How Are Books Made Today?

To understand the technology-driven, high speed, book manufacturing process of today, we first have to explore the history of book manufacturing through the ages.

According to Wikipedia: A book is a set of written, printed, illustrated, or blank sheets, made of ink, paper, parchment, or other materials, usually fastened together to hinge at one side. A single sheet within a book is called a leaf and each side of a leaf is called a page.

A Little Ancient History

The Ancient Greeks and the Romans have been long thought to be the first cultures to use available materials to write history. These materials include papyrus, parchment and paper. Parchment, made from animal skins, was the most durable and most expensive. While thin layers from the papyrus plant were cheaper, the material did not hold up very well over time. They absorbed too much moisture and were easily torn. Papyrus was the early material of choice for scrolls and biblical writings because they could be easily pasted together. Papyrus was flexible and could be rolled up for easy storage and preservation.

Who Invented Paper?

The Dead Sea Scrolls that were found in caves in the mid 1940’s were mostly written on parchment, but papyrus was also used. Paper, the least used material in the 1st and 2nd century, was actually invented and used by the Chinese in 140 BC by putting hemp waste in water and beating it to a pulp. From China, papermaking spread throughout Asia and became traditional material for books in Tibet. Around 610 AD, the Japanese used paper at Imperial Palace for official records, but when Buddhism was introduced shortly thereafter, the demand for paper for religious books grew. The spread of the Roman Empire along with the spread of Buddhism and other religions created a demand for books and faster ways to produce them.

Paper Gains Popularity in Europe

It wasn’t until 1450 that paper became the book material of choice in Europe. Now that the demands were there, how did they keep the pages together to make a book? While the process has changed, it is interesting to note that book making technology hasn’t changed all that much between the 15th century and the 20th century. After the sheets were written or printed, they were carefully hand cut and held together by a binding, which was basically created by sewing the cut pages onto leather cords. In the last step, the binding was laced onto a leather cover or decorative fabric to form a book.

How Are Books Made Today?

Today, the process starts with huge pulp and paper mills that create large rolls of paper that are wound onto a master roll that eventually go through automated slitting and sheeting equipment that reduce the paper to a usable format. Then, the properly sized sheets are printed, folded, collated, sewn, bound, stapled or glued and fabricated at high rates of speed. Machines that perform these tasks have replaced the labor intensive slow process of the old days. As line speeds increase, so do the static levels that cause jams and other process problems including poor print quality.

One of the products that we have are static bars, which are strategically placed on the equipment to control the static levels. Also, instead of the painstaking steady hand of ancient book makers to align the sheets to be bound, static generators impart a static electricity charge into the sheets to hold them together. This equipment is especially important in production of daily newspapers, weekly and monthly magazines as well as the Gideon Bible that is found in many hotel rooms.

Remember the Van de Graaff Generator?

The Van de Graaff generator was invented in 1929 by American physicist Robert J. Van de Graaff. That’s a great fact, but why did he invent such a contraption?

Flashback to Science Class 

Van de Graaff began experiments to find methods to accelerate particles at very high speeds in order to disintegrate atomic nuclei. We’ve all seen these generators with the aluminum dome on top of a long pole in science class, and if not, we’ve certainly heard about them. Is that what we were doing in science class? Trying to accelerate particles and not just create lightning?

When we were young, we thought it was cool to receive and give people static shocks. When belts made of silk rotate on small motors, they create friction, and therefore static electricity. The belts in proximity to the hollow metal domes are insulated from a ground reference. The charged metal domes can store enough energy to produce a visible discharge, but the current is typically very low. Table top versions of the Van de Graaff generator, as used in science experiments, can reach between 200,000 and 500,000 volts.

Time for a Field Trip? 

The largest Van de Graaff generator in the world, built by its inventor in 1930, is on permanent display at Boston’s Museum of Science. This 15-foot diameter sphere stands atop a 22-foot tall column and has the capability of generating 2,000,000 volts. Three or four times a day, the techs at the museum demonstrate how it works. As the generator reaches its peak, it produces sparks, lightning and makes hair stand up. The science techs stand inside the caged dome, which demonstrates lightning. Also, a 20 minute display teaches those in attendance about conductors, insulators, electricity, magnetism and storm safety.

The Dangers of Van de Graaff Generators

It is important to note that Van de Graaff machines, even the table top science lab units, can generate enough energy to stop a pacemaker and destroy sensitive electronic gadgets such as cell phones, laptops and personal computers. Make sure that during experimentation, precautions are taken to keep these devices away from the field of energy that is created by the generators. It is not recommended for children under the age of nine.
Static electricity is a threat that can cause many problems. A whole industry of static control equipment and materials has spawned from the ill effects of electrostatic fields and electrostatic discharge. If you have a static problem, please contact Static Clean and we will offer the best recommendations to keep you and your products safe.

Ions for Health

I received a call back in 1985 from a guy in South Dakota looking to buy an ion for his brother. I told him that you couldn’t buy just one ion, but that we have ionizers that produce millions of ions. He went on to say that his brother owns a bar and that the Board of Health was going to shut him down unless he put in an ionizer system to eat the smoke in a dungeon of a bar that had a low ceiling.

Even though warning labels appeared on cigarette packs back in the late 1960’s, it wasn’t until around 1985 that the understanding of the harm caused by secondhand smoke started to catch on. In 2000, states started taking measures to ban smoking in restaurants and bars. In fact, in 2002 Delaware was the first state to ban smoking in restaurants, bars and the workplace.

So what about our friend from South Dakota?

Besides the fact that the bar was like a dungeon with low ceilings, it had an inadequate heating, ventilation and cooling systems (HVAC). Even back in the 1980’s, people realized that ions help in the fight against not only smoke, but also odors and other airborne contaminants that impact health.

Today, ionization is a standard tool in the fight to improving indoor air quality. Ionizers are used in many gambling casinos where smoking is allowed. Ionizers are used not only to keep the cooling coils clean on the upstream side of the HVAC systems, but on the downstream side where air enters the gambling halls. The goal is to keep the players healthy.

Hospitals use ionization to fight outside diesel fuel that may enter through the air systems. Gymnasiums use them as a tool to fight odors just as nail salons do to rid the smell of noxious nail polish remover.

For years, boutique stores in major malls have sold single polarity, negative ion generators that claim to have health benefits. There were many who had their doubts about these products. Now, bi-polar ionizers are used in globally renowned institutions with the confidence that it really improves our everyday lives.

You can visit our site to see the Ionizing Blowers that we can provide for your business, whether it is for a casino or a smoking bar.

Cleanrooms: Controlled Environments

In a manufacturing environment, complete sterilization is more important than you might think.

A cleanroom is a controlled environment where products are manufactured, typically found in electronics, bio-pharmaceutical, medical device and pharmaceutical industries. Clean-rooms are planned and manufactured using strict protocols. Did you know that a particle 200 times smaller than a human hair could cause a major disaster in a cleanroom?

In order to keep that environment sterilized, contaminants that are developed due to people, processes, equipment or facilities need to be controlled to specific limits. Airborne contamination must be continually removed which impacts factors such as air flow rates, pressurization, temperature, humidity and filtration.

There are four principles which apply to the control of airborne contamination in cleanrooms, but we believe there should be a fifth principle added to that list.

The four recognized principles are:

  • Filtration: Cleanrooms need to be designed so that most of the contamination in the air is filtered out.
  • Dilution: Cleanrooms need to be supplied with a sufficient volume of fresh air at regular intervals so that any contamination generated by people working in the room is first diluted and then removed from the room. This is achieved by having a set number of air changes per hour. The minimum requirement is normally twenty air-changes per hour (that is the room air volume is replaced every three minutes).
  • Directional Air Flow: For ultra-clean activities undertaken in unidirectional airflow cabinets operating at EU and WHO Grade A (ISO class 5), the air needs to move in a straight direction so that any contamination generated within the area is removed. This is achieved by having the air enter at a high velocity (normally at 0.45 meters per second ±20%).
  • Air Movement: The air within a cleanroom needs to keep moving so that any contamination remains suspended in the air rather than being allowed to settle onto surfaces. This is achieved by having unidirectional or turbulent airflow.

The fifth principle we would add to this list would be ionization. Adding ionization to the air coming into the rooms or at various workstations where people and plastics are part of the process…and the problem. Ionization will help to dislodge particles, keep particles airborne and reduce static levels on plastics that will prevent the attraction of contaminants.

Preventing any contaminants from entering a clean-room requires a commitment, but the importance should not be underestimated. Follow strict procedures and guidelines for entering and cleaning clean rooms to ensure that your product is not compromised! Check out some of our products to help keep your cleanroom up to the highest standards.

A Hair-Raising Experience

“I can’t get the static out of my hair!”

Ladies, you know what we’re talking about. Those of you with long hair (and gentlemen, too) are probably all too familiar with static electricity styling your hair. Combining the dry winter months that have relatively low humidity with blow dryer use is the main reason for flyaway hair that looks like it comes from a science experiment.

You’ve heard of the home remedies; leave your hair damp, add some high quality conditioner or take more Omega Fatty Acids such as fish oil.  While these solutions are not too far off base, let’s look at the root cause of the problem first.

Where does static electricity come from?

Everything is made up of atoms. Most atoms are neutral because the positive charges cancel out of the negative charges. When the outer layer of atoms is rubbed off, it will produce atoms that have a slightly positive charge while the object that did the rubbing will have a slightly negative charge. Static electricity is caused by two materials, one that charges positively and one that charges negatively.

Static electricity in your hair or on your clothing is no different than the static that is generated during many manufacturing processes. Brushing your hair with plastic bristles creates the same problem as plastic material rubbing against machine parts: unwanted static. While controlling static can mean the difference between a good or bad hair day for you, plastic manufacturers have a whole other set of problems. Controlling static makes a difference in how fast a machine can run, how to prevent shocks and how to improve yields, which translates into higher profits for the company.

So what’s the static solution?

You might have thought that raising the humidity could fix your hair problem. True, the static might go away, but your hair will be a frizzy mess instead. In the manufacturing world, it can cause extreme problems such as rust on metal machine parts. In the hair care world, some of the major hair dryer manufacturers have added ionic blow dryers to their product lines. These ionic dryers create positive and negative ions to help fight out static electricity.

The best way to ensure that equipment runs smoothly and static-free in any manufacturing process is to use the right ionizer in the form of blowersstatic bars, air knives or nozzles. Serving industrial, medical and electronic markets, we have the solution to your static problem…contact us today!