Tobacco Humidification & Tobacco Humidifiers
Tobacco leaves, cut tobacco and paper are all extremely hygroscopic which means that they give up their moisture to the surrounding environment if the air is too dry. Dry air causes tobacco's properties to degrade resulting in shrinkage, weight loss, brittleness, flaking, splitting and tearing.
This causes tobacco to literally fall out of cigarettes, cigarette papers to misfeed on machines and cigar leaves to crack.
Maintaining the right level of ambient relative humidity prevents all these problems by ensuring that tobacco, paper and leaves retain moisture at the correct levels, so maintaining their quality and ensuring that produc-tion can proceed at full efficiency.
Tobacco humidity issues
Tobacco leaves most primary production areas with a moisture content of 13-16% by weight. An ambient relative humidity of 60-68%rH is neded to maintain equilibrium between the air and the moisture in the tobacco.
After the initial production processes, moistened tobacco is normally taken to large bins or silos. Smaller tobacco plants will rely on box or cut tobacco stores. These areas must be maintained at 60-70%rH and 21-24C as they have large amounts of tobacco exposed to ambient air.
If humidity fails below 50%rH then electrostatic charges can occur in most production areas even in filter rod areas where extra humidtiy is not normally called fow. If conditions are maintained above 50%rH, then this will totally eliminate electrostatic charges.
Cigarette paper must also be kept in equilibrium with the environment. If its moisture changes so will the dimension of the reel of the reel of paper along the exposed edges. These are then is tension as the paper runs, which can lead to tears, machine misfeeds and expensive downtime re-feeding the roll.
The maintenance of around 60-70%rH is critical in and around temporary storage systems. Cigarettes stored in a buffer for several hours or over a weekend will lose moisture if the relative humidity is not main tained, and are often scrapped due to drying out. Humidification means stored cigarettes can continue to be processed and wastage eliminated.
Any loss in moisture will lead to poor recovery of tobacco in ripping rooms where production waste is broken up and re-used. These areas need to be maintained at 65%rH at 21C.