I was recently working with a solar energy research center who was experiencing a static issue with their solar panel building process. They currently take a stack of small, silicon wafer plates, measuring approximately 6″ long X 6″ wide and 2 mm thick, and take the top plate from the stack and place it on the assembly table. The issues they were experiencing was that when they went to lift the top plate, static was making the plates cling together, resulting in several plates being picked up at one time. In some cases, they were able to get separation, but were seeing dust and dirt settle on the surface. This was causing two negative effects. First, when the plates get stuck together, they try to manually separate them which would cause them to crack or completely break. If they did get them separated without cracks, the second issue was contamination from foreign particulate would cause an operator to have to manually clean the plate, prolonging the assembly and reducing the daily production. Trying to remedy the situation, they decided to use a small open airline blowing at the side of the plates to get separation between the plates as they are lifted. While this did help a little with separation it did not remedy the particulate issue and they still weren’t able to achieve a desired result.
I recommended the customer use our Model # 111206, 6″ Super Ion Air Knife Kit in the application. The Super Ion Air Knife is our Super Air Knife with an Ionizing Bar attached to produce a laminar sheet of ionized air across the entire length of the unit. By directing the airflow at the side of the stack, the ionized air would release the static charge, allowing the individual plates to separate and as they are lifted, blow away any remaining unwanted fines on the surface of the plates. In addition, the kit includes a pressure regulator which would allow the customer to increase or decrease the supply pressure, providing some control of the exhaust air velocity and flow so they aren’t moving or disrupting the stack.