Tis the season for static generation, and the calls are starting to come in. Recently I received a call and a series of emails from an end user in Dubai. The gentleman was (is) the operations manager for a company which molds, stamps, and distributes credit cards. They were having a problem in the process removing single cards from a larger stack. When the robot arm would come to pick up a single card, several blank credit cards would be picked up and the entire cycle would become waste product.
Initially, there were several unknowns. For example, although static was the suspected source of the process disruption, it had not been verified. There was no concrete evidence that static was indeed the root cause of the problem. In addition to this, it was unknown how much space could realistically be committed to a static removal device, and it was unknown how close the EXAIR product could be mounted to the process. The credit card blanks needed to be treated as part of a larger sheet, which made the application a prime candidate for the Ion Air Cannon. But, the decay time (0.43 seconds to dissipate 5kV when operated at 80 PSIG) was thought to be too long. Then again, static charge levels were unknown so this seemed a moot point.
Ultimately, I determined that in order to verify the concern and test a possible solution, the end user would need to purchase test products, or send in product samples for testing at our facility. In this case, they chose the latter. Click the video below for a sample of what we saw.
Notice the “cracking” sound? And how the cards are physically adhered to one another? A static problem can have several symptoms, but the adhesion between the cards was a dead giveaway that the root cause wasn’t static, and was related to a process before this handling station.
Both parties benefited in this scenario. The end user didn’t spend any money that wasn’t required, and EXAIR maintained our commitment to putting our customer’s interests first. Another example of the benefits of the disciplined approach we cultivate at EXAIR.