Hot Off The Press

Hot Off the Press

Don’t let summer heat and humidity impact your print productivity

Every printer knows there are no end to the factors that can impact on print quality and productivity. During the summer – heat and humidity are two elements that can’t be overlooked, as they can affect your substrates, ink, and even your printer itself – resulting in poor quality, productivity loss and even equipment issues. Luckily, we have some great tips on how you can minimize the impact of environmental conditions on your bottom-line.

In summer, the higher humidity means the air is “heavier” and this can affect the drop formation and jetting of the ink on digital equipment. This is true across all technologies – UV-curable, latex, solvent and eco-solvent. The end result can be poor print quality and potentially head issues. The ideal environment to insure best jetting performance is between 40-50% relative humidity.

High humidity can affect drying that can lead to smudging, spreading and transfer as it takes longer for the ink to dry. Dye-based products are also negatively affected by high humidity as it can cause the dye to separate within ink cartridges, leading to decreased print quality and color accuracy.

Humidity levels also can impact material handling as paper and plastic materials create static which result in handling issues – especially when auto-feeders are used.

The ideal solution is to have a climate-controlled production environment that allows both temperatures and humidity to be tightly controlled. If this is not an option – we recommend the use of a dehumidifier during the summer to keep humidity levels lower near the printing equipment. Using a hygrometer to measure humidity is strongly encouraged as is keeping a record of the conditions on a per shift basis (at a minimum).

The environmental conditions should always be managed regardless of the season but they are most crucial and potential impact is the greatest during the hot, humid days of summer.