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Acclimation: A Crucial Consideration

Imagine this scenario: it’s February, and a converter is getting ready to run a huge job. He has done his due diligence, working closely with a supplier to carefully choose the best possible product for an end-use application. The test runs are all in the past, and the converter is eager to get started. As he stands on the loading dock, he tightens the collar around his neck, looking for the delivery truck. At last, it appears, emerging from a cloud of snow. The converter's employees eagerly unload the material and wheel it off directly to the press, anxious to get started.


Patience is a virtue.

As the first printed labels come off the press, however, everyone is disappointed to discover that they look nothing like they did during the test runs; instead of crisp, vivid graphics, the printing is irregular and unimpressive. Disappointed, the converter picks up the phone to call the supplier, to find out what could have gone wrong.

Although there are numerous reasons why a product may not perform as expected, the answer can be as easy as improper acclimation to conditions. In this case, the converter was so eager to get started on the project that he did not allow time for the material to acclimate to the conditions in the plant before being printed. In some cases, when products move from hot to cold conditions or from cold to hot, it can have a significant effect on the material. Not all products respond to such temperature changes in the same manner, but certain materials are particularly sensitive to such fluctuations.

This is why it is recommended that a product spend a minimum of 24 hours in the environment in which it will be printed. This allows for temperature and humidity differences to even out, reducing the likelihood of problems when the material runs. This is true regardless of whether the material has just been shipped in an unheated vehicle, or if it spends days or weeks in an unheated warehouse facility.

Taking the time to make sure that the material has acclimated can save time in the long run. If you have questions about specific material and how long it should acclimate, be sure to talk with your Sales or Business Team Representative.

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