Understanding Static Electricity

Have you ever walked across the room to pet your cat or dog and got a shock instead? Ever taken off your shirt on a dry winter day and had a “hair raising” experience? How about rubbing a balloon on your shirt and sticking it to the wall? This is static electricity! Before we can understand Static Electricity we need to know the basics of atoms.

All physical objects are made up of atoms. Inside an atom are protons, electrons and neutrons. The protons are positively (+) charged, the electrons are negatively (-) charged, and the neutrons are neutral.

Therefore, all things are made up of charges. Opposite charges attract each other (negative to positive). Like (similar) charges repel each other (positive to positive or negative to negative). Most of the time positive and negative charges are balanced in an object, which makes that object neutral.

Static electricity is the result of an imbalance between negative and positive charges of an object. These charges can build up on the surface of an object until they find a way to be released or discharged.

The rubbing of certain materials against another can transfer negative charges, or electrons. For example, if you drag your sock on the carpet, your body collects extra electrons. The electrons cling to your body until they can be released. As you reach and touch your furry friend, a shock occurs. This is just the surplus electrons being released from you to your unsuspecting pet.

Static

And what about that “hair raising” experience? As you remove your shirt, electrons are transferred from the shirt to your hair, creating the hair raising experience! Remember, objects with the same charge repel each other. Because they have the same charge, your hair will stand on end. Your hair is trying to get as far away from each other as possible!

When you rub a balloon against your shirt and stick it to a wall, you are adding a surplus of electrons (negative charges) to the surface of the balloon. The wall is now more positively charged than the balloon. As the two come in contact, the balloon will stick because of the rule that opposites attract (positive to negative).

When you relate these too your manufacturing environment and we talk about dust, hair, and fines sticking to your product then EXAIR has the answer for you with our GEN 4 Static Eliminating products. EXAIR Static Eliminators (also called ionizers) can eliminate the charge. These shockless ionizers are electronically powered to produce a bulk of positive and negative ions. The charged surface attracts the appropriate number of positive or negative ions from the ionizer to become neutral or balanced.

If you have a situation where static charges are causing problems with a product finish, print quality, sensor readings, etc. and would like some assistance solving the problem please call EXAIR and ask for one of our knowledgeable Application Engineers to discuss the right product for your application.

Eric Kuhnash
Application Engineer
E-mail: EricKuhnash@exair.com
Twitter: Twitter: @EXAIR_EK

Gen4 Super Ion Air Knife Reduces Shocks and Jamming in Converting Application

When an atom gains or loses an electron from its outer shell, it becomes electrically imbalanced. A material’s propensity to either gain or lose an electron is “ranked” on a list known as the Triboelectric Series.

The buildup of static electricity is a common issue for many converting applications. This type of static generation is known as detachment static build up. Detachment static build up occurs when a material is in contact with another and these two surfaces separate from one another. During the separation, not all of the electrons are able to get back to their original molecule. This results in an instantaneous static charge as the electrons are transferred from one object to another in accordance with the Triboelectric Series. Due to the large surface area in most detachment static buildup scenarios, the amount of static generated is typically far greater than contact static buildup. Detachment static buildup occurs on many converting applications as material separates from a bulk roll.

This typically occurs at a high rate of speed and the large surface area across the width of the roll presents an ideal situation for static buildup. This charge can cause the material to stick to itself and not come off the roll properly, creating issues down the line. It can also result in painful shocks to operators, which not only presents a safety hazard but also negatively impacts productivity and morale.

I recently worked with a customer that was experiencing some issues with their converting process for a line of candy packaging. The high static charge was discharging to their operators along while periodically causing the machine to jam up and need to be stopped, cut, and re-fed. Using the Model 7905 Static Meter, they were measuring charges of over 31 kV on the material.

The solution was to install a Model 112024 Super Ion Air Knife above and below the web to saturate the material with positive and negative ions. The knife carries the ions to the surface of the material and ensures the charge is neutralized immediately upon contact. After implementing a knife above and below the material, the charge was neutralized and also stopped the nuisance shocks experienced by operators nearby.

Each time the machine jammed it would take approximately 30 minutes to fix. This issue was occurring anywhere from 3-4x per day and the machine ran 24/7. By simply implementing the Super Ion Air Knives they gained up to 2hrs more run time by eliminating the presence of static in the process.

Don’t let static continue to create headaches for your personnel. Get yourself a permanent solution from EXAIR and ensure your processes run smoothly.

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

Eliminate Static on Hose, Tube, and Extruded Shapes w/ EXAIR’s Gen4 Super Ion Air Wipe!

Gen4 Super Ion Air Wipe

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.

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.

Static can be a problem in many industries contributing to a range of different process problems. Common problems include: dust clinging to product, product clinging to itself, rollers, machine beds or frames, materials jamming or curling, sheet feeding problems, and hazardous sparks or shocks to operators.

For eliminating static on the surface of pipe, cable, extruded shapes, hose, or wire, look no further than EXAIR’s Gen4 Super Ion Air Wipe. The Gen4 Super Ion Air Wipe provides a uniform 360° ionized airstream and is available in both 2” and 4” ID sizes. Its clam-shell design makes it easy to clamp around a part for neutralizing static electricity and contaminants.

The high volume, high velocity airflow attaches itself to the surface and wipes it down with static eliminating ions. The airflow stays attached to the surface and is effective up to 15’ away from where it’s mounted. It’s lightweight and easy to mount using the ¼-20 tapped holes on the back or can also be held into place with just rigid pipe.

If you’d like to talk about how EXAIR can help solve the static problems in your facility, give us a call. With a wide range of Static Eliminators available to ship same day from stock you can consider these problems a thing of the past!

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

EXAIR Ion Air Jets: Focused, Hands Free Static Removal

Hand held convenience of the Ion Air Gun (easy) or no-hands convenience of the Ion Air Jet Station (easier.) Your call.

Static electricity can cause jamming of machines, misalignments, 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.  The profile creates a low pressure at the entrance of the Air Jet to draw in ambient air.  This makes the Air Jet very efficient as the output flow is more ambient air than compressed air. Also, with the engineered design, we are able to create a laminar air stream to carry the ions to the target up to 15 feet (4.5 meters) away.

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.  We are able to eliminate any type of static charge, and we can establish a fast decay rate.  The emitter point inside the Gen4 Ion Air Jet is replaceable in order to keep the point clean and sharp.  What operates the Gen4 Ion Air Jet is the Gen4 Power Supply.  It is the “engine” behind the ion generation.  EXAIR offers two types.  The model 7960 has two output ports and the model 7961 has four output ports to operate multiple units.  They have a selectable input voltage to use 115Vac or 230Vac.  The high voltage cable between the power supply and the Gen4 Ion Air Jet is an armored cable to resist cuts and wear.  It has an integrated ground and is electromagnetically shielded.  Together, 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 small surfaces and areas.  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.  This compact, low-cost unit can be utilized for neutralizing static and cleaning three-dimensional parts, screen printing, glass lenses, shrink bands and much more.

As I mentioned above, the Gen4 Ion Air Jet is the most versatile product for “hands-free” operations.  They 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 easier 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 has everything you need to connect to your compressed air system to blow ionized air to neutralize and clean your products.  It includes all the items in the Deluxe Kit plus 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 are in operation.

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 parts, 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.

John Ball
Application Engineer

Email: johnball@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_jb