture absorption rates. Improved design and technology within the high-pressure fog industry have addressed this deficiency and eliminated the need for water recirculation.
Eliminating the need for re-circulated water, incorporating improved technologies, and not introducing heat have led to great results. Adiabatic humidification systems now have lower startup, operational, and maintenance costs with proven performance records. They are now the preferred option for humidification needs in the paper processing and printing industries.
How to Buy an Industrial Humidifier
With the advancements in technology, commercial humidifiers on the market today can do more than just add moisture to the air. They are designed to closely monitor humidity levels in a variety of environments to ensure sensitive materials and products will not be affected or ruined by humidity or temperature.
When you buy an industrial humidification system, it’s important to get a good return on your investment and find the right supplier. Be sure to consider the following factors when purchasing a humidification system for your paper processing and printing operation.
When humidity levels drop, static electricity becomes more common. In some industrial environments, static electricity can be a serious concern. For example, workers may experience a jolt of static electricity if they come into contact with certain materials, which can be very unnerving and uncomfortable. However, encounters with static electricity can result in more severe outcomes depending on the environment.
People working around hazardous or flammable materials must be very careful about creating sparks. The sparks from one static electrical discharge can be enough to ignite an explosion. It is important to have a proper means of grounding employees and an industrial humidifier will keep humidity at the required levels, decreasing the chance for static electricity problems.
Many kinds of electronic equipment and components are very sensitive to static electrical charges. Maintaining the recommended humidity is part of a good static electricity prevention program.
When the air gets too dry, evaporation occurs more readily. In the wine industry this could be disastrous, as the wine will literally evaporate through the wooden barrels it is stored in.
In many commercial environments today, dust is a real concern. Standard humidifiers may not clean dust from the air, but some units can humidify, control temperature, and keep dust levels at a minimum. This begins with the fogging or misting process. By creating an ultra-fine mist, the air can be cooled by 30 degrees or more and tiny water droplets absorb even tinier particles of dust and pollutants.
Fogco has a wide variety of standard and customizable products that are designed to provide significant benefits to your paper or printing environment. We also provide free design services to help you with your humidity, temperature, and dust control issues. Contact Fogco online today or call us at 800-607-6478 to learn more.