A manufacturing facility was machining small plastic components for the medical industry. They had their machining center located in a semi-clean room to keep dust and debris from getting onto the product. As a procedure before entering the machining area, the operators would have to put on a lab jacket, wear hats, step on tack matts, and then test themselves for static buildup. This was to ensure the operators were not bringing in contamination. For this company, there was a high importance in keeping the area and the parts very clean.
With any non-conductive material like plastic, static is a common problem. Static causes things to “stick” to the surface like a magnet. Stuff like dirt, dust, and in this case; the swarf from the machining process. When the plastic material was being machined, static would build and cause the fragments to stick to the part. This was causing surface defects on the components which caused a rejection failure. They tried to use a small brush to keep the fragments from gathering, but it was not real effective. They decided to contact EXAIR to see if we could eliminate the problematic issues caused by static.
When it comes to removing static, EXAIR has a large product line of Static Eliminators. Our design creates both positive and negative ions to remove any type of static charge. In most of our systems, we can use compressed air to carry the ions to the problem areas to remove the static. Then the air can easily blow the debris from the surface. For the above operation, this company needed a hands-free device. Since the size of the products being machined were small, I recommended the Stay Set Ion Air Jet Kit; model 8494-9362. This kit includes an Ion Air Jet, magnetic base, a 12” Stay Set Hose, power supply, filter and regulator (a complete startup kit to begin removing static). The Ion Air Jet delivers a concentrated air flow of ionized air that can be focused on the parts. With a small amount of compressed air, the Ion Air Jet induces the surrounding air at a ratio of 5:1; making it very efficient to use. The magnetic base and the Stay Set Hose allows for easy maneuverability to direct the ionized air at the best position for maximum effectiveness in removing the swarf.
Once they installed the model 8494-9362 onto the CNC platform near the part, they started to see much improvement in their process. As the Ion Air Jet was keeping the surface clean during machining, the reject rate for surface defects were reduced over 90%. Another benefit that they saw was the reduction in time for cleaning after the machining process. It was already debris-free and ready for the next operation. One other thing that they did notice was the surface roughness was much “cleaner”. They believed that the air from the Ion Air Jet was removing the heat from the tool and the surface of the part during the machining. This allowed for a smoother and cleaner finish.
If you are dealing with plastic and non-conductive materials, the EXAIR Static Eliminators are designed to make your process run more efficiently by removing the static. It was a great benefit for the above manufacturer to keep the product clean, reduce defects, and streamline their operation. If you have issues with static, you can contact an Application Engineer at EXAIR to see how we can eliminate it.