Solving Static and Increasing Print Quality on Food Packaging

Gen4 Static Eliminators

A yogurt company printed bar codes on every cup that they produced. This was necessary for registering and tracing their product. After failing a bar code reader quality test, they started noticing some print issues during batch runs. They would have to stop their system, clean the inkjet printer head, and scrap product that would not register with the bar code reader.

This affects production rates, scrap rates, and overall cost. They stated that they threw away 30 to 40 cases per batch of yogurt due to this problem. They had an EXAIR catalog where they found a similar application within our Gen4 Static Eliminator product line. They contacted us to see if we could find a solution.

With non-conductive material like plastic, static is easily generated; especially during cooler weather. Static can be in a negative state or a positive state dependent on the material. For opposite charges, things are attracted to each other and will “stick” like magnets. For similar charges, they will repel each other. The higher the static charge, the stronger the force.

For the company above, the yogurt cups moved along a 7” (178mm) wide conveyor before they reached the bar code printer. This movement causes static to be generated on the surface of the cups. But, what about the inkjet printer? The function of the printer charges the ink droplets for direction and positioning. Since the ink droplets and the cup surfaces have the same charge, the droplets were being “pushed” back toward the printing head (reference photo below). Thus, the ink would dry on the surface and affect the quality of the bar code.

Bar Code Printer

When it comes to removing static, EXAIR is a leader in this market. We have a large product line of different types of Static Eliminators. Our design generates both positive and negative ions to remove any type of static charge. Since we only had to remove the static from the surface of the cup, I recommended a Gen4 Ionizing Bar. With a quick static decay rate, we can remove the static right before the bar code printer with only one Gen4 Ionizing Bar. For this application, I recommended the model 8003 3” Gen4 Ionizing Bar and a model 7960 Gen4 Power Supply. Together, it was very easy to mount and start using. EXAIR stocks lengths from 3” (76mm) up to 108” (2743mm), and we can ship a solution the same day. When you are losing 30 to 40 cases, time matters. And for this company, they received the items the next day to correct the misprints and short printing runs.

Gen4 Ionizing Bar w/ power supply

When problems occur, time can be of the essence. This is why EXAIR stocks our cataloged items for fast delivery.  For the company above, they had an EXAIR catalog which helped them to find a solution. If you would like to have an EXAIR catalog, you can click here to get one.   After they started using the Ionization Bar, the static was removed, the bar code was clean, and the operation ran smoothly. If static is causing issues for you, you can contact EXAIR and speak to one of our Application Engineers. We will be happy to assist you.

John Ball
Application Engineer

Email: johnball@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_jb

It’s Starting to Look a Lot Like Static Season

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.

Foam Static
Static holding foam bead material to a surface.

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.

Static Eliminators
Static Eliminators

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.

Jordan Shouse
Application Engineer

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EXAIR’s Gen4 Static Eliminators Product Line

In the winter, as the temperature gets colder and colder and the air is getting drier and drier, static becomes a larger problem. In the summer, water in the air can help dissipate the electrons that we pick up as we move around, but when the air is drier, the static charge collects and clings to surfaces, building up until… zap! This can be a huge problem for companies as static can cause products to bunch up and not process correctly. Or even worse static can build so much it can shock electrical devices causing costly repairs and downtime. That’s why EXAIR has a full catalog of static eliminating products, and we will talk about them and what each product is best suited for!

Gen4 Static
Gen4 Static Eliminators

The most popular Static Eliminator we sell is our Gen4 Super Ion Air Knife! By combining a Gen4 Ionizing Bar with a Super Air Knife, The Gen4 Super Ion Air Knife provides rapid static elimination AND blows off any dust, chips, or debris that was being statically held to the surface.  The laminar curtain of ionized air not only maximizes the rate of static dissipation, but is also ideal for stripping/sweeping away any debris, leaving a clean, static-free surface.  No more jamming, tearing, nuisance shocks to operators, dust attraction, or any of the other host of problems associated with static electricity.

GEN4 SIAKs
(Left) 6″ Gen4 Super Ion Air Knives remove static from bottles in a labeling application. (Right) A 108″ Super Ion Air Knife

EXAIR’s Gen4 Super Ion Air Wipe provides a uniform 360° ionized airstream that is simple to clamp around a part for reducing static electricity and cleaning contaminants. It is great for use on pipe, cable, extruded shapes, hose, wire and much more. We offer the Gen4 Super Ion Air Wipe in either 2” or 4” inner diameter, it is powered by compressed air and an external power supply. The Gen4 Super Ion Air Wipe generates both positive and negative ions that are transmitted the emitter points located on the i.d. of the wipe. Since static charges can be either negative or positive it is easy to eliminate both states of charge due to the mixed polarity of ions being generated.

iaw
4″ Gen4 Super Ion Air Wipe

To put it simple the Gen4 Ion Air Cannon is based on the mechanics of the 2″ diameter Super Air Amplifier with added static reduction capabilities and as its name implies it amplifies the supply air up to 25 times! This highly engineered product is very effective at cleaning product and reducing static at distances of up to 15′ away.

gen4-iacfillbotl_500xsq.jpg
Gen4 Ion Air Cannon

EXAIR’s Gen4 IoAir Jet is a compact ionizer that is capable of delivering a concentrated ionized airflow that will cover a precise spot without disturbing the rest of the process. The quiet, focused air stream can quickly eliminate the static charge on surfaces. At a pressure of 80 psig the Gen4 Ion Air Jet is capable of dissipating a 5kV charge in .18 seconds!

In addition to providing rapid static decay, the Gen4 Ion Air Jet also helps to minimize compressed air use while maximizing the ionizing airflow. Utilizing a specially designed shim, the Gen4 Ion Air Jet entrains ambient air at a rate of 5:1. The airflow can easily be adjusted from a forceful blast to a gentle breeze simply by increasing or decreasing the inlet pressure to the ionizer.

You can also get the Gen4 Ion Air Jet in a handheld gun option, this is called our Gen4 Ion Air Gun. This is great for applications where your operator is doing the static elimination and blow several times a shift by hand. 

Ion Air Gun
GEN4 Ion Air Gun

If you have an application that you believe would be better served by the use of an EXAIR Gen4 Static Elimination product, give us a call.

Jordan Shouse
Application Engineer
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EXAIR Displays Benefits of Ion Air Gun Static Eliminators

EXAIR manufactures a range of Static Eliminator products that are all efficient, effective, and easy to use…none more so than the Gen4 Ion Air Gun. Consider:

  • It’s “plug and play,” all the way.  Connect the cable to the Power Supply, and hook it up to your compressed air system, and you’re ready to go.
  • It’s efficient and quiet.  The high velocity jet entrains an enormous amount of air from the surrounding environment, where it’s ionized and ready to eliminate static charge quickly and effectively.
  • Instant static dissipation, at your fingertips (literally) – squeeze the trigger to blow ionized air, anywhere you want (well, within the reach of the 10 foot cable, anyway.)
Model 8493 Gen4 Ion Air Gun Kit comes with everything you need, right out of the box. Just add compressed air.

Again, the Gen4 Ion Air Gun is just one of our Static Eliminator products.  How do you know if it’s the right one?  The selection of many EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Products comes down to the size & shape of the air flow that will solve the application.  Static Eliminators are no different.

  • If you need to treat a large surface, you might be looking for a Gen4 Super Ion Air Knife.  They come in lengths from 3 inches to 9 feet long, and blow a laminar, even curtain of ionized air that’s extremely effective and fast at static elimination, even at very low supply pressures.
  • Gen4 Super Ion Air Wipes blow a 360° ionized airstream for pipes, cables, extruded shapes, etc.
  • Gen4 Ion Air Cannons and Gen4 Ion Air Jets are made to mount in place, and blow a focused, conical flow of ionized air.

If you’ve got large areas, multiple surfaces, or complex geometries to contend with, one (or an array) of these products might be the solution.  For a simple, straightforward, hand held static elimination solution, though, it just doesn’t get any easier than the EXAIR Gen4 Ion Air Gun.  Call me to find out how you can get one today.

***Order any qualifying EXAIR Static Eliminator by February 28, 2019, and we will include a FREE AC Sensor.  Click here for details.***

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
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