EXAIR’s Super Ion Air Knife Stops Painful Shocks to Operators on Slitting/Rewinding Operation

During a recent trip to South America while visiting our Distributor in Lima, Peru I had the opportunity to look at a few applications at an abrasives manufacturing plant. The company manufactures a wide range of abrasive products as well as adhesive tape.

Before we dive in to the application, let’s discuss static generation. There’s three ways that static can be generated. The simplest method of static generation occurs when two non-conductive objects come into contact with one another and separate. Electrons are transferred from one object to another according to the Tribolectric Series. The second method of static generation occurs as a result of friction. When two materials rub together, especially if increasing force presses the objects together, electrons can also transfer from one material to another increasing the static charge. The final method, and the one occurring in this particular application, is detachment static buildup. Due to the large contact surface area, significantly greater static charges can be generated.

triboelectric
Triboelectric series showing the propensity of a material to gain/lose an electron

They had several converting applications that were causing static issues in the plant. The primary concern was the operators that were constantly getting shocked whenever they had to change out the rolls. A side concern was that there was occasionally a buildup of static that resulted in the product jamming, causing production to be stopped while they fix the jam and re-feed the material.

SIAK 3M

The application that I’d like to highlight was on a slitting and rewinding machine. A roll of plastic film was fed through rollers where it is slit into three different sizes and then re-rolled. As the film separates from the roll, a high static charge is generated. After each operation, an operator had to go in and remove all (3) rolls from the machine. Each time he was zapped as he touched the roll. This not only affects productivity as they’re hesitant to remove them quickly, but was also a major concern for their safety department.

The proposed solution was to install (2) Model 112006 Super Ion Air Knives, one above and one below the plastic film just after it was slit. All EXAIR Static Eliminators produce an equal quantity of both positive and negative electrons. So, regardless of if the charge is positive or negative there’s sufficient ions to neutralize it. After installation, the static charge was immediately removed. The operator, although hesitant at first, was able to remove the finished rolls from the machine without getting a nice jolt! As an added bonus, they also no longer had an issue with the material periodically jamming in the machine.

Don’t let static problems cause problems in your process or potential harm to your operators. With a wide range of different Static Eliminators available from stock, EXAIR has a solution available that will quickly take care of it for you. Reach out to an Application Engineer today, you’ll be shocked (no pun intended) at how quickly you’ll notice an improvement.

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

EXAIR’s Super Air Amplifier Removes Scrap Label Trim

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Placement of the Super Air Amplifier tucked away in the machine

Recently I worked with our distributor in Peru that had a customer who was experiencing a nuisance issue one of their production lines. The company is a graphics company that serves many different food manufacturers in the Peruvian market. In this case, they were making a label for a salad dressing company. During the converting process, scrap trim is produced. This was falling to the ground, building up over time, and eventually would need to be cleaned up. To do so, they had to stop production and have an operator manually clean up the mess before restarting the machine.

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EXAIR’s Model 120021

Enter EXAIR’s Model 120021 Super Air Amplifier. The customer positioned the amplifier so that it would catch the scrap trim and convey it away from the machine. They positioned a waste receptacle about 6’ away and ducted the amplifier to carry the scrap to this bin. This eliminated their need to stop production and allowed them to run continuously. Before installing the Super Air Amplifier, they had to stop the machine approximately 4x or more per day for cleanup. At 10 minutes per, this was 40 minutes of lost production time per day! After proving the concept on this machine, the customer now plans to outfit another 3 with the same setup.

Because the material was so light and was only traveling a short distance, the Super Air Amplifier was a suitable solution. We’ve blogged in the past about similar applications where scrap trim is conveyed using a Line Vac. This is also a suitable solution, the Line Vac can be sized to accommodate your material and prevent excess scrap from accumulating and causing problems in your processes.

If you have a converting application that produces scrap trim, give us a call. We can help size an appropriate solution and make sure you’re not wasting valuable production time cleaning up the mess!

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

Super Air Knife Provides Tension with Fine Adjustment for a Lightweight Plastic Film

A company had a small converting machine that was winding a plastic film onto a roll. The width of the plastic film was only 3” across, and the amount of tension required for a consistent roll was small. The maximum amount of tension without damaging the plastic film was 16 ounces of force.  In converting media onto rolls, it is very important to control the tension on the web to reduce defects like wrinkles, out-of-round rolls, or stretching.

They explained the setup that they were trying. They had a 4” manifold with two 2” wide “duck-foot” nozzles attached.  They sent a hand drawing to better describe what they were using. (See below).  The issue that they were seeing was too much variation in the blowing force being applied to the film.  To get near the correct blowing force, they had to start at an air pressure of about 18 PSIG.  As they ran the process, the operator would have to adjust the pressure continuously to evenly roll the film onto the core.  The process was out of control, and they wondered if EXAIR had a better way to evenly exert this force.

Dual Flat Nozzle Manifold
Dual Flat Nozzle Manifold

In analyzing the drawing and their setup, I noticed a couple of things that could cause the variations. I modified his drawing to better explain the situation (Reference below).  As compressed air leaves the two flat nozzles, the center section will overlap.  This overlap will cause turbulence in the air flow pattern.  In order to get an even distribution of forces across the width of the product, turbulence cannot exist.  Turbulence is a mixing pattern where the velocity is not linear; thus, causing high and low pressure points on the target.  The other thing that I noticed was the low air pressure that they could not go above.  This limited the precision of the incremental forces.  Because of the fixed openings of the two nozzles, they had to have a ceiling with the air pressure at 18 PSIG for 16 ounces of force.  If they had to “bump” the force level, the change was difficult to hit exactly.  If we divided the 16 ounces of force between 0 – 18 PSIG, we would get roughly 0.9 ounce of force per PSIG.  You lose the accuracy to make fine adjustments.

Overlap of air flow pattern
Overlap of air flow pattern

I recommended our model 110003, 3” Super Air Knife and a model 110303 Shim Set. The Super Air Knife blows compressed air across the entire length.  Without any overlap, the flow is laminar, and the velocity profile is moving in the same direction.  Thus, an even force across the entire 3 inches.  The Shim Set comes with additional shim thicknesses of 0.001”, 0.003”, and 0.004” thick (the standard thickness of 0.002” is installed in the Super Air Knife). In working with such a precise force requirement, they needed additional options for more control.  They could change the shims as a coarse adjustment and adjust their pressure regulator as a fine adjustment.  This combination gave them the best results to accurately dial in the correct force and not damage the material.  With the maximum requirement of 16 ounces across 3 inches of film, they were able to change the shim to the 0.004” thickness.  For the model 110003 Super Air Knife, it put them at a maximum pressure of 86 PSIG, not 18 PSIG.  Thus the increment was now 0 – 86 PSIG for 16 ounces of force, or 0.19 ounces per PSIG.  There was much more resolution to make smaller changes to the force levels thus optimizing their adjustment range.

Super Air Knife with Shim Set
Super Air Knife with Shim Set

In replacing the competitor’s product with a Super Air Knife, our customer had all the necessary control to wrap rolls of film without issue. The setup with the nozzles on a manifold design resulted in turbulence, which was noisy and produced inconsistent results.  It also restricted their adjustment resolution in changing forces, as they do not use shims.  If you would like to exert a greater degree of precision blowing with products like the Super Air Knife, please contact us. We would be happy to discuss your application and help you meet such goals.

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

Ion Bars Eliminate Static in Foam Web Production

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Foam Web with ineffective Earth grounding

Our Greek distributor came to me the other day with a production issue for one of his clients. They manufacture foam in a variety of forms for many different end uses. In this particular case, the customer was working with a flat web of foam. As they are un-rolling and processing the foam, a decent amount of static charge builds up on the material which eventually causes discharges to the rollers in the machinery and to operators as well. The discharges are dangerous to personnel as they can be quite potent, causing a reflexive jerk back which can put the operators into a dangerous position with respect to machine components, not to mention that they are just flat out uncomfortable to receive. Another issue is that the discharges also cause blemishes on the surface of the white foam where they occur. Such blemishes are considered a defect and are therefore another reason that the customer wants to investigate active static elimination.

As you can see in the above photo, the customer has a couple of ground “probes” if you will, that ride on the surface of the foam web. They do this in hopes that the charges will “drain off” to Earth ground. While this kind of “passive” static elimination can be useful in certain circumstances, many times is just not sufficient to completely neutralize the material as needed for the process. We reviewed the line speed in the application and the web was moving at a reasonably slow 10 – 15 meters per minute. With this in mind, the EXAIR Ion Bar would be a perfect fit to provide the necessary ions to “actively” discharge the electrostatic field. By actively, I mean that the ion bar produces positive and negative ozone ions which are actively delivered and come into contact with the material. This causes the net charge to drop to a much lower level than simple grounding techniques just cannot get to.

We ended up recommending two pieces of model 7042 (42” Ion Bar) (one for each side of the web and model 7907 (2 outlet Power Supply, 230 VAC input) for the application. These bars have eliminated the blemishes on the foam web and removed the static shocks experienced by the operators.

With the very coldest of winter-time temperatures upon us now, it is what we term “static season” due to the low humidity in the air. Processes like this one can be rendered hopeless without the use of some form of active static elimination.

Are you in a converting business of some kind? Do you have static issues in your processes?  If so, consider contacting us for some help with your application. Static electricity in a production environment does not have to be a problem.

Neal Raker, International Sales Manager
nealraker@exair.com
@EXAIR_NR