Many automotive parts are made of plastic, and with nonconductive materials, static electricity can become a big problem, especially in cooler climates.
A customer with whom I spoke recently assembles instrumentation clusters for vehicles. The assembly process started by using a regular compressed air gun to blow the surfaces clean before assembly. The operator would place a polycarbonate applique onto a lighting fixture. Then a clear polycarbonate cover would go over both parts. To complete the cluster assembly, an ultrasonic welder would weld the plastic studs around the outside edge and seal the parts together. This completed the assembly process. However, during inspection, they started to notice more visual defects after the welding process. The cause was debris that became lodged between the applique and the clear cover. The debris was still present even after blowing. If the debris wasn’t cleared prior to welding, the entire assembly would have to be scrapped due to the visual defect. The customer knew about EXAIR from previous projects and so decided to get help from us again to solve this expensive reject situation.
Initially, blowing the plastic components with regular compressed air before assembling and welding worked well, but then they started seeing an increase in the reject rate. I came to find out that they were located in Michigan. So I asked the customer about the weather there recently. They indicated that was getting cooler as we begin to head into Fall and Winter. As cooler weather is among us, static can be generated much easier because cool air cannot hold as much moisture. And with less moisture, which aids to eliminate a static charge, the likelihood that static will generate goes up. Once static is generated on plastic components, dust and debris likes to stick to the surface. Static charges are very strong, and even with blowing compressed air, the debris can still cling to edges or even “jump” to another location. This was a manual operation and they needed to remove the static from the surface in order to eliminate the debris from the assembly.
I recommended the model 8493 Ion Air Gun Kit. It combines static removal capability with a blowing force that one would normally associate with a compressed air blowgun. The kit includes the Ion Air Gun, power supply, filter and regulator. The Ion Air Gun is designed with a 5:1 amplification ratio; minimizing compressed air usage and maximizing ionized airflow. With the regulator, you can control the force from a “blast” to a “breeze”. The ionized airflow eliminates the static from the plastic surfaces, allowing the airstream to remove any dirt and debris. They replaced their current air gun with the EXAIR Ion Air Gun, and the rejection rate decreased to the acceptable levels that they were seeing in the summer months.
Being that the winter months are approaching, you may want to re-evaluate your processes. If you are working with non-conductive materials like plastic, wood, glass, or textiles, EXAIR has a variety of Static Eliminators that can save you from getting headaches, losing money, and saving time. With our customer above, they weren’t able to get ahead of the static issue, and it created many problems until they investigated using EXAIR Static Eliminators. Get rid of your static headaches by using an EXAIR Static Eliminator today.