It is invisible but can reach out and bite you in more than one way. Static electricity can cause issues in your labeling and it is not always obvious that it is the issue. Static tends to be worse in the colder months when the humidity is low but can be an issue year round when dealing with plastic based labels or substrates.
One example that came up recently was a label being machine applied to a Styrofoam cube. The customer noted that the tamp pad would stop just above the product as it is supposed to and then would attempt to blow the label onto the product. But instead of going on the product, the label would squirt off to the side. The assumption by the customer was that there was an adhesive issue with the labels, but when that was tested, it was found that the label stuck well to the foam cube. The issue was the layer of static electricity between the label on the tamp pad and the Styrofoam product.
Another issue that static can cause is the ribbon in the printer wanting to stay on the label or the label wanting to stay on the ribbon after printing. When cutting and stacking labels, particularly synthetic labels there can be issues with stacking due to static. Finally, fan folded synthetic tags can have “shocking” results when you pick up the pile of printed product. The potential for static shocks, while not dangerous, can be the most annoying thing about static issues.
So, what can be done? Humidity in the air is the biggest help but can be impossible to control. Wearing shoes that have static dissipative properties and avoiding synthetic clothes can help. A static spray or clothes dryer sheets sprayed or rubbed on the equipment can be of benefit. Ensuring that your printer is plugged into a properly grounded plug is key, the newer printers from Zebra have a static strip built into the printer.
As always, emptechgroup.com is the place to go for all your label printing needs.