Gettin’ Nothin’ But Static

It seems winter is upon us in Cincinnati, and right on time: our Application Engineer Joe Panfalone confirmed that last night’s snowfall was right in line with the Farmer’s Almanac’s prediction for this year.

So, winter coats are moving from the closet to the coat rack. The Christmas tree is going up. Letters to Santa are being written. Hot chocolate is being stocked up on. And I’m breaking out the humidifiers.

Years ago, I lived in an apartment with electric baseboard heaters. The dry air produced by those awful contraptions made my nose bleed, my skin itch, my throat sore, and my wrist hurt. That’s right…it made my wrist hurt: every time I shuffled across the carpet and put my hand on my bedroom doorknob, I got zapped with a bolt of static electricity that I’m sure would have killed a small animal. During a routine visit, my doctor told me that a humidifier would take care of the nosebleeds, so I got one. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that it also relieved the dry skin, sore throat, and wrist pain!

In industrial settings, the effects of static electricity can be even more troublesome than the occasional zap, as if that wasn’t bad enough. Static electricity can disrupt electronic signals, damage sensitive electronic components, cause dust & debris to cling to surfaces, and even cause the surfaces of rolled or stacked materials to cling to each other, which can lead to tearing, jamming, or curling. Oh, and that occasional zap? If that happens close enough to a flammable or explosive material, you’ve got worse problems than a sore wrist.

There are a number of ways to eliminate a static charge: anti-static tinsel, carbon fiber brushes, spring-wired induction bars, and, yes, humidifiers, are all examples of passive static elimination. These are simple and effective in a wide array of applications, but they’re limited in scope…they may work fine when feeding sheets of paper into a printer, but we’ve seen the friction produced by plastic bottles moving down a conveyor generate a static charge high enough to divert the filling flow of liquid from the bottle’s mouth.

High speed, high volume applications need a more aggressive solution, and that’s where EXAIR Static Eliminators come in. By combining our Air Knives, Air Amplifiers, Air Jets, and Air Guns with our Ionizing Bars/Points, we’re able to produce a large volume of ionized air flow that will not only dissipate static charges quickly and at great distances, but will also remove that unwanted dust & debris at the same time.

Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of assisting a customer in just such a situation: the polycarbonate lenses they make are removed, by hand, from a conveyor belt. The static charge was irritating to the operator, and the dust (being held in place by the static charge) was unacceptable to the customer. They installed two Super Ion Air Knives (top and bottom; ionization won’t penetrate a solid material), and the operator is now able to package nice clean lenses, without the fear of that impending zap. It worked so well, they’re outfitting other packaging lines in their plant with identical systems.

EXAIR has a large selection of Static Elimination products that provide a wide array of ionized air flows and flow patterns. If you’ve got a problem with static, we can help!

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer

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