Well the dog days of summer have come to an end, and the cold dry air of winter is on the horizon! There’s one other thing that comes along with the cold dry air of winter, and that’s SANTA! (Sorry that was the child in me).
Actually, it’s STATIC! During the warmer months the moisture in the air does a good job at eliminating a good amount of excess static charge. But as that cold dry air comes into play you need another way to rid your production of static or things will start to go wrong.
In many painting or finishing applications dust and debris from the ambient environment can settle on the part prior to painting or coating. Just blowing them off with a standard air gun won’t remove all of the particles if they’re statically charged. The static must be neutralized in order to remove it or it’ll cause imperfections in the paint or coating. This often results in a high amount of rejected parts that must be scrapped out.
Other processes that benefit from static removal include printing, slitting, molding, sheeting/trimming, shrink wrapping and packaging.
Break out your fall / winter gear and enjoy the cooler weather and activities that accompany the coming of Fall, but don’t let static wreak havoc in your processes. EXAIR has a wide range of solutions available that are designed to solve these problems. Give an Application Engineer a call and we’ll be happy to help recommend the best solution.
Recently I worked with a customer on an application to remove contaminants from the inside of glass bottles. During production, dust from the ambient environment was collecting inside of the bottles. They needed a way to remove it prior to filling. The solution was to briefly pause the conveyor, pulsing air into the bottles to free any dust that had accumulated. Their problem was that while the dust was blowing out of the bottle without an issue, some of it was settling back down into the bottles.
The customer needed a way to mitigate the risk of dust particles resettling into the bottles after it was removed. The solution was to install a Model 2012 12” Standard Air Knife to provide a curtain of air across the top of the bottles, catching any freed dust particles and blowing them away from the conveyor.
After noticing positive results, we wanted to take things one step further and help to reduce overall air consumption in the process. The blowoff was achieved with (8) ¼” open tubes operating at a pressure of 80 PSIG. Although they were only operating for a fraction of a second, they still consume a whopping 33 SCFM! Replacing them with Model 1101 ¼” NPT Super Air Nozzles (14 SCFM at 80 PSIG) resulted in compressed air savings of 58%!!
In addition to saving compressed air, the noise level was also dramatically reduced. At just 74 dBA, we’re below the threshold for an 8-hour exposure time for operators according to OSHA. Where earplugs were necessary before, they’re now able to operate safely without the need for PPE to protect their hearing. The second most effective fundamental method of protecting workers, according to NIOSH, is to substitute or replace the hazard with an engineered solution. It’s not possible to eliminate the hazard as a compressed air blowoff was necessary, but the next best step is to replace it with something safer.
In addition to complying with OSHA 1910.95(a), the Super Air Nozzle also cannot be dead-ended. In applications for compressed air blowoff with unsafe nozzles, pipes, or tubes, the pressure must be regulated down to below 30 PSIG according to OSHA 1910.242(b). The installation of an engineered compressed air nozzle by EXAIR allows you to operate safely at much higher pressures.
If you have inefficient blowoff processes in your facility, give one of our Application Engineers a call. We’ll be happy to take a closer look at your application and recommend a safe, reliable, engineered solution!
I awoke on Sunday with a bit more pep in my step. It’s been a long and dreary past 7 months (8 or more months for unlucky fans like me), but this day marked another early season NFL Sunday. Wives across the U.S. were collectively rolling their eyes as their husbands perched themselves comfortably on the couch, cold beer in hand, glued to the television screen from dawn ‘til dusk. It’s an exciting time for many, especially us Bengals fans, as the season is ripe with hope and cautious optimism. Fantasy leagues are in full swing, and my apologies to any of you who elected to draft Le’Veon Bell with your 1st pick this year….. However, with the arrival of football season, there is an unwelcome guest that begins to rear its ugly head: static electricity.
As summer ends and moves towards fall and winter, the air becomes much drier. And because moisture in the air can mitigate some static charge, the dry air allows more static to be present. You may be familiar with the unpleasant shock you get from the door knob after walking across a carpeted surface. While this type of shock doesn’t generally cause any sort of problems, in many industrial processes this static electricity can cause a wide range of different issues. These may manifest simply as nuisance shocks to the operator similar to the door knob example, but it can also cause problems with finish quality, materials jamming/tearing, sheet feeding problems, product clinging to itself or rollers, and dust clinging to product.
In many painting applications, particularly in the automotive industry, dust and debris from the ambient environment can settle on the part prior to painting. Just blowing them off with a standard air gun won’t remove all of the particles if they’re statically charged. The static must be removed in order to remove it or it’ll cause imperfections in the finish after painting. This often results in a high amount of rejected parts that must be scrapped out. I recently visited with a company who handles the painting of small interior automotive parts. The parts are housed on shelves in a dusty environment. This dust settles on the parts while they’re waiting to be painted and just using an air gun alone wasn’t taking care of the problem. In this setup, they were rejecting nearly 60% of all painted parts after inspection.
We brought with us a Model 8193 Gen4 Ion Air Gun to replace their regular compressed air gun. The Ion Air Gun is an ergonomic handheld gun that combines low air consumption along with an incredibly fast static decay rate. After taking a reading both before and after with a Model 7905 Static Meter, it was clear that the Ion Air Gun was the right tool for the job. The static eliminating ions were carried to the surface of the part which not only removed the static charge, but also the dust particles clinging to the surface. By replacing their two standard guns with Ion Air Guns, the reject rate was reduced to just under 10% after painting!!
Break out your favorite football team’s gear and enjoy the cooler weather and activities that accompany the coming of Fall, but don’t let static wreak havoc in your processes. EXAIR has a wide range of solutions available that are designed to solve these problems. Give an Application Engineer a call and we’ll be happy to help recommend the best solution. And to all of my fellow Bengals fans out there, WHO DEY!
I recently worked with a vinyl window and door manufacturer on a static issue they were experiencing during the manufacturing process. After the aluminum frames are cut to length they are placed into a holding fixture where the vinyl seals are placed in a channel inside the frame and clamped together. A machining tool then travels around the parts to trim and machine the excess material, creating dust and some small chips. They tried to vacuum the debris away but were still seeing some residual material cling to the surface due to static, which resulted in manual rework of the parts, slowing down the production cycle.
The customer was able to send a drawing of the holding fixture for reference and after reviewing the information, I recommended they use our 18″ Super Ion Air Knife Kit in this application. The Super Ion Air Knife provides a high velocity, laminar sheet of ionized air across the length of the knife. As the positive and negative ions neutralize the surface charge, the airflow is able to clean the part of the unwanted material so it can be more easily vacuumed away. Using the regulator included in the kit, they can reduce the supply pressure to control the outlet flow and velocity to an acceptable level that doesn’t disrupt the current process.
If you have an application you would like to discuss or are considering an EXAIR product for your process, please contact an application engineer for assistance.
A few months back I wrote about the impact of installing Super Air Knives in an aluminum processing plant. Those Super Air Knives solved a recurring problem with cleaning alumina dust around conveyors and reduced costs for the end user by over $80k.
That same customer has also found a method to remove fine dust from the underside of the conveyor belt in an application area not suitable for an Air Knife. In this application there was no dust collection system in place to carry away the fines as they are blown off of the belt, so a different type of solution was needed.
That solution was to install a Heavy Duty Line Vac affixed to a vacuum hood to remove fines from the belt and convey them back to the head chute. The only problem with this setup was that the 2” Heavy Duty Line Vac produced a bit too much vacuum flow than what was really needed in the application. So, a pressure regulator was installed to allow for adjustment and fine tuning of the vacuum solution. The customer was able to adjust the operating conditions for the Line Vac and minimize compressed air use while maximizing the vacuuming effect on the fines stuck to the conveyor.
The Line Vac used in this application quickly and easily solved a chronic problem plaguing this manufacturer. By installing this vacuum solution they were able to prevent build-up of dust and debris underneath the conveyor which originally required shutting down the line to clean. This improved process uptime, reduced cleaning costs, and increased throughput in the application.
If you have an application in need of a vacuum solution, consider an EXAIR Line Vac. And, if you have any questions, contact an EXAIR Application Engineer. We’ll be happy to help.
Back in the spring of this year I had some interaction with a customer in India about a Vortex Tube application. At the time, they were facing an overheating condition and needed some guidance as to which model would provide the best solution.
Fast forward to this week and this same customer reached out to me again, this time for a static problem. The application in question was plagued with difficulty in removing small dust particles from the inside of PET jars (shown above). The jars range from 220-260mm in height (8.6”-10.25”), 80-100mm (3.1”-4”) in diameter, and travel through the process at a speed of ~40 units per minute.
Due to static charge, the dust in this application would adhere to the inside of the jars, presenting a problem with filling during the next stage of the process. What this customer needed was a way to remove the static, blow away the dust, and then pull a slight vacuum on the jars as a safeguard against any remaining dust.
The solution was to use the Stay Set Ion Air Jet to blow into the jars, removing the static and blowing away the dust, followed by a Super Air Amplifier to remove any dust particles which were not removed by the Ion Air Jet.
The customer was happy with this solution, but there was a bit of hesitation as to whether the Air Amplifier would be able to truly remove debris from the jars. In an effort to visualize the effects of an Air Amplifier on this type of application I made the short video below.
This video shows paper pieces inside of a cylinder of comparable height to the jars in this application. After the paper is placed in the cylinder the model 120021 Super Air Amplifier is used to pull the paper out of the cylinder, mimicking the effect it will have on residual dust in the customer’s application. After seeing the video the customer was confident in the application solution.
Providing this type of assistance for our customers is nothing new for us at EXAIR. We’re available via phone, online chat, or email for all of our customers, and commit to taking the time needed to really provide the assistance needed. If you find yourself in need of solid engineering support for an application in your facility, contact an EXAIR Application Engineer.
One of the biggest disruptions to the home furniture business in the latter half of the 20th century was the introduction of self-assembled units. Consumers found more attractive prices for items they put together themselves, and manufacturers found a way to expand their markets.
This change, coupled with the advances in CNC machining, has led to a booming industry. And, EXAIR Super Air Knives provide a solution within this industry that allows the manufacturer of component based furniture to package their items with better quality and at higher production rates.
The application involved cutting and routing components in the machine above. The machining is precise, but the manufacturer found that the bottom of the pieces held an undesirable dust, and they needed a way to remove the dust before packaging.
The solution was to install a Super Air Knife onto the machine, below the track rollers used to guide the ejected parts. When the wood pieces travel over the Super Air Knife, the dust is blown away and they are completely ready for packaging.
Installing the Super Air Knife improved product quality and increased production throughput by removing a wasteful and needless process of hand treating each piece.
If you have a similar application or problem, contact an EXAIR Application Engineer.