UK-based Innovia Films, a producer of BOPP films with production sites in Australia, Belgium, Mexico and the UK, has installed a series of Meech 935 long-range blowers, which remove static from the BOPP film as it winds on Innovia’s slitter rewinders. The blowers ensure that the film lies smoothly on the reel, has a clear and untainted finish, and does not pose a hazard to operators.
Innovia adds highly specialized surface coatings and metallized finishes to its products according to customer requirements. Thesefilms are typically sold to converters, brand owners and end users across the globe. They become part of the packaging, labeling or overwrap solution for some of the world’s best-known brands across a wide variety of everyday consumer goods, including chocolates, perfume, teabags, shampoo, cigarettes, soft drinks and biscuits.
As part of its manufacturing practices, slitter rewinders take prominent place in Innovia’s Wigton-based factory. The rolls of BOPP film are processed on the rewind of the 3-meter machines, but during the winding process into a full reel, static can be generated on the film’s surface. ‘Polypropylene readily generates static throughout our process – elimination of this is essential,’ said Neville Cox, engineering maintenance manager at Innovia Films. ‘Without eliminating the static charge, the rolls of film can prove hazardous during later processing. What’s more, the film may not lay smoothly onto the reel, resulting in ribbing and other effects on its surface.’
These impressions on the BOPP film could remain once the reel is unwound, impacting on final product appearance and leading to product rejection, increasing wastage and downtime. ‘If the ribbing is severe, tightly wound rolls can experience shrinkage, which often means they need to be disposed of,’ continued Cox. ‘In other cases, rolls need to be unwound and then rewound again but at slower than normal speeds, causing costly delays.’
To counter the generation of static on the BOPP film, Innovia relies on Meech’s 935 long range blowers – 20 of which are currently in place in its Wigton factory. The blowers are mounted on the floor facing up towards the nip of the reel, neutralizing both sides of the film as it rewinds into a full reel. This prevents ribbing and other effects that hamper its ability to form a neat and uniform roll.
Easy to integrate, the 935 blower provides powerful, high volume, effective long-range ionization over a large target area. This is ideal for Innovia’s BOPP film production, as it is vital that the moving turrets on its slitter rewinders are not impeded by surrounding equipment.
‘The Meech 935 long range blowers have been very useful in eliminating static at the crucial point of winding – when our polypropylene films are made into rolls,’ continued Cox. ‘We first invested in the blowers in 2011 and since then, we have not encountered any alternative system that offers the long-range elimination required for our automatic wind-up turrets.
‘Any solution must be able to provide ionization from a sufficient distance so it does not impact on the moving turrets. Meech’s 935 blowers offer just that.’
Adam Battrick, sales director at Meech Static Eliminators, said: ‘Innovia Film’s specialized BOPP product, crucial to many sectors, must be produced so it safe to handle and won’t impede on the finished product’s appearance. The use of Meech’s 935 blowers has proved the perfect solution for Innovia to get around the awkward issue of installing static elimination equipment next to moving parts, in small spaces, whilst reducing hazards to workers and wastage of its products.’