Digital printing has seen massive growth in recent years, accompanying the explosion of other digital industries. That growth is expected to continue, placing a greater demand on suppliers and printing services. In particular, those companies that provide large scale digital printing services are overtaxing their equipment to keep up with the demand. That might have once meant risking machine failures and costly downtime, but the tech industry has provided a range of solutions for every budget.
Heat and Friction Create a Printing Nightmare
Any machine generates heat, when its individual components interact and cause friction. This is especially problematic in printing machines, because that reaction causes the inks to be heated and more heat to be transferred to the paper. If allowed to continue, the heat these machines generate can cause the inks to become runny and they will lose their quality, during the printing process. The paper, as well, may become warped and will affect the quality of the printing.
When it becomes possible to introduce a cooling effect, the process can be significantly improved. In addition to improving the overall quality of each printing, the wear and tear on the machines can be reduced. This means the machines and their components will last longer, before it becomes necessary to make repairs or replace machine parts.
The reason that heat reduces the quality of a printing is partly because it causes the moisture in the paper to evaporate. There’s a balance of moisture between that which is in the paper and that which exists in the surrounding environment. When heat causes that moisture to evaporate, the way the ink settles on the paper can be affected. Paper that’s too dry may also create paper jams, unwanted increases to the fuser roller temperature, and problems with toner adhesion.
The Best Options for Keeping Your Printing Equipment Cool
Fans and Air Conditioners – This may be the cheapest way for cooling your printing environment. In addition to helping to keep the machines cool, fans can also help by blowing the fumes from chemicals away from the work area. Each machine may also be equipped with a fan of its own, much like a computer, which helps to keep the internal components from overheating.
Exhaust Systems – Usually, this is a system you will have to have installed separately. The heat generated by the machines will be forced out and sent along a shaft. The heat is ultimately pushed outside through a vent. Some printing machine manufacturers sell ventilation systems especially designed for their machines.
Industrial Chillers – These machines may represent the best option, because they’re designed to apply a cooling effect directly to the printing machine components. In addition to removing the heat caused by friction, these machines also cool the paper, after it has been printed. By cooling the machines and paper throughout the process, an industrial chiller can keep temperatures regulated, which boosts productivity and reduces the time it takes to complete printing jobs.
The machine works by cooling process fluids, such as water or water mixed with glycol, and sends those fluids through the machine components. As the process fluids interact with the machine, the roller and other parts are cooled. The inks and paper are kept cool, as well. As the heat is absorbed into the fluids, they’re recirculated to the chiller to be cooled over again. Since the process fluids are reusable, the initial investment in the machine is often the only cost associated with its operation. This can make it as cost-effective as it is beneficial to the printing process.
Whatever option you choose to employ, the major concern is that you find some way of keeping your printing equipment and supplies cool. Otherwise, the growth of your business may be limited by overheated machines and subpar printing quality. Making an investment in cooling processes can help you stay competitive in a global marketplace, so your printing business can meet the demands that will continue to grow for quality digital printing services.