With increased usage of recycled materials and "less than clean" substrates, converters and packagers find an increase in defects, and process downtime, due to dirt and contamination. There are numerous solutions for dealing with this contamination, all with varying degrees of success. The converting and packaging industry, as a whole, has very little quantifiable data to determine success with regard to cleaning. The general consensus is that if the customer does not complain, then the product is clean enough. Manufacturer's measure success based on the number of customer complaints versus actual metrics of particle counts and print defects.
Customers generally view all web cleaning methods as equally effective, but this is not reality. In this paper we will explore different types of web cleaners, the best application for each type and selection criteria for choosing the best solution for a given set of parameters.
General web cleaning concepts have changed very little in the last 30 years. However, the design, selection and implementation practices based on process specifications and experience has furthered the effectiveness of web cleaning.