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:
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.
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.
EXAIR’sGen4 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.
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.
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:
If you’re having problems with static build up on small and/or lightweight materials where even the smallest amount of airflow can disturb the product, EXAIR has the perfect solution, the EXAIR Gen4 Ionizing Point. The Gen4 Ionizing Point is a single point ionizer that lends itself naturally to winding, rewinding, slitting or a myriad of other applications. It can even be mounted through the wall of a duct to neutralize static charges in an existing air or conveyance duct.
The Gen4 Ionizing Point is very powerful and robust solution that can dissipate 5,000 volts in .24 seconds from 2″ (51mm) away! The Gen4 Ionizing Point features an electromagnetically shielded high-voltage cable that is armored to protect against abrasion and cuts and its integrated ground design does not require a separate ground connection. For even more convenience the Gen4 Ionizing Point is replaceable if the point should ever become dull or bent.
Its smaller footprint naturally lends itself to installation into the limited space normally associated with smaller applications. The stainless steel, and replaceable, emitter point is mounted in a saddle that is 1.77″ (45mm) long by 1″ (26mm) wide and includes two .20″ (5mm) mounting holes that are 1.44″ (37mm) apart for easy mounting.
Gen4 Ionizing Points are supplied power by either the model 7960 power supply which can operate up to two ionizing products or the 7961 that can operate up to four ionizing products. Both models feature selectable voltage to run on either 115 VAC or 230 VAC.
Static electricity can cause jamming of machines, misalignment, collection of dirt and debris, and shock hazards to personnel. EXAIR manufactures a variety of Static Eliminators to remove this common nuisance. In this blog, I will examine our most versatile product within the Static Eliminators; the Gen4 Ion Air Jets.
The Gen4 Ion Air Jets are a modification to the EXAIR Air Jets. The Air Jets create a high velocity air stream along an engineered Coanda profile. This profile will create a low pressure at the entrance of the Air Jet to draw in ambient air. This makes the Air Jet very efficient as it utilizes more ambient air than compressed air at a ratio of 5:1. Also, with the engineered design, we are able to create a laminar air stream to carry ions to the target.
The ions are generated at the exit of the Air Jet by an ionizing point. This ionizer can create a large amount of positive and negative ions. This allows for two things to occur. They are able to eliminate any type of static charge, and they can establish a fast decay rate in removing the static charges. The replaceable emitter point inside the Gen4 Ion Air Jet allows for an easy, cost-effective way to recondition the unit for years of life.
What operates the Gen4 Ion Air Jet is the power supply. It is the “engine” behind the ion generation. EXAIR offers two types; the model 7960 which has two output ports and the model 7961 which has four output ports. They are very useful to operate multiple units with just one power supply. They have a selectable input voltage to operate between 115Vac and 230Vac. The transmission line that connects the Gen4 Power Supply to the Gen4 Ion Air Jet is our high voltage cable. This cable has an armored coating to resist cuts and wear. It also has an integrated ground and is electromagnetically shielded. Together with the Gen4 Ion Air Jet, you get a compact powerful unit that can remove static quickly for spot blowing and cleaning.
Overall, the operation of the Gen4 Ion Air Jet is similar to the Gen4 Ion Air Gun; but, with the Ion Air Jet, it is mainly used for “hands-free” operations. With a small amount of compressed air, the unit can “shoot” the ions onto a small surface up to 15 feet (4.5 meters) away. They are very quiet, and they meet the OSHA requirements for dead-end pressure and noise allowance. They are very easy to control with a regulator to adjust the flow from a breeze to a blast. The design of the ionizing point is shockless and does not use any radioactive materials. The applications would include neutralizing static and cleaning objects for three-dimensional parts, screen printing, glass lenses, shrink bands and much more.
The Gen4 Ion Air Jet is the most versatile product in our Static Eliminator line. It can be permanently mounted or attached to a Stay Set Hose for flexible adjustments and maneuverability. EXAIR packages the Gen4 Ion Air Jets with other products to make it easy to set-up, control, and operate. Here are the packages that EXAIR stocks for quick delivery.
Model: 8194 – The Gen4 Ion Air Jet only. It comes with a 5 foot (1.5 meter) armored and electromagnetically shielded cable. They are typically used for permanent mounts with a 1/8” NPT male connection, and are generally purchased with the other packages below.
Model: 8294 – The Gen4 Ion Air Jet with a model 7960 Gen4 Power Supply. This unit is the basic requirement for a permanent mount application. The Gen4 Power Supply has two outputs, so it can support another Gen4 Ion Air Jet.
Model: 8494 – Gen4 Ion Air Jet Kit. This kit includes the Gen4 Ion Air Jet, Gen4 Power Supply, a filter separator and a pressure regulator with coupling kit. This kit allows for cleaning the compressed air before entering the Gen4 Ion Air Jet as well as controlling the air requirements. So, you will be able to maximize the efficiency of these units.
Model: 8194-9362 – Gen4 Stay Set Ion Air Jet. We attach the Ion Air Jet to a 12” Stay Set Hose and a magnetic base with shut-off valve. The magnetic base will hold the Gen4 Ion Air Jet to a steel surface while the 12” Stay Set Hose gives flexibility to direct the ionized air at a specific point. This product works great if the Ion Air Jet need to be moved into different locations. (This does not include the Gen4 Power Supply)
Model: 8294-9362 – This is the Gen4 Stay Set Ion Air Jet (as described in the package above) with a model 7960 Gen4 Power Supply.
Model: 8494-9362 – This is the Gen4 Stay Set Ion Air Jet Kit. Like with the standard units, this package will add a filter separator and a pressure regulator to the model 8294-9362.
Model: 8495-9362 – Gen4 Deluxe Stay Set Ion Air Jet Kit. The Deluxe Kit includes additional items to the model 8494-9362 package. It will include a foot pedal and 10 feet (3 meters) of a compressed air hose. The foot pedal gives this system that “hands-free” operation to turn on/off the air flow to the Gen4 Ion Air Jet to blow air only when you need it.
Model: 8910 – Gen4 Instant Static Elimination Station. This is a slight modification to the 8495-9362 Deluxe Kit. The filter separator and pressure regulator are replaced with an additional 10 foot (3 meter) compressed air line. Now you can connect from the compressed air source to the foot pedal to the magnetic base. Once you attach the Gen4 Ion Air Jet to the supplied Gen4 Power Supply, you have a station ready to operate.
Static creates process problems, reduces productivity, and costs you money. EXAIR manufactures a large line of Static Eliminators that can help you. If you need a compact, low-cost ionizer to blow off and clean small targets, then the Gen4 Ion Air Jet would be a great option. You can contact an Application Engineer at EXAIR to see which package would work best for you to remove that static nuisance.
In the winter, as the temperature gets colder and colder and the air is getting drier and drier, static becomes a larger problem. In the summer, water in the air can help dissipate the electrons that we pick up as we move around, but when the air is drier, the static charge collects and clings to surfaces, building up until… zap! This can be a huge problem for companies as static can cause products to bunch up and not process correctly. Or even worse static can build so much it can shock electrical devices causing costly repairs and downtime. That’s whyEXAIR has a full catalog of static eliminating products, and we will talk about them and what each product is best suited for!
The most popular Static Eliminator we sell is our Gen4 Super Ion Air Knife! By combining a Gen4 Ionizing Barwith a Super Air Knife, The Gen4 Super Ion Air Knifeprovides rapid static elimination AND blows off any dust, chips, or debris that was being statically held to the surface. The laminar curtain of ionized air not only maximizes the rate of static dissipation, but is also ideal for stripping/sweeping away any debris, leaving a clean, static-free surface. No more jamming, tearing, nuisance shocks to operators, dust attraction, or any of the other host of problems associated with static electricity.
EXAIR’sGen4 Super Ion Air Wipe provides a uniform 360° ionized airstream that is simple to clamp around a part for reducing static electricity and cleaning contaminants. It is great for use on pipe, cable, extruded shapes, hose, wire and much more. We offer the Gen4 Super Ion Air Wipe in either 2” or 4” inner diameter, it is powered by compressed air and an external power supply. The Gen4 Super Ion Air Wipe generates both positive and negative ions that are transmitted the emitter points located on the i.d. of the wipe. Since static charges can be either negative or positive it is easy to eliminate both states of charge due to the mixed polarity of ions being generated.
To put it simple the Gen4 Ion Air Cannon is based on the mechanics of the 2″ diameter Super Air Amplifier with added static reduction capabilities and as its name implies it amplifies the supply air up to 25 times! This highly engineered product is very effective at cleaning product and reducing static at distances of up to 15′ away.
EXAIR’s Gen4 Ion Air Jet is a compact ionizer that is capable of delivering a concentrated ionized airflow that will cover a precise spot without disturbing the rest of the process. The quiet, focused air stream can quickly eliminate the static charge on surfaces. At a pressure of 80 psig the Gen4 Ion Air Jet is capable of dissipating a 5kV charge in .18 seconds!
In addition to providing rapid static decay, the Gen4 Ion Air Jet also helps to minimize compressed air use while maximizing the ionizing airflow. Utilizing a specially designed shim, the Gen4 Ion Air Jet entrains ambient air at a rate of 5:1. The airflow can easily be adjusted from a forceful blast to a gentle breeze simply by increasing or decreasing the inlet pressure to the ionizer.
Ion Air Jet on a Stay set hose.
Ion Air Jet
You can also get the Gen4 Ion Air Jetin a handheld gun option, this is called our Gen4 Ion Air Gun. This is great for applications where your operator is doing the static elimination and blow several times a shift by hand.
If you have an application that you believe would be better served by the use of an EXAIR Gen4 Static Elimination product, give us a call.