Just recently I worked with our Distributor in Argentina on an application for a manufacturer of bottled water. Once the bottles are filled, a protective security seal is placed along the top of the bottle. This serves two purposes, it prevents any form of tampering as well as keeps the cap of the bottle clean throughout the rest of the manufacturing process. Since most people drink directly from the bottle, this area needs to remain clean and not be exposed to contamination later on in the process.
Their problem was that static was building up on this plastic which caused an improper seal on the cap of the bottle. Further down the processing line, the bottles can be exposed to water that contaminates the bottles. They had to implement an inspection process as it was not acceptable to allow any contaminated bottles to leave the plant. Without a solution, they were losing time due to the necessary inspection as bottles were being rejected at a rate of almost 30%.
The recommended solution was to install a Model 8164 4″ Gen4 Super Ion Air Wipe just prior to the point in the process where the seal was applied. The plastic material passed through the center of the Super Ion Air Wipe which neutralized the static charge on the material. Without a charge, the seal was applied correctly and they were able to eliminate the need of a manual inspection. After installation, the reject rate dropped to 0%!!
The Gen4 Super Ion Air Wipe provides a uniform 360° ionized airstream and is available in both 2” and 4” ID sizes. Its clam-shell design makes it easy to clamp around a part for neutralizing static electricity and contaminants. The high volume, high velocity airflow attaches itself to the surface and wipes it down with static eliminating ions. The airflow stays attached to the surface and is effective up to 15’ away from where it’s mounted. It’s lightweight and easy to mount using the ¼-20 tapped holes on the back or can also be held into place with just rigid pipe.
As the temperatures begin to decline, so does the humidity in the air. Drier air results in an increase in static problems. Get ahead of it this year and check out EXAIR’s wide line of various Static Elimination products, all available to ship same-day from stock!
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.
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.
This week I had the opportunity to work with a customer that manufactures automotive glass. Part of the process of manufacturing the glass is to apply a thin plastic film of polyvinyl butyral (PVB) in between glass sheets.
This creates the laminated safety glass that protects passengers from flying glass shards in the event of an accident.
The customer was having a quality problem. Glass was being rejected on their low volume compound curved glass production line for debris being trapped between the layers during the laminating process. We worked on identifying how the dust could be introduced into his laminating process. First, each of the glass panels are cleaned by hand with a cleaner and a soft cloth to remove any dirt, grease or oil that can be left behind from production, shipping, or handling. The soft cloth can leave behind some lint.
On the high production line, a cleaning roller would remove any lint left behind on the flat glass. On the curved glass of the low production line, the curvature of the glass prevented the roller from applying even pressure across the glass and was leaving lint of the cleaning cloth is left behind. This lint will become a defect in the glass after the glass is cured in an oven.
I recommended the customer use an Ion Air Gun immediately after the hand cleaning cloth step since the Ion Air Gun is also a manual, hand held product. The PVB is pulled from a stack of thin film which generates a static charge from dragging one sheet over another and increasing the chance that lint will stick. The Ion Air Gun will remove the static charge and blow off the lint just prior to lamination. If this was a high volume product, I would have recommend one of our long one piece Super Ion Air Knivesto cover the whole piece of glass in a single blow off. Because this was already a manual process due to a low volume specialty glass, the Ion Air Gun is the best product for the job.
One application I have recently received was from a customer that is machining a plastic material and the chips were clinging to the part, the inside of the machine, and his operators during change out. He first tried a regular blow off gun with some results but the chips seemed to cling to whatever they were blown towards. He then installed a Super Air Knife in hopes to create a sheet of air that will not permit the chips to cling. While this did work for the majority of his chips there were still those that were getting blown up and being held to surfaces with a static charge. This was a concern because if the chips were not evacuated from the machining area then it would reduce his tool life and also cause possible part defects.
When discussing the application it was apparent that there was a static cling issue. Rather than having to take out the Super Air Knife that was already in place we were able to retrofit his existing air knife with the correct length Ion Bar and power supply to create the Super Ion Air Knife he needed.
Once the Ion Bar and power supply were installed the static elimination began with the flip of a switch on the power supply. Not only was he blowing all the chips off the part but, he was also helping clean the path of the cutter which increased the tool life. The cutter housing was also getting cleared of chips that were statically charged, and the Ion Knife was helping to evacuate all the chips into his auger and allowing for a cleaner machining area. This in turn helped the operators reduce the amount of chips clinging to them when changing the parts in and out of the machine.
All in all, the customer was very pleased that the amount of work that went into retrofitting his Super Air Knife with the Ion Bar was quick and quite simple.
A retrofit like this is also possible if you have an Ion Bar that seems to need some air assist in order to perform better in your application. Just contact any of our Application Engineers here at EXAIR Corp. and we will be glad to help with any issues you have.