Playing Card Manufacturer Gets Dealt a Bad Hand from Static Electricity

Okay, so I’m not talking about counting cards in Las Vegas, like was shown in the movies Rain Man or 21. I’m talking about how a manufacturer of playing cards may count them. I visited a manufacturer of playing cards. It was fascinating learning that they only use specific relative humidity cardstock for certain geographic locations. It totally makes sense once I thought about it, send a “wet” card to a dry geographic location and it will warp or shrink, send a “dry” stock to Atlanta and you’ll get wrinkled swollen cards once they hit the humid air. This manufacturer handled every aspect of the cards. They always ran into issues when it came to a single production line.

This production line would take the printed sheets of cards, which would get placed in a large stack then fed through a cutter that would result in columns of cards, then stack and cut the columns into single cards. They would then get stacked again and the machine would then fan them out. The machine used two friction band conveyors to move the cards at a high rate of speed. They moved so fast it looked as though they overlapped. It was only when you fixated on a single card and followed it you would see it was separated by a few inches from the next.

This machine would stack all the cards up then separate them to each number and suit by dropping them into a chute. Next, it would drop the cards out of those chutes and recombine them into a stack of eight complete decks of cards. It would box them, label it and spit it out. They then went to casinos. This machine was a static nightmare when running dry card stocks during the winter months in the dry air.

Model 7905 Digital Static Meter

The cards would stick together, double feed, and really just leave the company with a bad hand. When I visited though, I had an Ace up my sleeve. I had a Static Meter and a Gen4 Ionizing Point in my possession. The static meter was used to identify the highest static levels in their process, and the Ionizing Point, which we were able to easily hold within 2″ of the cards where they were first jamming. Which was the very first fanning operation. Once the Ionizing Point was installed at this location, rather than seeing any misfeeds or jams within the first 3 stations, the problem moved to “drop station number five”. We then added another to just before the fifth station and saw improvements down to station nine.

Friction / Attachment / Detachment Static

The key observation here was that it was not possible to eliminate the static throughout the entire process. This is because there is a constant generation of static due to friction of the belts sliding under the cards and the cards being stacked then slid out from one another. As soon as the cards would leave the ionized 2″ radius around the Gen4 Ionizing Point the static would begin to regenerate on the surfaces. While it wouldn’t immediately reach a problematic point for this process, it would build up over the course of a few stages. This is why it is critical to place a static eliminator at the point it is causing the problem, rather than just at the beginning of a process, and then assuming static will not come back.

Gen4 Ionizing Points

In order to reach the solution, we implemented an Ionizing Point at each location that was experiencing an issue. The number of finished decks the company was able to produce, increased. They moved on to the packaging station and made their way into the casinos.

If you would like to discuss a Gen4 Ionizing Point or any point of use compressed air process / manufacturing process, please let us know.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

Adjustable Spot Cooler Keeps Band Saw Blade Cool

flir image
Heat camera image of band saw blade heat

We run into interesting applications that require cooling all the time. Here’s an example of a spot cooling application for a tire cutting application that used a FLIR camera to show the heat generated within the band saw blade.

The customer is a world supplier of tires for various vehicles from ATV to construction use. And they have a need to cut tires up for quality control testing as well as R&D purposes. They were looking for a low cost and efficient way to cool the blade without using liquid coolant or water as those methods require implementation of waste handling schemes that this customer did not want to deal with. So, they came to EXAIR as they knew we specialized in cold air cooling products. Specifically, they had interest in model 3925 (Dual Point, Adjustable Spot Cooler System). The dual point hose kit would allow for even cooling on both sides of the band saw blade. After discussing their application details, we agreed that model 3925 would be the best offering we could make to the customer. As we have a band saw in our workshop, I located some rubber material that we had with similar properties to a tire and made some quick tests to determine that in fact, model 3925 allowed for only a modest 5°C rise in temperature. The customer was quite satisfied at our test result and purchased 4 units for their band saws.

Neal Raker, International Sales Manager
nealraker@exair.com

@EXAIR_NR

 

Super Ion Air Knife Cleans Product Exiting Cutting Application

Yesterday, I had a customer call in to discuss his application regarding chip and debris removal from his product. The customer described his process of cutting lenses for light fixtures that their company manufactures. While he was explaining the application and the problem, I was building a picture of it in my mind.  To help in the understanding the customer e-mailed me a photo of the application so I could really see the mess he was trying to deal with.

Once I saw the photo, I could see that my understanding was off just a little concerning the automatic nature of the cutting machine. Instead of having an operator pulling the cut lenses off the machine and blow them down, he wanted the lenses to come out already cut and blown free of static, debris and dust.

Once I saw the photo above, I could see that the flat nature of the target product was a perfect fit for the Super Ion Air Knife Kit model 111218. That unit fit the customer’s machine guard just right in order to accommodate the various widths of material that he processed through the cutting function. He set the Super Ion Air Knife up to blow down at a 45° angle opposite the travel of the material. In effect, he was blowing back toward the saw blade which had a vacuum system attached. Not only was the material able to exit cleaned, but it kept the processing area cleaner as well as the chips and other debris were deflected back to where the vacuum system could pull them in.

The customer’s improvement in productivity actually doubled as an aid in their housekeeping within the processing area.

Neal Raker
Application Engineer
nealraker@exair.com