Playing Card Manufacturer Gets Dealt a Bad Hand from Static Electricity

Okay, so I’m not talking about counting cards in Las Vegas, like was shown in the movies Rain Man or 21. I’m talking about how a manufacturer of playing cards may count them. I visited a manufacturer of playing cards. It was fascinating learning that they only use specific relative humidity cardstock for certain geographic locations. It totally makes sense once I thought about it, send a “wet” card to a dry geographic location and it will warp or shrink, send a “dry” stock to Atlanta and you’ll get wrinkled swollen cards once they hit the humid air. This manufacturer handled every aspect of the cards. They always ran into issues when it came to a single production line.

This production line would take the printed sheets of cards, which would get placed in a large stack then fed through a cutter that would result in columns of cards, then stack and cut the columns into single cards. They would then get stacked again and the machine would then fan them out. The machine used two friction band conveyors to move the cards at a high rate of speed. They moved so fast it looked as though they overlapped. It was only when you fixated on a single card and followed it you would see it was separated by a few inches from the next.

This machine would stack all the cards up then separate them to each number and suit by dropping them into a chute. Next, it would drop the cards out of those chutes and recombine them into a stack of eight complete decks of cards. It would box them, label it and spit it out. They then went to casinos. This machine was a static nightmare when running dry card stocks during the winter months in the dry air.

Model 7905 Digital Static Meter

The cards would stick together, double feed, and really just leave the company with a bad hand. When I visited though, I had an Ace up my sleeve. I had a Static Meter and a Gen4 Ionizing Point in my possession. The static meter was used to identify the highest static levels in their process, and the Ionizing Point, which we were able to easily hold within 2″ of the cards where they were first jamming. Which was the very first fanning operation. Once the Ionizing Point was installed at this location, rather than seeing any misfeeds or jams within the first 3 stations, the problem moved to “drop station number five”. We then added another to just before the fifth station and saw improvements down to station nine.

Friction / Attachment / Detachment Static

The key observation here was that it was not possible to eliminate the static throughout the entire process. This is because there is a constant generation of static due to friction of the belts sliding under the cards and the cards being stacked then slid out from one another. As soon as the cards would leave the ionized 2″ radius around the Gen4 Ionizing Point the static would begin to regenerate on the surfaces. While it wouldn’t immediately reach a problematic point for this process, it would build up over the course of a few stages. This is why it is critical to place a static eliminator at the point it is causing the problem, rather than just at the beginning of a process, and then assuming static will not come back.

Gen4 Ionizing Points

In order to reach the solution, we implemented an Ionizing Point at each location that was experiencing an issue. The number of finished decks the company was able to produce, increased. They moved on to the packaging station and made their way into the casinos.

If you would like to discuss a Gen4 Ionizing Point or any point of use compressed air process / manufacturing process, please let us know.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

Super Air Nozzles and Air Jets with Stay Set Hoses

Model 1126-9262

EXAIR manufactures a variety of intelligent compressed air products that can cool, clean, coat, convey, and conserve.  They’re designed with efficiencies, OSHA safety, and high quality in mind.  What could make our products even better?  Making them adjustable, with the ability to aim them exactly where you need them!  EXAIR offers Stay Set Hoses with our Air Nozzles and Jets to achieve this.  In this blog, I will cover the features and benefits of both products.

EXAIR’s engineered nozzles are designed to optimize your compressed air system.  Inefficient solutions are commonly used in the form of inexpensive nozzles and sometimes even worse, open pipes and tubes.  An open pipe or tube, even if “flattened”, wastes an excessive amount of compressed air and is not OSHA compliant.  The wasted compressed air can create problems in your facility due to unnecessarily high energy costs as well as pressure loss in your system; affecting other pneumatic processes.  An open pipe or tube will also produce sound levels in excess of 100 dBA.  At these noise levels, according to OSHA, permanent hearing damage can occur in just 2 hours of exposure.  If one of your goals is to reduce air consumption and improve safety in your facility, look no further than EXAIR’s Engineered Air Nozzles & Jets.

By simply replacing your efficient blowoff devices with an EXAIR Super Air Nozzle, you can quickly reduce air consumption AND remove safety issues.  Sound level isn’t the only thing an OSHA inspector is going to be concerned about regarding blowoff items and air guns.  OSHA 1910.242(b) states that “the use of compressed air for cleaning purposes at pressures at or greater than 30 psi is permissible if the outlet or source is fitted with a relief device that drops the pressure to less than 30 psi if the flow is dead-ended”. I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to use an air gun below 30 PSIG (2 Bar), but the effectiveness is dramatically reduced.  EXAIR’s Super Air Nozzles are engineered with fins that serve two purposes.  First, they help to entrain ambient air, allowing us to maximize the force and flow from the nozzle while keeping the compressed air consumption at a minimum.  And second, these fins will prevent the openings from being completely blocked off.  So, you can use EXAIR nozzles above 30 PSIG (2 Bar).  Using an OSHA compliant compressed air nozzle in a blowoff operation should be a priority because each individual infraction from OSHA will result in a fine if you’re unfortunate to be visited by an unannounced inspection.

To add versatility to the EXAIR Air Nozzles and Jets, we offer Stay Set Hoses.  The hose has a “memory” function, and it will not creep or droop until you physically move it.  They work very well in directing the air flows at specific target areas.  The Stay Set Hoses come in lengths from 6” (15cm) to 36” (91cm), and they have threaded connections with either ¼” NPT male on both ends or with a 1/8” NPT female X ¼” NPT male thread.  The hoses are made from reinforced synthetic rubber and have a maximum pressure rating of 250 PSIG (17 bar).  If you need positioning for precise blowing or adjustments for different locations, the Stay Set Hose would be a nice addition to include with your EXAIR Air Nozzles.

One of the last things that companies think about when using blowoff devices is safety.  OSHA regulations regarding loud noises and dead-end pressure can be missed.  To stop any future fines, it is important and more economical to purchase EXAIR products.  If you would like to improve the safety in your facility and save money with your current blow-off devices, an Application Engineer at EXAIR can help you select the appropriate solution.

John Ball
Application Engineer
Email: johnball@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_jb

Video Blog: Deep Hole Vac-U-Gun Demo for Cleaning Blind Holes

Cleaning out blind holes can be tricky and hazardous to your operators due to flying debris. There’s no better solution for cleaning blind holes than EXAIR’s Deep Hole Vac-U-Gun. The Deep Hole Vac-U-Gun allows you to remove the debris simply and easily, while keeping it contained in the included filter bag.

In the video below, I’ve simulated a blind hole using some 5/8″ tubing. As you can see, the debris is quickly blown up and out of the hole while captured into the filter bag without any mess or hassle.

The Deep Hole Vac-U-Gun is in stock and backed by EXAIR’s Unconditional 30 Day Guarantee. If you’d like to discuss getting one in for your facility give us a call. We can have one shipped out same day with a PO received by 2:00 ET for delivery anywhere in the US.

Tyler Daniel
Application Engineer
E-mail: TylerDaniel@EXAIR_TD
Twitter: @EXAIR_TD

Static Eliminator Selection Example

I like jigsaw puzzles. I start with the outside…there’s something to be said for establishing the boundaries of any project…but I don’t necessarily work my way in from there. Oftentimes, a number of same-colored pieces go together quickly, and I make a little part of the big picture somewhere in the middle. If it’s a big enough picture and/or if there’s a sufficient number of pieces, I might get a few of those little parts going on, until some of them get joined together. Once that happens, the big picture develops faster & faster, and before I know it, the puzzle is solved.

As an Application Engineer for EXAIR, a jigsaw puzzle is an apt analogy for assisting a customer in selecting the right solution to an application. A recent situation proved what a good analogy this is: a caller from a custom label making shop needed to eliminate static from a bunch of thin Mylar film that was die cut into special little shapes so they could be laid out in specific arrangements. You know…like a jigsaw puzzle!

Now, there aren’t many better ways to generate a static charge than doing ANYTHING to Mylar. The magnitude of static charge created by the cutting process is downright vicious. As difficult as it was to put the first piece in place, it was IMPOSSIBLE to keep it there when they put the NEXT piece down adjacent to it. Same thing with the piece after that, and the piece after that, etc. They needed something to remove the static, and that something turned out to be an EXAIR Ion Air Knife. By installing a Model 8106 6″ Gen4 Standard Ion Air Knife along one side, they were able to gently blow a ‘whisper’ of ionized air that moved the freshly cut pieces from the die cutter’s platen so the operator could then lay them out to make the desired label design.

Gen4 Standard Ion Air Knife

So, how did we arrive at the Gen4 Standard Ion Air Knife? Wouldn’t the more efficient & quieter Super Ion Air Knife be the “go to” solution? In an awful lot of cases, it certainly is. A couple of things made the Standard Ion Air Knife more attractive here:

Profile-wise, a Gen4 Standard Ion Air Knife takes up less than half the space of a Gen4 Super Ion Air Knife.
  • Compressed air consumption: if this were an application for a continuous 36″ wide ionized air curtain in a fast moving product application with a high static charge, we’d have talked about the difference in consumption, at a high pressure (like 80psig) for the two different Ion Air Knives:
    • 36″ Super Ion Air Knife: 104.4 SCFM, or 12,528,000 standard cubic feet per year*
    • 36″ Standard Ion Air Knife: 123 SCFM, or 15,350,400 standard cubic feet per year*

*Eight hours a day, five days a week, 52 weeks a year. Assuming a compressed air cost of $0.25 per 1,000 standard cubic feet, that’s an operating cost difference of:

(15,350,400 – 12,528,000) SCF X $0.25/1,000 SCF = $705.60 per year.

  • In this case, though, it’s a 6″ Ion Air Knife, blowing a short puff of ionized air a few times a minute, at about 5psig supply pressure…anything more would blow those small mylar pieces all over the place:
    • 6″ Super Ion Air Knife: 1.85 SCFM, or 23,088 standard cubic feet per year*
    • 6″ Standard Ion Air Knife: 1.5 SCFM, or 18,720 standard cubic feet per year*

*Three 2-second cycles per minute, eight hours a day, five days a week, 52 weeks a year. Assuming a compressed air cost of $0.25 per 1,000 standard cubic feet, that’s an operating cost difference of:

(23,088 – 18,720) SCF X $0.25/1,000 SCF = $1.09 per year.

  • Sound level: again, this would be a prime consideration if they were operating at higher supply pressures. But, at the lower pressure necessitated by this application, the Standard Ion Air Knife’s 66dBA, a second or two at a time, is hardly noticeable.
  • Price: The purchase price (2021 pricing) of the Standard Ion Air Knife was ~17% less than the Super Ion Air Knife. Normally, we’ll talk about the operating cost…but not when the difference (see above) is just over a buck a year.
  • Air flow pattern: Since a curtain of ionized air was a good fit for this application, an Ion Air Knife (Super or Standard) was the logical choice. If a more concentrated flow was called for, we’d have used an Ion Air Cannon or Ion Air Jet. If they were looking for something handheld, a Gen4 Ion Air Gun or Intellistat Ion Air Gun would have been offered. For static dissipation on the entire circumference or perimeter of a part, we’d have talked about a Super Ion Air Wipe. The size & shape of the air flow, in fact, is frequently where we “start the negotiations” on product selection…sort of analogous to starting with the outside border pieces of a jigsaw puzzle!

EXAIR Corporation has a broad range of Static Eliminators, that are just one part of our diverse offering of Intelligent Compressed Air Products. If you’ve got questions, we’ve got answers…give me a call.

Russ Bowman, CCASS

Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
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Jigsaw Puzzle (detail) photo courtesy of James Petts Creative Commons License