Static Electricity: What Is It And The Products To Solve Industrial Process Problems

The lower relative humidity associated with the cold, dry air of winter results in a significant increase in customers  with problems related to static. Luckily, EXAIR has a wide-range of Static Eliminators that are designed specifically to address static issues in a wide variety of industries. So, what exactly is static and how is it generated? Let’s take a quick trip down memory lane to elementary school science class….

An atom consists of three basic particles: protons, neutrons, and electrons. The protons (positively charged) and neutrons (neutral charge) form the nucleus. Outside of the nucleus, electrons (negatively charged) are quickly zipping around in orbits at specific distances from the nucleus. These electrons are bound to the nucleus due to electromagnetic force. Opposite charges attract. Since the protons in the nucleus carry a positive charge this acts on the negative charge of the electrons and keeps them in orbit. The closer the electron to the nucleus, the stronger the bond and the more energy required to break that electron from its original orbit.

When an atom gains or loses an electron, it affects the balance that occurs within an atom. If an atom gains an electron, it now has more electrons than protons. This results in a negatively charged atom. The opposite can be said if an atom loses an electron, it now carries a positive charge. This charge imbalance is where static electricity comes from. Both positive and negative charges will remain static until contacted by or in close proximity to a conductive or grounded surface. Materials such as paper, plastic, or textiles will normally contain an equal number of both positive and negative ions. When subjected to friction, this balance can be disturbed if the atoms gain or lose an electron.

The static charge will then exert a force on nearby charged objects or grounded conductors (including personnel). These issues can also manifest in the form of dust clinging to product, product clinging to itself, rollers, machine beds or frames, materials jamming, and sheet feeding problems.

To eliminate these charges, EXAIR’s Static Eliminators produce an equal amount of both positive and negatively charged ions. This allows us to neutralize either charge quickly and effectively.

For applications that allow you to install close (generally within 2”) to the surface of the material, we offer our Ionizing Bar in lengths ranging from 3”-108”. If a wide area of coverage is necessary, but you can’t get close to it, the same Ionizing Bar is installed on the Super Ion Air Knife to help deliver those ions over a greater distance.

gen4 super ion air knife
Gen4 SIAK

The Ionizing Point is another product that can be used without the need for compressed air. A compact, single point ionizer, this product is ideal for winding, rewinding or slitting operations. It can also be mounted through a duct to neutralize static charges due to moving air or materials.

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Gen4 Ionizing Point

The Ion Air Gun combines incredibly fast static decay rates with low compressed air consumption. With a 10’ flexible armored cable and ergonomic handle, the Ion Air Gun is best for applications where an operator will perform the blowoff process.

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If the airflow pattern from the Ion Air Gun is conducive to your application, but you’d prefer to automate the blowoff or maintain a continuous usage, both the Ion Air Jet and the Stay Set Ion Air Jet provide an identical airflow pattern. The Stay Set Ion Air Jet comes with a magnetic base and Stay Set Hose, allowing you to precisely position the static eliminating ions in your process.

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The Ion Air Cannon delivers a quit, efficient, and concentrated flow of ionized air. It is ideal for hard to reach spaces or confined areas that necessitate a solution to static problems. Designed with a sturdy stand, the pre-drilled holes can be wall, bench, or machine mounted. It incorporates a swivel adjustment for directing the airflow.

Our Gen4 Static Eliminators have all undergone independent laboratory tests to certify that they meet the rigorous safety, health, and environmental standards of the USA, European Union and Canada that are required to attain the CE and UL marks. If there’s a process in your facility that could benefit from a solution to static problems, please give us a call. Any of our Application Engineers will be happy to help select the best option for your process.

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

The Impact of Cold Temperatures and Lower Humidity on Static Electricity

This time of the year it is not uncommon to feel a slight shock after walking across a carpeted surface and touching a door knob. This little “jolt” is a result of fast-moving electrons leaping from your body to the door knob, or vice versa. As your feet shuffle across the surface of a rug or carpet, your body will either gain or lose electrons. Touching a conductive surface then causes these electrons to leap from one place to another. This is known as static electricity.

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If you notice, this happens to occur much more often during colder winter months (if you’re one of those fortunate people to live outside of this sensation we call “cold” please don’t rub it in!). The reason that you experience static shocks more frequently during winter is due to the relative humidity. At colder temperatures, air does not hold as much moisture as it does when it’s warm and moisture helps to conduct electrical charges. Even though you’re heating your house to a similar temperature, the air that is being drawn into your home and heated is still the dry cold air containing less moisture.

The amount of moisture in the air is expressed as relative humidity. This value is given as a percentage of water vapor in the air, compared to how much it could hold at that temperature. In conditions of lower relative humidity, static charges build up much easier. When the relative humidity is high, there’s a higher concentration of water molecules present in the air. These water molecules “coat” the surface of the material, allowing electrons to move more freely and form a layer over the material. This layer of water molecules acts like a lubricant, reducing the forces that cause static to generate. This is why static is much more noticeable during the winter months.

Gen4 Static
Gen4 Static Eliminators

There are many applications that static only appears when the seasonal climate changes. Issues can manifest in the form of nuisance shocks to operators, materials jamming, tearing or curling, product sticking to itself and to rollers, dust clinging to product, and many more. If static is causing problems in your processes, we have a wide variety of Static Eliminators available from stock. Don’t just deal with the problems until humid conditions return, get a permanent solution in place that’ll neutralize the static and eliminate a troublesome application. Contact an EXAIR Application Engineer today and we’ll help to diagnose the root cause of the problem and recommend the best solution.

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

 

Photo courtesy of Ken Bosma via Flickr Creative Commons License

It’s Starting to Look a Lot Like Static Season

Well the dog days of summer have come to an end, and the cold dry air of winter is on the horizon! There’s one other thing that comes along with the cold dry air of winter, and that’s SANTA! (Sorry that was the child in me).

Actually, it’s STATIC! During the warmer months the moisture in the air does a good job at eliminating a good amount of excess static charge. But as that cold dry air comes into play you need another way to rid your production of static or things will start to go wrong.

Foam Static
Static holding foam bead material to a surface.

In many painting or finishing applications dust and debris from the ambient environment can settle on the part prior to painting or coating. Just blowing them off with a standard air gun won’t remove all of the particles if they’re statically charged. The static must be neutralized in order to remove it or it’ll cause imperfections in the paint or coating. This often results in a high amount of rejected parts that must be scrapped out.

Other processes that benefit from static removal include printing, slitting, molding, sheeting/trimming, shrink wrapping and packaging.

Static Eliminators
Static Eliminators

Break out your fall / winter gear and enjoy the cooler weather and activities that accompany the coming of Fall, but don’t let static wreak havoc in your processes. EXAIR has a wide range of solutions available that are designed to solve these problems. Give an Application Engineer a call and we’ll be happy to help recommend the best solution.

Jordan Shouse
Application Engineer

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EXAIR Gen4 Ionizing Bar Removes Static From Corona Treated Plastic

If you want to print on plastic, it’s challenging – most plastics are chemically inert and non-porous.  That means you can apply all the ink you want; it’s not going to stick.  In the 1950’s, a Danish engineer named Verner Eisby experimented with various techniques to overcome these challenges.  He found that exposing the surface to be printed on to gas flame or sparks modified the surface to improve adhesion with the ink.  It did so, though, in a crude & uneven manner, leaving imperfections & inconsistencies in the printed product.  He then tried applying a high frequency corona discharge in a linear array.  The plasma (gas in an ionized state) generated left a homogeneously treated surface on which to print, smoothly & evenly.

This has become the “industry standard” for many of the labels we see on commercial products, from shampoo & wine bottles on the grocery store shelf, to pennants & banners at public events.  It also leaves the surface even more prone to picking up a static charge from rolling or unrolling, stacking, sliding, etc.

One of our customers makes a great many labels for all kinds of these commercial products, and uses an EXAIR Gen4 Ionizing Bar immediately prior to the printing operation:

Model 8024 24″ Gen4 Ionizing Bar removes static from Corona treated plastic label film.

EXAIR Corporation has a variety of Static Eliminator Products to fit most any industrial or commercial application.  If you’d like to find out more, give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
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Static Elimination Improves Credit Card Printing and Production

PVC Base Sheet for Credit Cards

A company that made credit cards was having issues in their print quality, and static was the culprit.  They used PVC sheets as a base material to print on, and like with any non-conductive materials, static can be generated easily and create problems.  For this company, static was attracting dirt to the surface of the material, causing blemishes in the print.  They contacted EXAIR to find a solution.

When non-conductive materials slide, hit, peel, and rub; electrons from the surface can move from one atom to another; thus, creating static.  The type of material and the amount of movement governs the amount of static forces.  These strong static forces can attack debris and fibers, as well as generate shocks, misalignment, and machine jamming.  Another feature of static is that it can regenerate if the materials continue to slide, hit, peel, and rub.

For the company above, they were printing on 30 cm by 48 cm (12” X 19”) PVC sheets.  They used three different processes to print a complete credit card; silkscreen, digital, and offset.  After each printing process, they would lose sections of the sheet due to poor image quality.  At the end, they were losing between 20 to 30% in visual rejections.

For this application, we had to do two operations; remove the static and clean the surface from debris.  The Gen4 Super Ion Air Knife can do both of these operations at the same time.  With the laminar air stream that comes from the Super Air Knife, it can carry both positive and negative ions from the attached Gen4 Ionizing Bar.  Together, they can remove any type of static charge as well as becoming a very effective tool as a non-contact wiper to remove debris.  With this ability, the print quality would not be affected during cleaning.  Since static is a surface phenomenon, I recommended to also remove the static from the other side of the sheets.  We did not want to have any dirt or debris that could be remaining on the bottom surface to transfer from one surface to the next during stacking.  This could scrape the finish during loading and unloading of the sheets.

I recommended two pieces of a model 112012 Gen4 Super Ion Air Knives that are manufactured to 12” (30 cm) in length.  This customer can easily mount one above the sheet and one below the sheet prior to printing.  To operate the attached Gen4 Ionizing Bar, EXAIR offers two types of power supplies, a two-output unit, model 7960, and a four-output unit, model 7961.  They can save you money when needing multiple Static Eliminators to operate in your system.  With a model 7960 Gen4 Power Supply, they now had a system to remove static and clean the sheets.  Once they installed the Gen4 Super Ion Air Knives onto their system, the rejection rate dropped to near zero.

All EXAIR Gen4 Static Eliminators use one of two Power Supplies – your choice of the 2-port Model 7960, or the 4-port Model 7961.

Rejected parts are costly, wasteful, and reduce production rates.  If you have rejection from static problems in your system, EXAIR has a large line of Static Eliminators to help you.  You can contact an Application Engineer to review your application.  For the customer above, the Gen4 Super Ion Air Knives made it possible to generate more credit cards per sheet.

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

Static Elimination for Hose, Pipe, Extrusion, Cable and Wire

EXAIR’s  Gen4 Super Ion Air Wipe provides a uniform 360 degree ionized air stream that clamps around a continuously moving part to eliminate static electricity and contaminants. It is ideal for removing dust, particulates and personnel shocks on pipe, cable, extruded shapes, hose, wire and more. This engineered product has undergone independent laboratory tests to certify it meets the rigorous safety, health and environmental standards of the USA, European Union and Canada that are required to attain the CE and UL marks. It is also RoHS compliant. New design features include a metal armored high voltage cable to protect against abrasion and cuts, a replaceable emitter point, integrated ground connection and electromagnetic shielding.

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The Gen4 Super Ion Air Wipe uses a small amount of compressed air to entrain high volumes of ambient air. Two shockless ionizing points powered by our Gen4 UL Component Recognized 5kV Power Supply fills the air stream with static eliminating ions. That airflow impacts the surface of the material running through the air wipe and neutralizes the charge.

The Gen4 Super Ion Air Wipe, which compliments EXAIR’s complete line of Gen4 Static Eliminators, has an aluminum construction that is lightweight and easy to mount using the tapped holes provided. Two sizes include a 2 inch (51mm) diameter and a 4 inch (102mm). There are no moving parts to wear out. Visit EXAIR.com to see the entire Gen4 Static Eliminator product line and 1/2 inch through 11 inch Super Air Wipes for applications without static.

Purchase a Gen4 Super Ion Air Wipe through our online promotional before March 31st, 2019 and receive a fee AC Sensor.

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To discuss your application and how an EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Product can help your process, 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: Gen4 Power Rocker Switch Replacement

With the Gen4 Static Eliminators, EXAIR has added some great features and upgrades.  In this video, I will show you how to replace the power rocker switch for the model 7960 and 7961 Power Supplies.  Watch how to do it here:

 

John Ball
Application Engineer

Email: johnball@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_jb