Why Wood Processing Needs Humidity Control, Not Just Temperature Control

If you’ve ever lived in a house with wooden doors and doorframes (and we’re going to presume you have), you probably know how much temperature can impact wood. When it gets cold, wood tends to swell, and when it’s warm out, it shrinks back. But did you know that it’s not really anything to do with temperature at all – but humidity?

 

 

Wood And Humidity

 

Let’s start with the basics. Wood is a natural substance, very common building material and attractive medium for building furniture, decorations and artwork in. Almost every home in the country will have wood in it somewhere, in some form or another.

 

But wood is a hygroscopic material, which means its internal moisture content will fluctuate based on the relative humidity (or rh) or the surrounding air. This means that as the humidity increases, the moisture content increases, and the wood expands. When the humidity drops, the moisture content decreases and the wood shrinks. This is why your wooden doors and doorframes might fit differently at different times of the year. During the winter the moisture content in the air is high, and so the wood in your home will swell. During the summer heat it’s low, and so it will shrink back down.

 

While this might seem like nothing worth writing home about for you, when it comes to manufacturing or processing anything to do with wood, it can present real problems.

 

 

Drying Wood

 

The manufacturing process of wood starts when the tree is felled, and already moisture and humidity control is a key factor. In a tree that’s just been felled the wood is ‘green’, and free water (otherwise known as sap) fills the cavities. This free water accounts for around 72% of the total moisture content of the tree, depending on the species. The remaining 28% of water volume is within the wood fibres, saturating the cell walls. This is called bound water, and it’s what causes the fibres to swell – just like a sponge swells when you get it wet.

 

As the green wood dries, the free water evaporates first, and then the bound water. The shape and size of the wood generally won’t change (this is called being ‘dimensionally stable) as it loses the free water, but as soon as the bound water starts to evaporate it will contract and shrink. Generally wood will dry to a moisture content of between 4%-11%, but it never really comes to a rest. The amount of bound water in the wood will continually change with the amount of water in the surrounding atmosphere, gaining or losing about 1% of moisture content for every 5% change in relative humidity. So for wood manufacturers the key is to try to create a stable environment so the product changes as little as possible during creation.

 

 

Why Control Humidity In Wood Manufacturing And Processing?

 

So the first, and maybe most obvious reason you would want to control humidity within wood manufacturing, is to create a stable, repeatable product without imperfections. Creating that perfect, controlled environment with the right level of rh has a huge impact on the final product, so humidity solutions can help you to create higher-quality results with minimal investment.

 

Not only that, but dry air can result in the wood textile fibres becoming fragile and breaking as they run through looms, causing massive delays to manufacturers who need to continuously repair machines. Dry air also creates something called micro-dust ‘flocks’, which are formed from the dust particles of the wood clumping together. These can get caught in machinery and looms and cause significant damage.

 

Humidity control addresses every single one of these issues, creating the perfect environment for wood processing, manufacturing and treatment. This is one of the reasons humidity control is such an important issue for wood and timber manufacturing plants. At Humidity Solutions we provide a range of solutions to solve all of these problems and keep plants working at optimum. If you would like to know more, read out our timber and wood processing solutions here or get in touch with the team today.

 

Solving Humidity Issues In Manufacturing

As seasons change and temperatures begin to vary from day to day (don’t you love British weather?), manufacturing facilities, processing plants and other manufacturers may notice their HVAC system alternating between heating and cooling, sometimes on an hourly basis. But even with the best in-house climate control system, temperature swings can create unique issues for manufacturing facilities in terms of humidity. In order to keep their plants working as normal and prevent delays, they need to control the humidity variables properly.

 

 

Common Issues Caused By Humidity

 

Manufacturing is a delicate process, often with a lot of tight specifications to work to. But depending on what is being manufactured, a lot of the issues faced will depend on their individual specialisms. For example:

 

  • Machine shops will often suffer, particularly during big swings in outdoor humidity. The build-up on indoor moisture can cause condensation on equipment, wet floors and saturated electrical panels – all of which are an accident waiting to happen.

 

  • Plastic injection moulding machinery is often water-cooled. Any moisture forming on the machines can result in product discolouration.

 

  • Printing facilities can suffer from paper wrinkling, shrinking or expanding, all of which cause ink registration problems.

 

  • Drying cycles, or more specifically any product that requires a specific drying cycle during the manufacturing process. Examples include plants that manufacture or store dry foods like spices, cereal and candy, or producers of recycled rubber mulch. If air moisture levels are too high, drying times can be longer than needed, slowing production, losing productivity and increasing energy consumption. Dry food packaging plants also risk compromising food quality if a consistent indoor environment is not properly maintained.

 

But overall, the main issue for manufacturing is keeping the excess moisture in the air at a minimum so that it doesn’t interfere with the final product. If it does, it can cost manufacturing companies thousands in ruined merchandise and work.

 

All of these small issues can quickly snowball into big problems for manufacturers on tight deadlines. So rather than wait for these issues to come about, they need to install a humidity solution to prevent them.

 

 

Solving Humidity Problems

 

So how can manufacturing plants ensure that their processes aren’t disturbed by fluctuations in humidity? First, ensuring the premises is properly sealed with a vapour barrier in the walls and ceilings. This step prevents moisture and humidity from seeping into your building.

 

The next, and perhaps most important step is to get a dehumidification system installed to control the humidity levels at all times. Depending on what is being manufactured, the level you need to keep the humidity at will vary, so an expert will be able to design a custom system to meet those requirements. They will also be able to ensure all air introduced into the manufacturing space is properly treated, with air run through the humidification system to remove excess moisture before it enters the building.

 

Ideal dehumidification solutions will allow for a perfect energy balance; by focusing on air extraction, heat transfer, maximum relative humidity in each season, temperature inside the building, and level of humidity caused by production, you can craft a customized dehumidification system for your unique needs.

 

 

At Humidity Solutions we offer a variety of humidification and dehumidification equipment and solutions, all tailor made to suit your company’s needs. We specialise in humidity solutions for industrial manufacturing, commercial, food & beverage, health & leisure, conservation, and even residential solutions. With our help, you can simply and effectively alter the air quality, temperature and humidity of your environment to achieve optimum comfort. For more information on our solutions, or to ask us about humidity control in your organisation, just get in touch with the team at Humidity Solutions today.

 

Lithium Battery Manufacturing – Why Is Humidity Important?

There are plenty of examples we could give of mainstream product manufacturing or use that are obvious candidates for humidity solutions. Pharmaceuticals, food and even IT equipment to name a few. But what if we told you that sometimes it’s the least obvious areas of the industry that require the most support, and it’s one of those we want to talk about today. The manufacturing of the simple lithium battery, like the ones you would put in your TV remote, takes place in ultra-low humidity dry rooms, from small R&D labs for newer models all the way through to large scale mass production facilities. But why is this, and what would happen if the humidity wasn’t right?

 

 

Changing Technology

 

Like many things in the modern world, lithium battery technology is changing all the time, and in quite dramatic ways. New materials and chemical reactions are being tested every day, all in the name of reducing costs and meeting the ever-growing demand. But in order to be done efficiently and safely, it’s important that these tests be done in a specially designed, ultra-low humidity dry rooms. This is primarily because of the chemical reactions that can happen if they aren’t.

 

 

Chemical Reactions

 

Whenever you’re working with chemicals the environment you work in must be very carefully considered. With batteries, you have chemical components like lithium-ion, lithium iron phosphate, graphene and more, which means you need a stable environment with less than 1% humidity, as these particularly chemicals are highly sensitive to moisture.

 

Here’s where it gets scientific. A reaction between lithium and water is exothermic, which means it generates heat, and produces a substance called lithium hydroxide, along with hydrogen. The heat from that reaction can, if left unchecked, potentially lead to burning or an explosion. In order to minimize this risk manufacturers need to minimize the water content in the air at all times, maintaining an ultra-ow humidity environment.

 

On top of the safety concerns, keeping air moisture levels low is necessary to help achieve high levels of product yield, better quality control, energy efficiency, cycle life and even end storage capacity for every batter produced in the plant. In short, it might be the single most important element in creating a manufacturing space for lithium batteries.

 

 

Dry Room Applications

 

When we look at this kind of installation ‘known as a dry room’, the applications are actually much wider than just lithium batteries – all it takes is a unique angle. With the advent of consumer electronics, electric vehicles, solar power and grid storage applications, there is a huge variety of battery production processes, each using a unique chemical process and needing its own environmental controls.

This means that as well as the chemistry side of things, a lot of other things factor in to deciding what the dehumidification capacity needed for a dry room. The dehumidification system must be custom designed with enough drying capacity to be able to maintain the dry room at the specified condition.  Most battery manufacturers require that a room’s humidity/average moisture level be maintained as low as -40°C dew point (0.5% Relative Humidity at 72°F) and sometimes even lower. Some of the factors that need to be taken into account include:

 

  • Dry room size
  • Type of chemistry and process
  • Moisture infiltration
  • Personnel activity within the room
  • Airlocks for material and personnel movement

 

 

And that’s just the beginning. All of that means that it is very difficult to find a single solution that can address all of these issues, falls within budget and is reliable enough to stand up to the rigorous safety standards required by the industry.

 

At Humidity Solutions we love a challenge like this. Because we produce bespoke solutions, we can design a dehumidification system that can address every single one of your concerns without having to buy multiple systems from multiple places. Instead, we are your one stop shop for dehumidification and environmental control, ensuring you have the perfect environment for lithium and other kinds of battery manufacturing. If you would like to know more, just get in touch with us today.

 

6 Questions To Ask When Designing Your Humidity Solution

You might think that when it comes to humidity solutions, it’s all out of the box machines installed into different buildings. Sure, there are some complications, but mostly it’s pretty straightforward, right?

Wrong.

At Humidity Solutions, every single one of our installations has been custom designed to meet client requirements. Depending on what type of business they are, their location, the products or services they are providing, and even the type of building they’re in. Each element needs to be painstakingly planned to match the needs of the client, which is why we ask so many questions before we put pen to paper. To help you understand what kind of humidity solution you might need, and how we work that our, we’ve pulled together some of the questions we ask our customers when designing the specs for their humidification systems.

 

  1. What Level Of Humidity Is Required, And How Much Can It Fluctuate?

This is perhaps the most important question we ask, since different uses will need different levels of humidity control. For example, if we’re fitting a HVAC system for an office environment, then humidity levels between 40% and 60% relative humidity are perfectly fine – since this will keep people comfortable and keep static build-up down. But if we were looking at a manufacturing plant, then the level of humidity required would probably be much more specific, with much less room for fluctuation. For instance, printers need to control their relative humidity to between 50% and 60%, while textile manufacturers require 65%-75% for optimum performance. An ideal museum environment is between 45%-55% RH, but with a daily fluctuation limit of +3 to protect exhibits. Pharmaceutical manufacturers need to keep fluctuations even tighter, around +2, to prevent wasted product. By understanding the level of humidification and fluctuations you need, we can spec a system that has higher or lower speed responses, or tighter controls.

 

  1. How Long Will The System Be Running, And When Can It Be Shut Down

Some humidification solutions will only need to be run during set times of the day, like production times, while others will need to be running 24/7. This simple fact will change the number of humidifiers you need, along with where they are placed and what type they are. A critical humidification that needs to be constantly delivering a stable level of humidity needs to be able to cope with long running times, and must have standby humidifiers to take over the load when the main unit needs to be shut down for maintenance.

 

 

  1. How Important Are Running Costs?

There are many different types of humidifier, all of which incur different running costs, so understanding your budget and your environmental influences is important when choosing the right system for you. For example, some steam systems can use considerably more energy than more efficient evaporative humidifiers, and cost more in maintenance and spare parts. So while the purchase cost for a steam system might be lower, the ongoing costs can be higher, which should be factored into your decision.

 

  1. What Quality Water Is Being Used?

 

When it comes to humidity, water quality and maintenance requirements are heavily linked. Poorer water quality leads to more minerals being left behind in the humidifier once the water has boiled or evaporated, which in turn costs more to deal with. So if you are in an area with low-quality water, then a water treatment solution might also need to be included in the design.

 

  1. What Evaporation Distance Is Required?

 

For humidifiers providing moisture to ducts or to AHU systems, the humidifier needs to be able to evaporate the moisture into the air stream before it meets any physical obstacles, like duct corners. If it doesn’t, there will be a build-up of condensation in pipes, and this can cause its own set of problems. Depending on the distance evaporation is needed to travel, you may need to have specialist steam lances installed, or opt for a humidifier model with instant evaporation.

 

  1. Where Do The Humidifiers Need To Be?

The positioning of the humidifiers within your building is also an important factor in deciding the spec. After all, you might find that not all areas of your building need humidity solutions, or if they do, they have different requirements. You may have an office space on an upper level of the building that requires one RH level, and a manufacturing plant on the lower flows that require another. This means the placement of your humidifiers will also change the solution chosen, and how it’s installed.

 

At Humidity Solutions we offer a variety of humidification and dehumidification equipment and solutions, all tailor made to suit your company’s needs. We specialise in humidity solutions for industrial manufacturing, commercial, food & beverage, health & leisure, conservation, and even residential solutions. With our help, you can simply and effectively alter the air quality, temperature and humidity of your environment to achieve optimum comfort. For more information on our solutions, or to ask us about humidity control in your organisation, just get in touch with the team at Humidity Solutions today.

The Role Of Humidity In Indoor Air Quality

We all know that humidity is vaporized water in the air. Relative humidity refers to the percentage of water vapor in the air at a given temperature, compared with water vapor that the air is capable of holding at that temperature. When the air at a certain temperature has all the water vapor it can hold at that temperature, the relative humidity is said to be 100%. When the relative humidity of a place is too high or too low, it can cause health problems, discomfort and generally less hygienic atmosphere. This is called ‘low air quality’, and it’s a problem for many office spaces across the UK.

 

Why Is Indoor Air Quality Important?

An average employee will probably spend around 90% of their time indoors, and 38% of that will be spent sitting in your office space. All that time, they are breathing in air that other people are breathing, that fluctuates in heat and humidity, and that may even have to be plumbed in if there are no openable windows or ventilation. A lot of business owners out there will probably be wondering why this matters. After all, it’s the same wherever you go – especially in office-based businesses.

But poor air quality has a pretty big knock-on effect on both employee health and productivity. For example, pollutants in the indoor environment can cause chronic illness (such as higher levels of CO2), low humidity can cause dry eyes and sore throats, and poorly filtered air can cause allergic reactions. General low air quality has been known to cause headaches, physical fatigue, sinus infections, respiratory issues and a general lack of concentration among employees. All of that adds up to a higher rate of absenteeism for the workforce, and a much lower level of productivity when they are present. The research has shown time and time again the links between air quality, work performance and health, yet many office users are still unaware of the issue.

 

Humidity Levels In Offices

If you want to improve the health and productivity of your workforce, you need to create an environment that is healthy and comfortable for them to work in. A lot of this has to do with the levels of humidity in their air around them, and how they change over time.

In general, the human body is most comfortable when the relative humidity of the room ranges between 20% and 60%. The recommended average relative humidity for an indoor area is around 30-50%, when the outside temperature anything above 0.  If your rH goes above 60%, you will start to get mould and mildew forming, which creates its own range of health problems for your employees.

Similarly, if your rH goes below 30%, you are open to more health risks. For example, rH of 30% or lower can cause static electricity problems, irritations of the skin, dry eyes and drying out of the mucous membrane, which leads to upper respiratory illnesses among staff.

The key thing to remember about relative humidity is the word relative – meaning it can change over time. As the weather gets warmer or colder, you need to adjust your humidity solutions to keep the environment at a comfortable level.

 

Ways To Improve Your Air Quality

As we’ve already learned, the best way to improve your health is to improve the quality of the air you’re breathing. Since the average UK adult will spend approximately 13 years and 2 months of their life at work, ensuring high-quality air in the workplace is crucial. So, here are a few things you can do to improve the quality of your indoor air:

·  Open your windows so that they provide cross ventilation. This will also reduce moisture and odours that tend to hang around in offices – particularly kitchens.

 

·  Replace your air filters regularly. If your filters are clogged, air flow becomes non-existent, and dust and debris will build up in the air ducts, causing problems down the line.

 

·  Introduce some office plants. Plants are biological air purifiers, and have been proven to improve the air quality in homes and offices. So the more greenery – the better!

 

·  Have your air quality tested. Experts in air quality (like us) have the right tools and know-how to measure the air quality in your office, from air flow to humidity levels, ventilation and more. So they will be able to tell you exactly what you need to do to improve your air quality.

 

·  Install a humidity control solution. Humidity control is the biggest factor in indoor air quality, and it is easily solved with the right solution. It’s a simple way to ensure your office stays at a consistent and beneficial RH level, preventing dry eyes, sore throats and reducing the spread of airborne viruses.

 

At Humidity Solutions, we specialise in providing humidity control solutions for all sorts of commercial environments, from printing rooms to chemical labs, office spaces and meeting rooms. We work closely with you to identify your needs and create a bespoke solution to fit them. We don’t believe in ‘off the shelf’ – just as no two businesses are the same, neither are out solutions. What you get will help you achieve your goals and improve your air quality, in the way you need it most. To find out more, get in touch with the team today.

It’s Time To Standardise Workplace Air Quality

Over the last 5-10 years, people have been working indoors a lot more, for longer periods of time, and spending less time outdoors. This change in behaviour has had a knock-on effect on a lot of things, from our overall activity levels to vitamin D deficiency becoming much more common. But one of the things most people don’t realise is that the quality of the air we breathe when we’re at work for 9 hours a day can have a real impact on our concentration, our productivity and our health. We spend 90% of our time indoors at work, so the impact of poor air quality is pretty severe. Which is why we ‘re amazed that there is still no legislation out there setting an acceptable Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) standard for the workplace.

 

Gradual Decline In Air Quality

Innovation and new technologies are great things, but when they are at the cost of our environment, you have to start asking some questions. Our cities are becoming increasingly polluted by with car fumes, airborne industrial waste and even particles from log burners. All of that heavily polluted air is then being pulled into our buildings through windows, doors and ‘fresh air’ ventilation systems. Some of that air is filtered, but since there is no standard requirement for the level of filtration, there is no way to tell. And with most air conditioning units being used for temperature control instead of air quality, a lot of employees are spending 90% of their time in a workplace with substandard air quality. That might not seem like a major issue, but breathing low-quality air day in, day out can have some pretty negative effects.

 

The Unseen Effects Of Bad Air Quality

Bad air quality doesn’t just make you cough – the impact is far more widespread than that. For example, having a low relative humidity (below 40%) environment increases the lifespan of airborne pathogens, helping them stay suspended in the air for longer and travel further, spreading infection throughout the workplace. Viruses such as influenza and norovirus survive longer at an RH of 20- 30%, whilst a mid-range RH between 40% and 70% will minimise their survival. Tests also indicate the infectivity of the influenza virus is increased by both low and very high RH, with minimum infectivity at 50% RH. RH has been shown to have a similar effect on airborne bacteria, with intermediate RH levels increasing the mortality rate of airborne pneumococci, streptococci and staphylococci. RH below 40% will also make people feel cold, leading to a rise in heating bills, a wide range of health problems and increased absenteeism.

But, you can’t have your RH too high either. Above 60%, people will start to feel uncomfortable and out of proportion with the actual indoor temperature. This will make people a bit edgy, sweaty and generally unable to focus. This causes people to turn on air conditioning or comfort cooling, sending energy costs through the roof. High humidity also encourages mould growth and condensation, which at best is a temporary slip hazard and at worst can create mildew, mould and all of the associated health-related problems for your employees.

 

Lack Of Regulation

At the moment there is no specific legislation around air quality in general workplaces. However, a lot of organisations have started to realise the impact air quality can have on employees, and so have been recommending a RH of 40-60% in all commercial workplaces as a standard. These organisations include:

  • Humidity Group Of The Hevac Association
  • The World Health Organisation
  • The National Association Of Optometrists

It’s also the range recommended by BS EN 29241 as the optimum for visual display terminals. Not only that, but these organisations have also recognised the importance of good RH control in office environments, and how much it contributes both to the thermal comfort of employees and the indoor air quality of the workplace.

At Humidity Solutions, we believe that the main barrier to properly addressing these IAQ issues is commercial. We seem to shy away from setting coordinated regulated standards to ensure excellent IAQ as this would result in extra investment in plant and slightly higher running costs due to higher maintenance requirements. Really, what we should be considering as an industry, employers, employees and society as a whole is whether improving IAQ to underpin improved health and wellbeing is worth that investment. Of course, we believe it is. If you would like to find out more about how to improve IAQ in your workplace, just get in touch with us today.

Creating The Ideal Conditions For Hot Yoga

Over the last few years hot yoga has grown in popularity, transforming from a single practice called Bikram Yoga dating back to the 1970s into a worldwide fitness trend. The idea is simple. You do yoga, but in a warm and humid environment. This is designed to make you sweat a lot, detoxifies your skin and burnsmore calories than in a dry heat environment. In fact, it was created to replicate the heat and humidity of India, the birthplace of yoga. But unlike traditional yoga, which can be practisedpretty much anywhere, hot yoga requires strict control over the temperature and humidity of the environment. So today, we’re going to explain how you can create the ideal conditions for hot yoga.

 

Why Are Humidity And Temperature Important In Hot Yoga

Unlike traditional yoga, which can be practisedpretty much anywhere, hot yoga requires strict control over the temperature and humidity of the environment. Typically, a hot yoga studio needs to be able to maintain a temperature of around 35°C to 42°C, with a relative humidity (RH) of at least 40% at all times. The humidity level is particularly important, because at 40% RH any perspiration won’t evaporate as quickly, so the body isn’t being cooled by the evaporation process, increasing the amount of healthy sweating. Increasing the heat keeps the body warm, which makes stretching more effective and prevents injuries. By getting the balance just right, you can get a fantastic and effective workout.

 

The Relationship Between Humidity And Temperature

The relationship between humidity and temperature is quite complicated, and there isn’t quite enough time to explain it all in detail in one blog post. But if we boil it down to basics, the most important thing to know is that when air from outside is heated, it’s relative humidity falls. This means that if you’re pumping fresh air into a hot yoga studio that’s been heated to the required temperature, then it won’t have the moisture needed to create that nice humid environment. Instead, you need to add in extra moisture to restore the balance and get the RH up to 40%. For a commercial studio, this means a lot of water that needs to be evaporated as well, which is why hot yoga studios need to have an industrial humidifier solution in place. A domestic humidifier simply isn’t up to the task.

 

Choosing The Right Humidifier Solution

Fortunately, there are lots of humidification solutions out there that can create the ideal climate for hot yoga. From humidifiers that use heat to generate steam through to high-pressure nozzle systems that spray cold water into the air as a fine mist, so that it evaporates instantly. Combine these with a range of heating solutions (including gas, electric, warm air or even infra-red radiant panels), and you can manage and tweak your environment to the degree. The only thing to bear in mind when choosing a solution is to make sure it suits the size of your studio, the nature of the building, the utilities available and space available for the humidification equipment. Often the best solution is an all-in-one unit, which is specifically designed for hot yoga studios to combine heating, humidification and air filtration, with an extra option for heat recovery. But of course, that’s just one option – and with our specialist design service, you can have a bespoke solution created to suit your needs.

Whatever solution you go for, we recommend you get in touchwith a specialist in the field who can help you develop a specification for the required temperature and humidity levels while taking into account all of the design issues that can crop up. We’ve even written a guide – ‘Hot Studio Design: Humidity and Heat’,to help you choose the right solution for your studio. To request your copy, just email info@humiditysolutions.co.uk.

Protecting Print With Humidity Control

Printing presses are fickle things. So is finishing equipment, cutting equipment, and all the other equipment that a printing company uses on a daily basis to provide their services. This equipment can be very sensitive to changes in temperature, humidity and atmospheric pressure. The problem is, printing companies have invested a lot of money in their equipment and paper stock, and the last thing they want is for it to be ruined by humidity. A good print company will be willing to invest slightly more to ensure the long life and efficiency of that print equipment, whether it’s digital or litho.

Without some sort of humidity control, machines and paper stock are exposed to uncontrolled environments where the climate could change on an hourly basis. Low humidity can draw moisture from paper causing curling and tight edges. High humidity will affect the performance of both paper and machines. But a stable humidity reduces static and improves the dimensional stability of the paper – creating a seamless and consistent print environment. It’s so important that press manufacturers actually require effective humidity control to maintain effective performance of their equipment, and detail the exact levels you should be maintaining in the operating manuals.

So, how can printing companies control their print environment to get the best out of their machinery, equipment and people?

 

Air Quality

Just as importantly, humidity is a big contributor to indoor air quality. Poor air quality can lead to illness in staff, a lack of productivity and a much higher rate of absenteeism and employee turnover. To give you an example – low humidity (which is the most common problem in the UK) can make your eyes itchy (particularly for contact lens wearers), dry out your respiratory surfaces and dehydrate your body. Drying out the mucous membranes in your body also means you can’t fight off airborne infections like colds and the flu as effectively, so you’re more likely to catch bugs. On top of that, if your environment has a relative humidity of under 40% then you will feel a lot colder than it actually is. Your natural response will be to turn up the heating, increasing energy consumption and lowering the humidity even further, creating a cyclical problem.

 

Tailored Approach

Here’s the thing – no two print environments are the same. So no two solutions should be the same either. It’s important to make sure that the humidity solution you put in place is tailored to the conditions of the building and the types of machinery being used – which requires a specialist. At Humidity Solutions, we don’t believe in a ‘one size fits all’ approach. Instead, each project is evaluated against a number of key criteria, so that the best solution is identified from all options available on the market.

 

Ideal Options

So what’s the ideal solution? Well, for litho, large digital and web-based printers, a high-pressure system is perfect. High-pressure systems inject water into the air under pressure through a multi-directional, fan assisted set of nozzles. The pressure helps ensure the water is atomised and absorbed rapidly and evenly into the air within 1.5 metres of the nozzle. The systems can be used with ceiling heights as low as 2.4 meters, with nozzle fan heads around the same size as a CCTV camera, so they are unobtrusive and can slot into any print environment. They can also be controlled by zones or individually, helping control the rate of humidification for each unique space from one control panel.

 

A key benefit of this approach is that it uses cold water, so no additional heat energy is required to run it. The absorption into the air (adiabatic humidification) also has a free cooling effect, which reduces the load on comfort cooling systems and helps them run more efficiently. For every 500 litres of water that’s evaporated the system provides around 34 kW of cooling for a power input of just 4kW. High-pressure systems have been successfully installed in many renowned web press publishing houses including the New York Times, News International, and the Daily Mail.

 

For smaller, digital print rooms Humidity Solutions have designed a bespoke unit – the Eiger.  It provides temperature and humidity control plus air filtration, air movement and fresh air from a single unit to ensure conditions remain in the Quality zone for optimum machine speeds and print quality.

 

So Why Is Humidity Control Important?

It’s not just important, it’s an essential part of the printing process, and all press manufacturers require humidity control to ensure the effective performance of their equipment. Print halls are rarely seen without humidity controls in the rest of Europe, and now the UK is catching up with the benefits of humidity control and its implementation. It’s also worth noting that it’s not an overly expensive solution to implement – despite what you might think. And besides, compared to the cost of under-performing machines, constantly re-buying equipment and high staff turnover, it’s the cheapest solution you will ever implement.

 

At Humidity Solutions, we provide effective humidity control solutions for all shapes and sizes of print company, from small independent units to large-scale print houses. Your solutions will be tailored to your needs, so you can be sure your RH and infection are being managed and controlled effectively. For more information on our solutions, or to ask us about print control in your organisation, just get in touch with the teamat Humidity Solutions today.

John Barker has published a guide to designing climate control systems for print: ‘Humidity and Temperature Control for Print’. To receive a free electronic copy of this book, please visit our website www.humiditysolutions.co.ukor use the following direct link: https://www.humiditysolutions.co.uk/humidity-solutions-print-book-form/