Just recently I worked with our Distributor in Argentina on an application for a manufacturer of bottled water. Once the bottles are filled, a protective security seal is placed along the top of the bottle. This serves two purposes, it prevents any form of tampering as well as keeps the cap of the bottle clean throughout the rest of the manufacturing process. Since most people drink directly from the bottle, this area needs to remain clean and not be exposed to contamination later on in the process.
Their problem was that static was building up on this plastic which caused an improper seal on the cap of the bottle. Further down the processing line, the bottles can be exposed to water that contaminates the bottles. They had to implement an inspection process as it was not acceptable to allow any contaminated bottles to leave the plant. Without a solution, they were losing time due to the necessary inspection as bottles were being rejected at a rate of almost 30%.
The recommended solution was to install a Model 8164 4″ Gen4 Super Ion Air Wipe just prior to the point in the process where the seal was applied. The plastic material passed through the center of the Super Ion Air Wipe which neutralized the static charge on the material. Without a charge, the seal was applied correctly and they were able to eliminate the need of a manual inspection. After installation, the reject rate dropped to 0%!!
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.
As the temperatures begin to decline, so does the humidity in the air. Drier air results in an increase in static problems. Get ahead of it this year and check out EXAIR’s wide line of various Static Elimination products, all available to ship same-day from stock!
Sometimes you just need a little adjustment. I received a call from a customer that had 2 pieces of our model 110018SS stainless steel Super Air Knives. They were blowing water off the bottles before labeling. They increased their production rate to 300 bottles/minute, and they started seeing issues with the labeling process. They determined that the bottles needed to be drier and wondered if we could help. This customer has been using these air knives for over 5 years without any issues. With the increase in production rate, they wondered if they needed to add a shim to increase the performance of the Super Air Knives. I wanted to verify that he was maximizing the efficiency of the Super Air Knives before we started to make any changes.
The customer sent me pictures of his operation for diagnosis (reference above), and I noticed that the Super Air Knives were blowing air right at each other. The position of each Super Air Knife from top to bottom was correct. This is recommended for removing water in a counter-flow direction (when the bottles are traveling from the right side of the picture to the left side). But the blowing direction was incorrect for optimal efficiency. For an application similar to this, we want to increase the contact time on the bottles. The longer the bottles are in the path of the Super Air Knives, the more time we have in removing the water. I sent him a picture of an application that was very similar to his (reference below). It shows the Super Air Knives at the correct blowing angle. As you can see, the Super Air Knives are aimed more toward the center of the conveyor, and not at each other.
In the first picture, I noticed that this customer also purchase the model 9060 Universal Air Knife Mounting System to go with his Super Air Knives. This mounting system is designed with stainless steel hardware for secure, precise positions, and it allows the air knife to quickly and easily be mounted and adjusted. With a quick turn of the knobs, he was able to set the correct angle very simply, and improve his operation. Sometimes you can step back for a moment and return to the basics to improve your system. In this case, he did not have to add a shim to blow more air, but just reposition the Super Air Knives for a more efficient process.
Swivels, an accessory for our air nozzle product line, provide a similar function and allow customers to adjust air nozzles to their most effective position. If you believe that you are not getting the most out of your compressed air system, you can contact an Application Engineer at 800-903-9247.