Levitating Spoons – is it Magic or Static Electricity?

I remember as a young lad watching a magician making a dollar bill disappear or a paper clip levitate.  The power of illusions.

An injection molding company was having issues in removing their parts from a tool.  This company made plastic spoons in a multi-cavity tool.  During the start of the operation, they noticed that some of the spoons (reference photo below)  were “sticking” to the mold surface.  Some spoons looked like they spoon were “defying gravity” .  It was not an illusion of levitation, but static.

Static charges can dramatically slow down production rates with plastic materials.  In this instance, the operator had to remove the spoons manually prior to restarting another cycle on the machine.  They measured roughly 30% of the time that they would have to stop their operation.  To counteract the parts sticking, they attempted to mount a pipe with drill holes above the tool.  They tried to use the force from the compressed air to remove any stragglers that remained in the tool.  This is a simple and easy-to-do method; but with this type of blow-off, it is very loud, inefficient and not real effective.

They only saw a slight improvement in part removal as they still had to stop roughly 28% of the time.  The bottom portion of the cavities still had spoons remaining in the tool.  With the amount of money being lost from slow production rates and the possibility of tool damage, they decided to contact EXAIR.

Spoon not falling from tool

In today’s injection molding market, tool coatings are commonly used to extend tool life and increase lubricity.  When a buffer is placed between plastic parts and the tool surface, static can be generated and become a real issue.  With the company above, the spoons were sticking in different areas of the tool depending on the static buildup.  If they can neutralize the static charges, then the spoons cannot defy gravity.

I recommended our model 112212 Gen4 Super Ion Air Knife Kit.  The Gen4 Super Ion Air Knife is designed to efficiently blow air and to carry both positive and negative ions to remove any kind of static charge.  For this model, it comes with a 12” (30.5 cm) long Super Air Knife with a Gen4 Ionizing Bar attached.  With the compact and lightweight design, it could easily be positioned above the tool to operate.  The kit also includes a power supply to power the ionizer, a filter to clean the compressed air, a regulator to control the force, and a shim set to modify force changes.  This complete kit had everything required to begin operations to remove static.

The customer only had to attach the unit to a compressed air source.  Once they started using the Gen4 Super Ion Air Knife, the removal rate of parts went to 100%.  As an added benefit, when the drilled pipe was replaced, the noise level dropped as well as the compressed air usage reduced.  By adding an EXAIR Gen4 Super Ion Air Knife to their process, the production rate was now maximized.

Model 112212 Gen4 Super Ion Air Knife

Static within injection molding processes can cause crushed parts, slower production rates, and even more costly; tool damage.  If you believe that static is causing things to “defy gravity”, EXAIR has a great range of Gen4 Static Eliminator products to remove that “magic” force.  And, for the company above, they didn’t have to continually watch their money “disappear”.

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

 

Photo by: Magic Hat by KCADRCCreative Commons CC0.

Eliminating False Image Readings Using The Gen4 Stay Set Ion Air Jet

I was recently contacted by a medical device manufacturer who was interested in implementing a Static Eliminator in their production process. They have a manually operated vision station where a plastic substrate, about the same size as a credit card, is placed into a nest then a small amount of liquid is deposited onto the surface. An operator takes a picture of the liquid and substrate and the image is analyzed. The part is stationary in the nest until the image is taken.  When the station is done, the plastic part is manually removed from the nest.

After some internal testing, they determined that static build up on the plastic part was causing the liquid to move, or “bounce” as they placed it, which was leading to a significant drop in their manufacturing yield due to faulty readings. The cycle time from taking the initial  image and the analysis results is roughly 2 seconds so they were needing something that would quickly remove the charge on the plastic part.

The customer was able to email some photos and after further review, EXAIR recommended they use our Gen4 Stay Set Ion Air Jet in the process. The Gen4 Ion Air Jet is a compact ionizer delivering a quiet, focused ionized air stream to quickly eliminate the static charge on the surface of a material or object. Operating at 20 PSIG, the Gen4 Ion Air Jet is capable of dissipating a 5kV charge in 0.45 seconds while maintaining a low sound level of only 67 dBA. The Ion Air Jet entrains ambient air at a rate of 5:1 and the airflow can be adjusted from a “blast” to a “breeze” simply by increasing or decreasing the inlet pressure. The Gen4 Stay Set Ion Air Jet includes our 12” Stay Set Hose which holds position until it is physically repositioned and a magnetic base for easy installation.

If you have an application that requires a concentrated, ionized airflow or for help with selecting the best product to fit your need, give me call at 800-903-9247 for assistance.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

 

A Tale of Two Super Ion Air Knives

A manufacturer of plastic bottles had a problem with static charge. Right after the bottles are extruded and cooled, they have an apparatus that “unscrambles” them and places them, single file, onto a conveyor. It does so with some fabric belts and plastic rollers. If you know anything of static electricity, dear reader, you probably recognize that there aren’t too many better ways to generate a static charge than to rub plastic against plastic, or (even worse) plastic & fabric together.  Here’s a prime example of the kind of static charge you can get, just from unrolling plastic film.

The separation of the non-conductive surfaces (like when this plastic film is unrolled) is capable of generating an incredible amount of static charge.

Now, the bottle makers didn’t have a static meter, but they didn’t need one to know they had issues:  the bottles that the “unscrambler” was putting on the belt were still very much “scrambled.”  They installed a Model 112209 9″ GEN4 Super Ion Air Knife Kit, to blow ionized air up from under the bottles as they entered the belt conveyor, and they did see what they’d call an improvement, but not quite what they’d call a solution.

Unfortunately, dissipating the static from just about half of the surface area of the bottle was still leaving them with half a problem.  However, by adding a Model 112009 9″ GEN4 Super Ion Air Knife (the 112209 Kit’s Power Supply has two outlets, and its Filter Separator & Pressure Regulator are capable of handling the flow to two 9″ Air Knives,) they were able to blow ionized air down from the other side, and up from where the first one was installed.  A soft “breeze” was all it took…a stronger air flow would have worked against the “unscrambler” anyway…because even at very low supply pressures, the Super Ion Air Knives produce an extremely fast static dissipation rate.

Even with a 5psig supply…which makes for just a “whisper” of air flow, the EXAIR GEN4 Super Ion Air Knife eliminates a 5kV charge in under half a second.

If you’ve got problems with static charge, we’ve not only got improvements; we’ve got solutions. Give me a call to find out how we can help.

What is a GEN4 Ion Air Cannon?

Quite simply the GEN4 Ion Air Cannon is based on the mechanics of the 2″ diameter Super Air Amplifier that has 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.

GEN4 IAC

The GEN4 Ion Air Cannon comes in a handy stand/mounting unit for easy installation in a wide variety of applications. It can be mounted to machine frames, mounted out of the way from a process, or placed on a bench top.

GEN4 IAC Dimensions

The GEN4 Super Ion Air Cannon can work with as little as 10 PSI supply pressure.

GEN4 IAC Performance

The GEN4 Ion Air Cannon is used in many applications such as bottling, manufacturing of solar panels and preparing new automobile car bodies to be painted – to name a few. Wherever static reduction and/or cleaning is required the Ion Air Cannon can contribute.

It is offered in a kit that can include the 7960 power supply, pressure regulator for fine adjustments, filter/separator to keep the air clean and dry and a shim set for gross adjustments or just the GEN4 Ion Air Cannon and the 7960 power supply.  Of course all components are also available individually.

If you would like to discuss reducing static and/or cleaning materials, I would enjoy hearing from you…give me a call.

Steve Harrison
Application Engineer

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3 Ways Static Electricity is Generated

EXAIR published a whitepaper, Basics of Static Electricity, explaining what causes static electricity, how it is generated, and steps to eliminate it. Download it now by clicking the link, and begin to eliminate the static problems on your plant or process.

In this blog, I would like to expand on the subject about how static can be generated.  On a molecular scale, the outer electrons that are orbiting the nucleus can be “stripped” and redistributed from one atom to another.  This will cause an electrical charge imbalance called static.  An additional electron will create negatively charged static while atoms losing an electron will create a positively charged static.  With non-conductive materials like plastic, paper, rubber, glass, etc, the electrons cannot move back to the original atom. There are three common methods of static generation that will cause this phenomenon to occur.  I will explain each one in brief detail below:

  1. Contact – Whenever objects hit each other, electrons can be passed to or received from the surface of another object. The number of electrons being transferred is based on the type of triboelectric material.  But, with plastic bottles or trays bumping into each other on conveyor belts, static is being generated.

    Contact
  2. Detachment – when one material is being separated from another material by peeling, electrons may not able to return back to the original molecule. Adhesive tape and protective films are prevalent in generating static charges by detachment because of the larger surface areas.  As an example; when the backing material is being removed from labels, the static will cause the labels to be misaligned.

    Detachment
  3. Frictional – This is one of the most common reasons for generating large static forces. It is caused by two non-conductive surfaces being rubbed together.  The amount of force being applied to the material as it slides back and forth will create higher static charges.   It is definitely noticed when you rub a balloon on your hair.  The more times that you rub the balloon against your hair, the stronger the static forces, allowing the balloon to “stick” to the wall.  It is also noticed as sheets of material are stacked or running over rollers.

    Friction

Static tends to propagate.  The more contact, detachment, and friction that occurs; the higher the static charges.  Even when the static is removed from the surface, static charges can still regenerate by the mechanisms above.  So, controlling the static can be determined by the treatment process as well as the location.

Another variable that affects the static generation is humidity.  Most process problems are noticed during the winter seasons as the ambient air is drier.  With a lower relative humidity, the development of static is enhanced; making it easier to produce static as well as creating a higher static force.  We always refer to winter as static season.

Production problems with static can occur like dirty surfaces, tearing, alignment, jamming and shock to personnel.  EXAIR has a number of Static Eliminators to remove these process snags and down time that will cost your company money.  You can contact an Application Engineer at EXAIR to discuss any static issues that are being generated.

John Ball
Application Engineer

Email: johnball@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_jb

 

EXAIR Product Overview: Static Eliminating Gen4 Ion Air Jet

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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 Ion Air Jet is capable of dissipating a 5kV charge in .18 seconds!

8194
Model 8194 Gen4 Ion Air Jet

In addition to providing rapid static decay, the Ion Air Jet also helps to minimize compressed air use while maximizing the ionizing airflow. Utilizing a specially designed shim, the Ion Air Jet entrains ambient air at a rate of 5:1. The Ion Air Jet can be adjusted from a “blast” to a “breeze” simply by increasing or decreasing the inlet pressure to the ionizer.

The Ion Air Jet can be used in both fixed, permanent solutions as well as those that will require frequent re-positioning. For applications requiring a fixed position of the ionizer, the compact Gen4 Ion Air Jet is an ideal solution. It’s lightweight and easy to install with the 1/8 NPT male inlet. For applications where the positioning of the ionizer may need to be adjusted, look to the flexible Gen4 Stay Set Ion Air Jet. Utilizing a Stay Set Hose, The Gen4 Stay Set Ion Air Jet can be frequently adjusted to focus the air stream at a specific area. The hose will maintain rigidity and will not creep or bend, making it an ideal solution when accommodating different parts. The Gen4 Stay Set Ion Air Jet comes with a strong magnetic base that allows for easy mounting and portability. The 8910 Instant Blowoff Station is another option that includes the Gen4 Stay Set Ion Air Jet, power supply, foot pedal, and compressed air hoses for applications that can benefit from hands free operation.

8910 (2)
Components included with the 8910 Instant Static Elimination Station include everything shown

Cold weather is still upon us. With colder temperatures come lower levels of humidity, with lower humidity comes an increase in static problems. Don’t let static hold you down. Whether it’s cleaning glass jars, removing dust from plastic medical components in a clean-room operation, or keeping a laser lens clean to eliminate false readings, EXAIR has the solution to keep you running smoothly.

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

Product Overview – Gen4 Ion Air Gun

Within industrial processes, static electricity can lead to a variety of problems like printing errors, harmful shock, damaged product or shorted life for electrical components. EXAIR offers a wide range of static eliminating products that can help control this nuisance and restore material to an electrically balanced state.

When it comes to a static causing problems with a manual operation, our Gen4 Ion Air Gun is the preferred choice. The Gen4 Ion Air Gun incorporates a thumb trigger air gun with an ionizer attached to deliver a bulk of positive and negative ions to quickly eliminate the surface charge of a material, up to 5kV in only 0.18 seconds, when operated at 80 PSIG.

Easy to use, effective static elimination

The Model # 8193 Gen4 Ion Air Gun is shipped from stock with a 10′ flexible armored and electromagnetic shielded cable to protect against potential damage in an industrial setting. (special length cables up to 50′ are available if needed).  The cable assembly can also be easily removed for cleaning or replacing of the stainless steel emitter point, allowing for worry free, proper operation.

Here is a short video showing how to change the emitter point:

The Gen4 Ion Air Gun is UL recognized for the US and Canada and CE compliant, meeting the product requirements for items being sold in European markets. It also meets 2 important OSHA directives relating to the safe use of compressed air. The first being OSHA Standards 29 CFR 1910.242(b), requiring that the outlet pressure of an open pipe, nozzle, air gun, etc., when used for cleaning purposes, must remain below 30 PSI when dead-ended. The second being Standard 29 CFR 1910.95(a), protecting workers from potential injury related to dangerous sound levels of 90 dBA or higher. Additionally, the Gen4 Ion Air Gun is RoHS compliant as well.

Model # 7960 and Model # 7961 Gen4 Power Supplies – 115VAC or 230VAC, fuse protection, modular cable

They are designed to be used with our Gen4 Power Supplies, Model # 7960 with 2 outlets or the Model # 7961 with 4 outlets for powering multiple ionizers. The Gen4 Power Supplies are selectable voltage, 115VAC or 230VAC, and feature a 6′ modular power cord and lighted power switch.

To discuss how the Gen4 Ion Air Gun or any of our other products can help solve your process needs, give me a call at 800-903-9247.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN