Static Solution in the Printing Industry

When the weather gets dry and cool, static can be generated very easily, and it can become a real nuisance.  For the printing industry, static forces can pull or push the ink droplets which can create poor print quality like “ghost” images.  Static can also cause contamination to “stick” to the surface of the sheets affecting the printing process.  This can slow production, generate high scrap rates, and allow for poor quality.  In this blog, I will share the details about a printing company having static problems and a simple solution with a Gen4 Static Eliminator.

For this printing company, static was causing issues in print quality on their polypropylene sheets. Polypropylene is a non-conductive material which can generate high amounts of static that can cause many issues.  Their manual operation of moving, sliding, and picking up of the polypropylene sheets was generating the static.  Now that we found the cause, I had to determine a solution.

They sent pictures to describe the process in more detail.  An operator would pick up a sheet with the dimensions of 3 feet wide by 5 feet long (0.9 meters by 1.5 meters) from a bin.  He or she would load three polypropylene sheets onto a wide vacuum table next to the printing machine.  The table had an indicating bar which used yellow/green lights to align each sheet.  Once the indicator lights turned green, this meant that the sheet was aligned properly, and the operator would then hit a switch.

A dual rail with vacuum cups would come over and “grab” the three sheets.  The vacuum rail would pull the new sheets onto a sliding platform at the same time removing the printed sheets into a stacking area.  With the new sheets, this sliding platform would travel into the print machine where the print head would create the images.

Once the printing was completed, the sliding platform would come back to the original position where the process would repeat itself.  With all the handling and moving of the polypropylene sheets, static was being generated.  To improve their printing process by removing the static, we had to target an area where we would not have to worry about static regenerating.

EXAIR is a leading manufacturer of Static Eliminators, and we had a good discussion in solving his issue.  Ideally, we want to place the Static Eliminator just before the printing process.  In this application.  I recommended to them to locate a Gen4 Ionizing Bar just behind the indicating bar.  This would remove any static as the sheets were going onto the sliding platform.  Since the sheets were 3 feet (0.9 meters) wide, we needed to cover a span of 9 feet (2.7 meters) total.  Believe it or not, EXAIR manufactures and stocks an Ionizing Bar this long!!!

For this customer, they would not have to worry about any stop gaps in coverage with a single length product.  Also, the profile for the Gen4 Ionizing Bar is very thin and would not interfere with the vacuum rail system.  So, when the vacuum rail picks up the polypropylene sheets, the Gen4 Ionizing Bar will be able to remove the static from the printable surface.

Gen4 Ionizing Bar with 7960 Power Supply

I recommended the model 80108 Gen4 Ionizing Bar with the model 7960 Gen4 Power Supply.  This model can emit ions that can cover a span of 108 inches (2.73 meters).  The Gen4 Power Supply, which generates a 5,000 Volt signal, connects to the Gen4 Ionizing Bar with an electromagnetically shielded durable cable.  The alternating current generated by the Power Supply allows for the creation of both positive and negative ions from each point.  This will ensure neutralization of any type of static.

The Ionizing Bar can be positioned between 0.5” (13mm) to 2” (51mm) from the sheet surface to optimize decay rates.  After they mounted and started using the Ionization Bar, the static was removed quickly, and the printing issues were eliminated.  With a quick and simple set up of the Gen4 Ionizing Bar, they were able to get back on track with great quality and fast productivity.

If you have static issues with your printing process, you can contact an Application Engineer at EXAIR.  We will be happy to make your static issues disappear and your vibrant images reappear.

John Ball
Application Engineer
Email: johnball@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_jb

 

Intelligent Compressed Air: Avoid Pressure Drop

A critical component to optimal performance of any compressed air operated product is ensuring sufficient compressed air flow. Simply put, inadequate air flow won’t allow you to get the job done.

As compressed air moves through the distribution system, it encounters friction inside of the walls of the pipe, tube, hose, etc. The diameter of the pipe, length, number of direction changes, and finish surface of the inner wall all play a part in this. A drop in air pressure will occur as a result of this friction. In addition to pressure drops experienced due to the distribution system, they can also occur at the point of use.

4597315810_fb8e3e4d26_o
Common analog pressure gauge

When designing and maintaining your compressed air system, pressure measurements should be taken across varying points to identify (and fix) any issues before they create a greater problem down the road. According to the Compressed Air Challenge, these are the places you should take regular pressure measurements to determine your system operating pressure:

  • Inlet to compressor (to monitor inlet air filter) vs. atmospheric pressure
  • Differential across air/lubricant separator
  • Interstage on multistage compressors
  • Aftercooler
  • At treatment equipment (dryers, filters, etc.)
  • Various points across the distribution system
  • Check pressure differentials against manufacturers’ specifications, if high pressure drops are noticed this indicates a need for service

*More recent compressors will measure pressure at the package discharge, which would include the separator and aftercooler.

Once you’ve taken these measurements, simply add the pressure drops measured and subtract that value from the operating range of your compressor. That figure is your true operating pressure at the point of use.

If your distribution system is properly sized and the pressure drops measured across your various equipment are within specifications, any pressure drop noticed at the point of use is indicative of an inadequate volume of air. This could be due to restrictive fittings, undersized air lines, hose, or tube, or an undersized air compressor. Check that the point of use product is properly plumbed to compressed air per the manufacturer’s specifications.

EXAIR Products are designed to minimize this pressure drop by restricting the flow of compressed air at the point of use. The more energy (pressure) that we’re able to bring to the point of use, the more efficient and effective that energy will be. The photo below shows two common examples of inefficient compressed air usage. With an open-ended blow off, a pressure drop occurs upstream inside of the supply line. If you were to measure the pressure directly at the point of use, while in operation, you’d find that the pressure is significantly lower than it is at the compressor or further up the line. In the other photo with modular style hose, some pressure is able to be built up but if it gets too high the hose will blow apart. These types of modular style hose are not designed to be used with compressed gases.

open end blow offs
They may be inefficient, but they sure are loud…

EXAIR’s Super Air Nozzles, on the other hand, keep the compressed air pressure right up to the point of discharge and minimize the pressure drop. This, in addition to the air entrained, allows for a high force while maximizing efficiency. If you’d like to talk about how an EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Product could help to minimize pressure drop in your processes give us a call.

Tyler Daniel
Application Engineer
E-mail: TylerDaniel@EXAIR.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_TD

 

Pressure gauge photo courtesy of Cliff Johnson via Flickr Creative Commons License

Robert Boyle And The Scientific Method

How do we know something is true? In grade school, you may remember being taught a process by which an observation elicits a question, from which a hypothesis can be derived, which leads to a prediction that can be tested, and proven…or not) These steps are commonly known as the Scientific Method, and they’ve been successfully used for thousands of years, by such legendary people of science as Aristotle (384 – 322 BC,) Roger Bacon (1219 – 1292,) Johannes Kepler (1571-1630,) Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) and right up to today’s scientists who run the CERN Large Hadron Collider.  The collider is the largest machine in the world, and its very purpose is the testing and proving (or not) of hypotheses based on questions that come from observations (often made in the LHC itself) in ongoing efforts to answer amazingly complex questions regarding space, time, quantum mechanics, and general relativity.

The Scientific Method is actually the reason (more on this in a minute) for the name of a fundamental law of physics: Boyle’s Law.  It states:

“For a fixed amount of an ideal gas kept at fixed temperature, pressure and volume are inversely proportional.”

And can be mathematically represented:

PV=k, where:

  • P = is the pressure of a gas
  • V = is the volume of that gas, and
  • k = is a constant

So, if “k” is held constant, no matter how pressure changes, volume will change in inverse proportion.  Or, if volume changes, pressure will change in inverse proportion.  In other words, when one goes up, the other goes down.  It’s also quite useful in another formulaic representation, which allows us to calculate the resultant volume (or pressure,) assuming the initial volume & pressure and resultant pressure (or volume) is known:

P1V1=P2V2, where:

  • P1  and P2 are the initial, and resultant, pressures (respectively) and
  • V1  and V2 are the initial, and resultant, volumes (respectively)

This is in fact, what happens when compressed air is generated, so this formula is instrumental in many aspects of air system design, such as determining compressor output, reservoir storage, pneumatic cylinder performance, etc.

Back to the reason it’s called “Boyle’s Law” – it’s not because he discovered this particular phenomenon.  See, in April of 1661, two of Robert Boyle’s contemporaries, Richard Towneley and Henry Power, actually discovered the relationship between the pressure and volume of a gas when they took a barometer up & down a large hill with them.  Richard Towneley discussed his finding with Robert Boyle, who was sufficiently intrigued to perform the formal experiments based on what he called “Mr Towneley’s hypothesis.”  So, for completing the steps of Scientific Method on this phenomenon – going from hypothesis to law –  students, scientists, and engineers remember Robert Boyle.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
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IMGP6394 image courtesy of Matt Buck, Creative Commons License

Super Blast Safety Air Guns – High Power Blow Off

Do you need a hand-held tool to blow off a wide area, or something at a long distance? EXAIR has you covered with our Super Blast Safety Air Guns. These Safety Air Guns provide the strongest blowing force of any EXAIR Air Guns – ideal for long distance, wide area blow off, cooling, and drying applications. The comfortable foam rubber handle provides a firm grip, a spring-loaded valve instantly shuts off the air supply if the air gun is dropped.

Super Blast Application
Cleaning a wide area of debris

All of our Super Air Nozzle Clusters and Large Super Air Nozzles can have the added convenience of a comfortable foam rubber handle and our easy to operate spring-loaded manual valve that automatically shuts off it dropped.

Super Blast 2
Super Air Nozzle Clusters and Large Super Air Nozzles

The nozzle material is Zinc Aluminum Alloy, with Stainless Steel available for the models 1214SS and 1215SS. The base Safety Air Guns are 10″ – 15″ long (nozzle type dependent), and a longer extension can be added, in either 3′ or 6′ lengths to gain access to hard to reach areas.

Super Blast Extension
Using a 4′ Extension pipe to get the hard to reach areas.

The table below provides a guide for performance of each of the Super Blast models, for comparison and to make selection easy.  We can provide more details, including dimensional drawings and air flow patterns as required. And as always, the Super Blast Safety Air Guns are in stock, and come with the EXAIR Unconditional 30 Day Guarantee.  

SAG TableIf you have any questions about the Super Blast or any of the EXAIR Safety Air Guns, feel free to contact EXAIR and myself or one of our Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.

Jordan Shouse
Application Engineer
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Video Blog: Cleaning Gen4 Ionizing Bars

EXAIR’s Gen4 Super Ion Air Knife and Ionizing Bars are a great way to relieve static charges in your products and/or processes.  They are a very powerful, efficient design that will eliminate static charges and require only minimal maintenance to keep them performing at peak efficiency.

Check out the video below to see just how easy it is!

When you are looking for expert advice on your static relief application or any of our safe, quiet and efficient point of use compressed air products give us a call.   We would enjoy hearing from you!

Steve Harrison
Application Engineer
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What is Sound and Interesting Facts About Sound

In physics, sound is a wave of pressure. It occurs in a medium, which can be a solid, liquid or gas. Sound cannot travel through a vacuum, such as in space. The wave of pressure reaches our ears and causes the ear drum to vibrate, which then goes through a complex process to ultimately be perceived as audible sound.

There are several characteristics of sound waves that can be measured and help define the sound. A sound wave can be visualized as a repeating sinusoidal wave (see below), and can be described by these properties – frequency and wavelength, amplitude, and speed.

Sound Wave
Sound Wave
  • Frequency is the number of cycles in 1 second, and is measured in Hertz (Hz)
  • Wavelength is the distance over which 1 cycle occurs, and for audible sound is  between 17 m and 17 mm long
  • Amplitude is the measure of its change over a single period, and normally a measure of sound loudness
  • Speed is the distance traveled per unit time

The speed of sound in air can be found using the equation:  a = Sqrt (γ•R•T)

where for air:
γ = ratio of specific heats = 1.4,
R = gas constant = 286 m²/s²/K
T = absolute temperature in °K (273.15 + °C)

At room temperature, 22°C (71.6°F), the speed of sound is 343.8 m/s (760 mph)

Some interesting facts about sound:

  • Sounds generally travels faster in solids and liquids than in gases.
  • You can estimate the distance from a lightning strike by counting the seconds that pass between seeing the lightning flash and hearing the thunder.  Take this duration an divide by 5 to get the distance away, in miles.
  • Humans normally hear sound frequencies between 20 Hz and 20,000 Hz.
  • Sound waves above 20,000 Hz are known as ultrasound, and sound waves below 20 Hz are known as infrasound.
  • Sound travel through water close to 4 times faster then through air.
  • The sound of a cracking whip occurs because the speed of the tip has exceeded the speed of sound.

Sound that is too loud can be a problem. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has set limits on the noise exposure that an employee can be subjected. Exceeding these values can cause permanent damage to your ears and cause noise induced hearing loss. So, knowing and reducing the sound levels within a manufacturing operation is important.

OSHA Chart

EXAIR has many products that can help reduce the sound levels in your processes.  With products such Air Knives, Air Wipes, Air Amplifiers, Air Nozzles and Jets, and Safety Air Guns, strong, quiet and efficient blowoff, drying, and cooling can be performed.

Quiet Products

If you have questions about sound and keeping your sound levels in check or any of the 15 different EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air® Product lines, feel free to contact EXAIR and myself or any of our Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.

Brian Bergmann
Application Engineer
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Compressed Air Demand Preventative Maintenance

Preventative maintenance for compressed air demand products is a simple as keeping the compressed air clean and condensate free. It is simple because all it takes is a filter and keeping the filter element clean, just like you do for your home furnace and/or air conditioner.

I received a phone call from a customer that needed replacement elements for EXAIR filters.  They were using four different models of Filter Separators and Oil Removal Filters.  The filters had been in service for one year, and the internal elements needed to be changed.  They requested a quote to replenish the replacement elements that they stocked as a preventative measurement.  What an idea!

Majority of EXAIR products use compressed air for cleaning, cooling, conveying, static elimination, coating and more.  To help keep your EXAIR products running efficiently, it is important to supply them with clean, dry, pressurized air.  EXAIR offers a line of Filter Separators and Oil Removal Filters to supply quality air to your equipment.  In this blog, I will explain the two types of filters that we carry and the maintenance requirements.  The filters and preventative measures can play an important part in your compressed air system.

Filter Separators are used to remove bulk liquid and contamination from the compressed air stream.  They utilize a 5-micron filter with a mechanical separation to help remove large amounts of dirt and water.  This type of filter would be considered the minimum requirement for filtration.  Most of the Filter Separators come with an auto-drain to automatically dispense the collection of oil and water.  EXAIR offers a variety of port sizes and flow ranges to meet your pneumatic flow requirement.  For maintenance, the filter elements should be changed once a year or when the pressure drop reaches 10 PSID, whichever comes first.  I created a list in Table 1 showing the correct replacement element kits for each model number.  And for any reason, if the bowl or internal components get damaged, we also have Rebuild Kits as well.  Just remember, the air quality is very important for longevity and functionality for pneumatic products and even for EXAIR products.

The Oil Removal Filters can make your compressed air even cleaner.  They work great at removing very small particles of dirt and oil.  They are made from glass fibers and can remove particles down to 0.01 micron.  They are designed to collect small particles and to coalesce the liquid particles into a large droplet for gravity to remove.  Because of the fine matrix, Oil Removal Filters are not great for bulk separation.  If you have a system with lots of oil and water, I would recommend to use the Filter Separator upstream of the Oil Removal Filter.  As with the Filter Separator, the filter element should be changed once a year or at a pressure drop of 10 PSID.  EXAIR also offers a variety of port sizes and flow ranges.  Table 1 below shows the replacement Element Kits as well as the Rebuild Kits.  If the application requires very clean compressed air, the Oil Removal Filter should be used.

Table 1

By using EXAIR filters, they will clean your compressed air to prevent cross contamination, performance issues, and premature failures.  As an ounce of prevention, you can add the replacement elements in stock and enter them in your preventative maintenance program.  With clean quality air, your pneumatic system and EXAIR products will provide you with effective, long-lasting performance without maintenance downtime.  If you would like to discuss the correct type of filters to use in your application, you can speak with an Application Engineer.  We will be happy to help you.

John Ball
Application Engineer
Email: johnball@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_jb