Calibration – Keep Your Meters True

EXAIR offers meters to measure the level of physical parameters such as sound and static. Each meter has sensitive electrical circuitry and a periodic calibration is recommended to ensure the meter readings are tried and true.

The model 9104 Digital Sound Level Meter is an easy to use instrument that measures and monitors the sound level pressure in a wide variety of industrial environments. The source of loud noises can be quickly identified so that corrective measures can be taken to keep sound levels at or below OSHA maximum allowable exposure limits.

The sound meter comes from the factory with an NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) certificate of accuracy and calibration.  As a good practice, EXAIR recommends a yearly calibration of the instrument, and we offer a service that calibrates the unit to the same NIST standards and provide a written report of the calibration.

The model 7905 Static Meter allows easy one-hand static measurements.  It is useful in both locating sources of high static charge and checking the reduction of static after treatment with an EXAIR Static Elimination product.  The unit is sensitive and responsive, and indicates the the surface polarity of objects up to +/- 20 kV when measured from 1″ away.

It is also recommended that the Static Meter be calibrated on a yearly basis.  EXAIR offers (3) levels of calibration service.  The first two provide calibration in accordance with MIL Standards using accepted procedures and standards traceable to NIST.  The third calibration service conforms to the same Mil Standard, as well as ISO/IEC standards.

Annual calibration service of your EXAIR Digital Sound and Static Meter, along with proper care and storage, will keep your meter performing tried and true for many years, providing accurate and useful measurements.

To initiate a calibration service, give us a call and an Application Engineer will issue an Returned Good number, and provide instructions on how to ship the meter to EXAIR.

If you have questions regarding calibration services for your meters or would like to talk about any EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air® Product, feel free to contact EXAIR and myself or one of our Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.

Brian Bergmann
Application Engineer

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EXAIR Mini Chip Vac: Phase 2 for Improving Medical Devices

Medical Anatomy

In my previous blog about the manufacturing facility that machined small plastic components for the medical industry, I explained how the Stay Set Ion Air Jet Kit was able to improve the machining process by eliminating static.  (You can read the blog here: EXAIR Ion Air Jets: Phase 1 for improving medical devices).  With their machining center being in a semi-clean room, cleanliness was very important.  So, after each machining operation, they would have to sweep the plastic chips from the machining table and discard.  This extended the cycle time in their machining operation.

Since they had such a great relationship with EXAIR in dealing with their previous application, they contacted us again to improve their cleanup operation.  Non-conductive materials like plastic generates static on the surface when the material is peeled, shifted, or rubbed against another surface.  Since we removed the static from the plastic shavings with the Stay Set Ion Air Jet, we wanted to target that area before static could regenerate and start “sticking” to clean parts.  In getting more details about their setup, they were machining with vertical CNC mills.  The mills had a platform table that had a pneumatic fixture to grab the medical part.  Before machining began, the operators would have to close Plexiglas doors as a safety requirement.  The CNC mills did have an opening at the top of the machine.  (This was where they were supplying the Stay Set Ion Air Jet with compressed air and power supply.)

Mini Chip Vac

With my experience, I had a good suggestion for refining their cleaning operation.  I suggested the model 6193-5 Mini Chip Vac System.  This system uses compressed air to generate a vacuum for picking up chips.  The vacuum generator does not have any moving parts or bearings to wear; so, they are very durable and long-lasting.  The Mini Chip Vac System uses a 5 gallon drum which is very compact and easy to use in tight areas.  The system includes a 0.1 micron filter to keep all the contamination inside the drum and not allowing it to escape back into the room air.  (Very necessary in a semi-clean location.)  Even for its small size, the Mini Chip Vac is very powerful and quiet.  It has a decibel rating of only 77 dBA; so, noise will not be a nuisance when operating the vacuum.  It comes standard with a 10 foot vacuum hose which make it easy to reach into tight areas to clean.

As a suggestion, I recommended that they could collect the plastic shaving during the machining process Instead of waiting until after the operation to clean.  They could mount the Mini Chip Vac drum near the machine, and bring in the vacuum hose through the opening at the top.  The suction end of the vacuum could be placed on the opposite side of the Stay Set Ion Air Jet.  In conjunction, the Stay Set Ion Air Jet would remove the static and swarf from the plastic surface; at the same time, the Mini Chip Vac would collect and remove the plastic shavings from the machining area.  This combination of EXAIR products would keep the parts clean as well as the machining area.  When they installed the Mini Chip Vac System into their process, they almost doubled their production rate.

If you are dealing with messy chips in your machining operation, the EXAIR Chip Vac Systems can be a solution for you.  For the customer above, I was able to find a simple way to use the Mini Chip Vac to keep the area clean and increase their production rates.  If you are spending too much time in cleaning up your area, you can contact an Application Engineer to find the best solution to streamline your operation.

John Ball
Application Engineer

Email: johnball@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_jb

 

Photo: Muscles Anatomy Medical Human by Heblo/64.  CC0 Public Domain

Super Ion Air Knife Removes Debris In Vinyl Window And Door Manufacturing

I recently worked with a vinyl window and door manufacturer on a static issue they were experiencing during the manufacturing process. After the aluminum frames are cut to length they are placed into a holding fixture where the vinyl seals are placed in a channel inside the frame and clamped together. A machining tool then travels around the parts to trim and machine the excess material, creating dust and some small chips. They tried to vacuum the debris away but were still seeing some residual material cling to the surface due to static, which resulted in manual rework of the parts, slowing down the production cycle.

Vinyl window – similar to the window being produced by the customer

The customer was able to send a drawing of the holding fixture for reference and after reviewing the information, I recommended they use our 18″ Super Ion Air Knife Kit in this application. The Super Ion Air Knife provides a high velocity, laminar sheet of ionized air across the length of the knife. As the positive and negative ions neutralize the surface charge, the airflow is able to clean the part of the unwanted material so it can be more easily vacuumed away. Using the regulator included in the kit, they can reduce the supply pressure to control the outlet flow and velocity to an acceptable level that doesn’t disrupt the current process.

Super Ion Air Knives are available in standard lengths from 3″ up to 108″ and ship from stock.

If you have an application you would like to discuss or are considering an EXAIR product for your process, please contact an application engineer for assistance.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

 

Vinyl Slider Window with Grid image courtesy of Steve Anderson via Creative Commons License

 

EXAIR Ion Air Jets: Phase 1 for Improving Medical Devices

Medical Anatomy

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.

Stay Set Ion Air Jet

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.

John Ball
Application Engineer

Email: johnball@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_jb

 

Photo: Muscles Anatomy Medical Human by heblo/64.  CC0 Public Domain.

Super Ion Air Knife Removes Foil Dots In Lid Cutting Operation

I recently received an inquiry from a food manufacturer about a packaging line they were having issues with.  The plant fills continuous rows of thermo-formed cups which is then sealed with a single foil lid. Once sealed, a machine cuts the row to separate the cups, which creates small scrap pieces of foil. After the cutting operation, they try to collect as much of the waste trim as possible but some small pieces of foil, they call “dots”, cling to the surface of the cup and cutter due to static charge.  The company installed a vacuum collection hood in this area, to try and help keep the foil pieces or any dust from falling onto the cup during the process. While this did help somewhat, some dots would remain and eventually fall off further down the line, making small piles that needed to be manually cleaned to avoid potential jams, which slowed down their production cycle.

The cups are filled and separated on a 44″ wide, mesh-screen conveyor with individual lanes to process multiple rows of cups. After being cut, the cups are moved to the inspection area and then packaged for shipment.  I recommended they mount a 48″ Super Ion Air Knife above and below the cups and direct the airflow to the end where the vacuum collection hood is located. The idea is, as the ions eliminate the charge, the small foil dots will release and the laminar airflow would keep the parts moving toward the vacuum hood, thus removing all foil trim and preventing any piling of trim further down the production line.

The Super Ion Air Knife produces a sheet of ionized air capable of dissipating 5 kV in just a fraction of a second!

EXAIR offers a wide selection of Static Eliminators for use in a variety of industrial processes. If you are experiencing static concerns in a particular area or to discuss a specific process, please contact an application engineer for assistance.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

Ion Air Jet Keeps Laser Scanner Lens Clean, Eliminates False Reads

An automobile manufacturer was looking for a solution to keep their laser scanner lens clean in their body welding process. The Automatic Guided Vehicles or “AGV’s” are equipped with a laser safety scanner mounted on the front and back of each vehicle, used to detect any foreign objects in it’s travel path. The scanners are fitted with a polycarbonate protective lens and as the vehicles travel through the system, the lens can build up a static charge, attracting airborne dust and particulate, which results in false readings, shutting down the line.

The current cleaning method involves an operator using a microfiber cloth to manually wipe the lenses clean, and while this does work, with the scanners being mounted roughly 4″ above the floor, this poses some ergonomic concerns for their workers. The customer found EXAIR after looking on the internet for static elimination products and it turns out, they are currently using several of our products in their facility, but he was unsure which product would be suit their needs so he reached out for assistance.

After further reviewing the application with the customer, they explained that each vehicle makes several “scheduled” stops along the route and one of these areas would be selected as the install point. I suggested the customer use (2) of our Ion Air Jet Kits, to clean the lenses. The Ion Air Jet produces a high volume of ionized airflow that can be focused right at the lenses to eliminate the static charge and carry the fines away. The kit includes a filter separator which is going to remove any condensate and/or dirt in the air supply, as well as a pressure regulator. The pressure regulator will allow them to easily adjust the supply pressure to control the outlet flow and velocity so they don’t disrupt other areas in the process.

Additionally, I suggested they use (2) of our EFC – Electronic Flow Control, which features a timing controlled (0.10 seconds to 120 hours) photoelectric sensor as a means to control air usage. As the vehicle enters the blow off area, the sensor will “see” the vehicle, signaling the solenoid valve to open the air line to the jet to blow off the lens. As the vehicle then exits the area, the sensor would again send a signal to close the air supply, so compressed air is only used when needed, reducing operating cost and further automating the process.

8494

Ion Air Jet Kit, Model # 8494 – includes the Ion Air Jet, Power Supply, Filter and Regulator

If you are experiencing static issues in your process or to see how we might be able to help with your automated system, contact an application engineer for assistance.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

 

 

EXAIR Static Eliminators Provide a Solution for a Plastic Blasting Media Application

A customer had an application where they were using a plastic blasting media (PBM) to remove a coating from composite sheets. Being that I was unfamiliar with this type of blasting media, I went to the web for research.  This process is very interesting as it can remove coatings, paint, powder coats, etc. without harming the substrate.  It is widely used in the automotive and aerospace industries as it can be used on materials like very thin metals, composites, and even hardwood.

In our experience with non-conductive materials, static can be a huge problem. And in this case, it was.  The PBM was “sticking” to everything including the composite material that was being cleaned.  They were losing material as it was leaving the blasting chamber.  As with any type of blasting system, you want to reuse the material to economically reduce waste and keep the operation running longer.  As you can see in the picture below, the PBM is clinging to the internal components because of static.  This static force was keeping the PBM attached to the composite sheet and allowing it to leave the chamber.

Inside the Plastic Blasting Media cabinet

Inside the Plastic Blasting Media cabinet

As a quick remedy, they tried to use compressed air to blow the PBM back into the cabinet. They were using copper tubes that were flattened to create a homemade nozzle.  This style of nozzle is unsafe and very loud.  It was also difficult to get the correct amount of blowing force because static can build at different rates.  The higher amount of static charges, the stronger the attraction.  They needed a better method as they found themselves wasting not only the blasting material, but also much compressed air.

With applications similar to this, we like to remove the static at the problem area. Then, we do not have to be concerned about the static forces.  For their application, the cabinet had a 6” wide opening where the composite material would exit.  So, I recommended two pieces of the model 111206, 6” Super Ion Air Knife Kits, to be mounted just outside the cabinet.  One Super Ion Air Knife would be mounted above the sheet to clean the top surface, and the other mounted below the sheet to clean the bottom surface.  I recommended that they position the Super Ion Air Knives at a 45 deg. angle to the surface of the composite sheet in the counter-flow direction.

This position will optimize the performance of the Super Ion Air Knife.  It increases the contact time to coat the surface with ions to remove the static and to keep the PBM inside the cabinet.  With the design of the EXAIR Super Ion Air Knife, it has a 40:1 amplification ratio.  That means that for every 1 part of compressed air, it will entrain 40 parts of ambient air.  So, it can operate with much less compressed air.  Once they mounted the Super ion Air Knives, they were amazed at the performance.  It was very quiet; it used very little compressed air; and it kept the composite sheets completely clean.  After the static forces are removed, it only needed a light breeze to remove the PBM from the surface.

Super Ion Air Knife

Super Ion Air Knife

If you find that static is creating process problems, wasting time, and costing you money, EXAIR has a large line of Static Eliminators that can help you. For this customer, it was a simple phone call to EXAIR that got his operation back up and running fast and smooth without static.

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

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