17 March 2022
Harrier Group, a leading UK digital printing firm, has invested in four Condair RS restive steam humidifiers to maintain the perfect production environment in its high-tech print room.
The Condair RS humidifiers were specified by contractor Brothwell Irvine, who were commissioned to develop a new inkjet print room at Harrier’s Newton Abbot site in Devon. Accurate humidity control maintains the integrity of the paper being used. If the atmosphere is too dry, paper can develop tight edges and curl at the corners, whilst too much moisture in the air can cause paper to become wavy as it absorbs water. Any dimensional change can result in print issues, as the machines run at such high speed. This is especially critical as the inkjet printer at Harrier’s site is running at high volumes 24-hours a day.
Harrier’s health, safety and facilities manager, Jeremy Rawley, says the units installed in the new room are maintaining the vital humidity levels required of between 40% and 60%. He also points out that speed of delivery and local after-sales service were key factors in choosing Condair, which he describes as a world leader in that type of equipment.
He said: “We already knew the company, as we have a couple of their units in other print rooms. The quality of their equipment is right up there. Paper is susceptible to changes in environmental conditions so humidity is really important. Their service is second to none as well. We work to tough deadlines and one of the key things for us is that Condair could supply the equipment quickly within the required timescale. Having a local service engineer on call to maintain them in tip-top condition is important for us too.”
Paper is a hygroscopic material that adapts to reach a condition of equilibrium with the humidity conditions of the surrounding environment. Any changes in the paper‘s internal moisture content will cause dimensional variations and a loss of flatness. The Condair RS humidifiers monitor the room’s humidity level and provide steam directly to the atmosphere whenever needed. Each humidifier installed at Harrier is capable of delivering up to 8kg/h of steam from its integrated fan unit. Having multiple units installed in the large print room ensures very accurate humidity control, consistently across the complete area.
Harrier has printed photos from its Newton Abbot site for over 30 years and evolved from the UK’s biggest direct-to-consumer photo processing brand, Truprint. The company now prints photos for many of the UK’s most recognised high street stores and app-based printing services, delivering over ¾ billion photos per year.
Dave Marshall-George, sales director at Condair, said: “Humidity must be controlled in the printing industry for the best quality results. The Condair RS is a popular choice for digital print rooms, as it offers very accurate humidity control and has an innovative scale management system. When scale forms on the heating elements, as it will do in any steam humidifier, it breaks off and falls into a scale collector tank located at the bottom of the unit. This tank can be easily emptied, enabling the scale to be removed from the system, without the need for professional servicing.”