Applications for Static Eliminating Ion Bars

Ion bar

Many times when we discuss static elimination applications with customers, we will arrive at a solution such as the Ion Bar that does not require the use of compressed air. If we feel that the Ion Bar has ability to be in sufficient contact with the target for a long enough duration of time, then that is one of the most elegant solutions of all. The bonus is that we do not have to add additional compressed air requirement to the customer’s compressed air system by recommending use of the Super Air Knife along with the Ion Bar. While the Super Ion Air Knife is a great way to project the static eliminating ions over a much longer distance, there is the issue that compressed air does have to be factored into the solution.

So, what kinds of applications can benefit from the use of Ion Bars by themselves? There are actually a variety of reasons why an application might not benefit from the addition of compressed air to the static eliminating solution. Allow me to list a few below:

  1. The static elimination target material is very light weight and would be disturbed unnecessarily by the addition of a compressed air flow to deliver ionization from the Ion Bar.
  2. The static elimination application is within a clean room environment where any addition of air movement has to be equally compensated for by the dust collection system, which can complicate matters very quickly.
  3. There may already be an airflow that is moving through the area over the target surface and only ionization is needed.
  4. The addition of an airflow to a static elimination application causes problems with other parts of a process such as un-wanted decrease in drying time, un-wanted cooling, or interference with a measurement process.

In any event, whenever we evaluate a static elimination application, we always want to try and make solution suggestions that would minimize the impact on the customer’s compressed air supply. Many times, we simply can’t do that due to issues with process speed or lack of time in contact with the target part. But in those cases, where it is plausible, we certainly want to apply this strategy for our solutions.

Some recent applications where we were able to recommend an Ion Bar by itself include:

  1. A ceramic tile manufacturer was printing their designs with an ink jet printer onto the tile surface. Static caused the ink to run into areas where it wasn’t supposed to go. Treating the surface of the tiles prior to printing solved the issue.
  2. A solar panel manufacture etches glass for the solar panels and then coats that panel with a metallic coating. Residual lines of force from the remaining static charge on the surface made the metallic coating irregular and so a set of ion bars were mounted so that the glass passed between them just prior to coating, eliminating the irregularities in the coating.
  3. A shipping company was applying bar-coded labels to their shipping boxes. The labels were becoming wrinkled when applied which interfered with the ability to read the bar code. The customer thought it was a label issue, but after a quick check with a model 7905 Static Meter, the problem was found to be a charge on the box surface. Mounting an ion bar to come into close proximity of the box surface prior to labelling took care of the problem.

Overall, Ion Bars are a very effective tool for removing static over a wide area. And when considering the possible solutions for a static removal application, it is always best practice to consider whether the Ion Bar solution can take care of the problem by itself. And if it deemed not possible to get the desired effect with only the Ion Bar, then using a Super Ion Air Knife is the next best and most efficient way to get that ionized air to your charged target.

Neal Raker, International Sales Manager

Kentucky Family Racing In Mexico

This year marks the second year in a row that one of our EXAIR team members will be racing in the SCORE-International Baja 1000.   While I am extremely envious (not to mention mad at myself for not going), we all wish we could be there to support him and his family as they try to complete the torturous event.  The Longshore Racing team has made nothing but improvements over last year when they completed over 600 miles of the event but ultimately were brought down by part failures.

2014 Baja 1000 UTV 1943
2014 Baja 1000 UTV 1943

Since then, they have completely rebuilt the vehicle and learned a tremendous amount about what they need and implemented it all for this year’s event.  The team is a family affair for one of our Design Engineers, Ryan Longshore, his father, brother, and mother all play a significant role.

Longshore Racing's Favorite Taco Stand
Longshore Racing’s Favorite Taco Stand


The group definitely knows that when you want to achieve and excel, you have to work hard. I wish them the best of luck in this year’s race.   Here’s a picture of the team launching from the start line.

The 2015 Longshore Racing Baja 1000 Starting Launch
The 2015 Longshore Racing Baja 1000 Starting Launch

Ryan and his team managed to make it past halfway this year, before snapping frame welds that could not be overcome. He came back with another year’s worth of experience and knowledge, while still maintaining his resolve to someday conquer the course.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer Manager


Counter-flow – How to Mount Air Knives for Maximum Effect

counter flow
Example: Counter-flow arrangement

As with any tool, there can be a right way and a wrong way to use the tool. In this article I will explain the best way to mount a Super Air Knife in a blowing application so that you achieve the maximum force, time in contact and of course, effectiveness.

There is a term we use, “counter-flow”, to describe the opposing travel of target material/conveyor (red arrow) and the airflow coming from an Air Knife (yellow arrow). By having opposing flows, the Air Knife is able to blow the debris, contamination, water or other fluid back into the direction from which it came. Sometimes a catch pan can be used to collect and re-use the fluid. In the photo above, note that the air knife is oriented to blow from right to left and the parts are travelling on the conveyor belt from left to right. This is a simple example of how we set up counter-flow.

Also, with regard to effective Air Knife mounting strategies; the Super Air Knife in the photo is mounted using our Universal Air Knife Mounting System which allows for maximum flexibility for positioning and stability of the Air Knife once set. The Universal Air Knife Mounting System is another great accessory that you can recommend to clients to make the set up very easy. Of course a suitable compressed air filter and pressure regulator should be used for clean air and adjustability of force in the application.

Finally, in the photo above, note that the Super Air Knife is mounted up-side down. We generally recommend this kind of orientation with the cap of the Super Air Knife being closest to the material being blown off. This allows you to get the air knife a bit lower and closer to the target material. The lower the angle, the better. This allows for a longer time in contact between the Super Air Knife and the target material. When the target material spends more time in the high velocity flow, the more likely you are able to impart the desired effect whether that be drying, cooling, blowoff or static elimination. To find a good mounting angle to start, I recommend customers use the front, angled edge of the Super Air Knife cap as a guide for what part of the Super Air Knife to keep parallel to the moving surface. This is a great reference from which blowing angle can be optimized.

If you find yourself with an Air Knife application and are unsure about how to proceed with mounting it, the idea explained above is one of the core foundations we utilize for solid Air Knife mounting technique.

Neal Raker, International Sales Manager


OSHA Violation?

You may have had a visit from OSHA (or other regulating authority) in the past. We have had them here and we also speak to customers daily who have had the pleasure. Typically our customers need to address a pressure or noise violation, and need help finding the right product to get them right with OSHA.

Recently, I spoke with a customer that was visited by OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration).   If you do not know, OSHA is a federal agency charged with the enforcement of safety and health.   In order to protect workers, they can enforce fines and penalties for violations.  This customer had a very common violation with their compressed air guns.  They were too loud, and they may not meet the dead-end pressure requirement.  Many companies will modify their compressed air guns to better fit their application.  The problem occurs when they modify them to the point that the products no longer meet the OSHA standards.  You have to make sure that you meet 29CFR Part 10910.95 (a), which addresses the maximum allowable noise exposure your personnel can experience, and 29CFR Part 1910.242(b) which addresses the maximum pressure allowable at the outlet of an air product.

My customer sent me a picture of the compressed air gun that they were currently using (shown below).  The problem was the noise level was too high.  With this “open pipe” design of a nozzle, the noise level was exceeding 100 dBA.  This was a major concern.  The number of hours that an operator used this noisy air gun exceeded the OSHA exposure limit.  The customer called EXAIR because he needed to replace his existing air guns with quiet safety air guns.  The main component of an air gun is the nozzle.  It is like buying a great paint gun, and if the spray nozzle is cheap, you cannot lay a nice spray pattern of paint.

Compressed Air Gun
Compressed Air Gun which produced a noise violation. 

In his application, he needed 6” (152mm) to reach into and around his product.  I suggested a model 1310-6 Heavy Duty Safety Air Gun with a 6” extension.  With the model 1100 Super Air Nozzle attached, the noise level was decreased to 74 dBA, and if checked by OSHA, it will not exceed the 30 PSIG pressure standard either.  With the unique design of the nozzle, it entrains ambient air to help create a powerful force to remove the chips.  With the 1310-6 Heavy Duty Safety Air Gun, the customer was happy and OSHA was happy.

1310 Heavy Duty Safety Air Gun
1310 Heavy Duty Safety Air Gun, does not produce a noise violation. 

We are all individually in charge of safety.  To help meet the OSHA standards, EXAIR has a variety of Safety Air Guns and nozzles to make your operation quiet and safe.   It can become very costly if you are in OSHA violation.  If you need help in determining which product would best fit your application, you can contact us at EXAIR at 800-903-9247 and speak to one of the Application Engineers.

John Ball
Application Engineer
Twitter: @EXAIR_jb

Blowing Aluminum Chips From A Machine Spindle

Machine spindle in need of efficient blow off

When a CNC tool change occurs, it is not uncommon for there to be some residual debris still in the workspace.  The machining process creates chips, fines, and material strings which can litter the machine from top to bottom.  Most of these chips are collected or blown away, but sometimes debris can elude these collection methods.

Such was the case for an EXAIR customer earlier this week.  Their existing systems were doing a decent job of keeping the workspace debris contained, but there was a limitation when it came to the machine spindle.   When the collet of the spindle would change, small chips and fines would contaminate the area.  These chips and fines would then disrupt the surface-to-surface contact between the spindle and collet, resulting in improper fit and an inability to use the tooling.

Alternate view of the workspace

What this application needed was an efficient way to blow off the spindle, but there was a catch – the blow off couldn’t be any closer than 12”, to allow any tool changes to take place without crashing.  Fortunately, we have a wide variety of air nozzles with a full range of force values.

So, we only needed to determine the compressed air supply available for the application.  From there, we would be able to determine applicable nozzles and their force values, thereby determining which nozzle/s to use.

Normally when I inquire about compressed air supply the customer has a reciprocating or screw compressor, producing a few hundred SCFM.  In this case, the customer had centrifugal compressors producing over 25,000 SCFM of compressed air!  But, while this creates some excess in terms of compressed air availability, it doesn’t change our approach to the solution.  The blow off solution should still use the least amount of compressed air possible.

We came to select model HP1125SS to provide the needed blow off, using two nozzles aimed at the spindle from a distance of 12”.  Just prior to tool changes and/or collet changes, and during the change process, the HP1125SS nozzles will turn on, removing any chips, strings, fines, or residual coolant from the area.  Each HP1125SS nozzle will produce 2.2 pounds of force at the required distance of 12”, enough to remove any debris found in the machining center.

Through a phone call and a series of emails we were able to help this customer find a solution to their blow off needs.  If you have a similar need or an application you think could benefit from an EXAIR solution, contact an EXAIR Application Engineer.


Lee Evans
Application Engineer

Safety, Compliance, And Certifications

News broke the other day about an accident at a manufacturing facility not far from us. Two workers’ arms were crushed when a machine malfunctioned. That’s the short story – there is, no doubt, going to be an intensive investigation where the details will be brought to light. For now, the lives of two people who showed up at work to do their jobs have been drastically and permanently changed, and that’s got me thinking (and writing) about safety, compliance, and certifications today.

EXAIR Corporation takes safety very seriously in every sense and every way:

*Design. All of our Intelligent Compressed Air Products are engineered to meet OSHA standards regarding dead end pressures and sound levels.

*Production, part I. We have exacting standards and procedures that govern the machining, manufacturing, assembly, and testing of every product that we make. Training, cross-training, and continuing training ensure that our products are the highest quality achievable.

*Production, part II. Speaking of training, our Production Manager conducts regular, all-hands safety training on a variety of topics. In every single training session, regardless of topic, he makes it clear that safety requires us all: from management’s responsibility for training, documentation and equipment, to operators’ attention to detail and compliance with procedures, to everyone’s diligence in watching out for, and reporting, anything that may not look right.

*Specification. Some of our products shouldn’t be used in certain applications:
-Our Static Eliminators use high voltage at a low amperage to ionize air. They can’t be used near flammable materials or gases.
Line Vacs create a high velocity, turbulent vacuum flow. Don’t use them with any material that can become an explosive mixture. Same goes for our Chip Vac, Heavy Duty Dry Vac, and Heavy Duty HEPA Vac.
-Speaking of Industrial Vacuums, our Reversible Drum Vacs and Chip Trappers operate by pulling a vacuum on the drum. They cannot be used with any material with a low flash point or with flammable liquids such as mineral spirits, gasoline or kerosene.

*Compliance. There are sanctioned regulatory bodies that define what makes…and keeps…products safe for use. EXAIR goes to all lengths necessary to ensure compliance and reporting with the ones pertinent to particular product lines, whether they’re CE marked, RoHS compliant, UL Listed/Recognized, etc. In fact, our products are also certified as Conflict Mineral-Free and REACH Compliant…for the safety of people involved in providing the materials that our products are made of.

CE cULlisted cULrecognized   ROHS_Vector    conflictfree

We go to every length possible to ensure that our products meet the standards that even the most demanding situations call for.

If you want to talk about safety and compliance, talk to us.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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