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.

Ionizing Points: A Good Solution in an Air Ducting System for Textile Processing

Model 8299 Ionizing Point
Model 8299 Ionizing Point

Static is all around us. It is caused by non-conductive materials having their electrons “rubbed” from one atom onto another.  With the proliferation of engineered plastics throughout industry static is generated more readily and issues will start to appear when the static voltage gets large enough.  EXAIR has a Static Eliminator product line with many solutions to help solve process issues.

Companies build systems using blowers and fans to generate air flows for various processes. Because of the high noise level normally associated with blowers and fans, they are generally mounted outside or away from the production floor.  To bring the air to the work area, they use ductwork. Systems that involve plastic, wood, glass, or other types of non-conductive material, have a potential for developing static problems.  The Ionizing Points are designed to remove static in small tight areas as well as in air duct systems that already have air moving through them.

I spoke to a customer recently who had a dust collection system in a room where an adhesive is applied to a fabric. The “openness” of the fabric allowed some adhesive to penetrate and land on a 36 inch (0.9 meter) wide conveyor belt.  After the fabric was sprayed, it was conveyed into another room for further processing.  The conveyor belt had to be cleaned continuously to support new fabric as it was being brought in.  The conveying system was long enough to allow the adhesive to dry before it was to receive the next round of material.  The conveyor belt material was such that the adhesive did not stick to it.  (Or so they thought!).  As the adhesive dried, it would “ball up” and harden on the belt and would need to be removed.  To remove the particles, they used a push-pull cleaning method, blowing air through the duct and onto the belt surface to push the dried adhesive into a vacuum hood which pulled the particles into the dust collection system.

The customer started having issues with the contamination level within their fabric. From the nature of how the contamination was acting within the application, the customer had a strong suspicion that static  was causing the contamination issue. The air through the duct could not generate enough lift on the particles for the vacuum system to remove them.  The result was that dried adhesive was transferring onto the fabric.  The customer was concerned that he would have to upgrade his complete push-pull system to continue his production.  He contacted EXAIR for a solution.

Duct mounting
Duct mounting

In reviewing his room parameters, the customer did not have any compressed air lines going into this room.  This narrowed my search in our Static Eliminator product line to our Ionizing Points, which do not require compressed air. He could place them along the end of the duct to generate ions which will eliminate any static charge present and release the adhesive particles.  He purchased eight Ionizing Points and mounted them 4 inches (10 cm) apart.  As the air was exiting the 36 inch (0.9 meter) wide ductwork, it would pick up the ions, remove the static from the conveyor belt and adhesive, and allow the vacuum flow to lift the particles.  The adhesive remnants could then be picked up by the vacuum system as designed.

If your application already has blower or fan systems and you need to remove static, inserting one or more of the Ionizing Points through the duct wall could be a low cost solution to enable reasonable static elimination. If you have an application that you would like to discuss, contact an Application Engineer for help.

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