EXAIR Eliminates Static – Public Enemy Number one in the Printing Industry

Static electricity is the enemy of the printing industry. Downtime and inefficiency caused by static means longer lead times and angry customers! EXAIR can remove static electricity in the many printing applications across wide and narrow webs.  With our rugged line of EXAIR Super Ion Air Knives and Ionizing Bars, EXAIR can improve your efficiency and printing quality.

Digital printing dries out the printed substrate, creating high static charge that can cause printing defects, ink overspray, and even print head clogging and print head shorting issues. If a press is printing on non-porous substrates like plastic, metallics and highly coated glossy papers, a device called a corona treater is used to increase the surface energy of the substrate to ensure the ink droplets adhere and do not spread too much on the substrate. A byproduct of the corona treatment is static charge, which must be removed. This can be achieved by installing an EXAIR Ion Bar after the corona treatment device across the web.

Static is also created anywhere in the printing or finishing operations where sheets are moved over each  other.   Sheetfed presses, for example, create friction in the stacking of individual sheets on top of each other.  This friction induced static creates misfeeds, print registration issues, multiple sheet pickups and equipment jams.

Folding operations cause static issues too. Like a sheetfed press, static is created by folded pieces being dragged across each other.

In both cases, installing an EXAIR Super Ion  Air Knife or Ion Air Cannon that can direct a stream of ions between the stack and the top sheet can eliminate the static that causes misfeeds and jams.

The typical easy fix printers employ is what’s called a tinsel bar. Also called garland, it looks just like what you drape on a Christmas tree, except that it’s made of highly conductive copper that needs to be grounded to the printing press.The problem with tinsel bars is that although they are cheap initially, they don’t last long. They’re not a set-it-and-forget-it solution. The sharp strands work on induction and interact with the static field on the substrate creating a neutralizing cloud that surrounds the area, reducing both positive and negative ions. Printing operations are usually dusty environments and when the tinsel becomes dusty, oxidized, or matted and crumpled, they don’t work as effectively.

Static is also created in unwinding and rewinding operations, when rolls are slit to needed widths of various presses. The removal of the web from the roll creates static charge that attracts dust to the substrate surface and can cause major problems in downstream printing operations. Installing an EXAIR Ion Bar on top of the web can elimnate this static.

EXAIR Super Ion Air Knives don’t need to be placed close to the surface like a tinsel bar. Static dissipation of 5 KV can occur in less than a half second up to 20 feet away and can be adjusted from a blast to a breeze, depending on static level.

If you are a printer, finisher or labeler, EXAIR has a static elimination product that can improve your operations. For more help you can contact one of our EXAIR application engineers to talk you through a solution.

Dann Woellert
Application Engineer
dannwoellert@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_dw                    

Static Elimination Improves Credit Card Printing and Production

PVC Base Sheet for Credit Cards

A company that made credit cards was having issues in their print quality, and static was the culprit.  They used PVC sheets as a base material to print on, and like with any non-conductive materials, static can be generated easily and create problems.  For this company, static was attracting dirt to the surface of the material, causing blemishes in the print.  They contacted EXAIR to find a solution.

When non-conductive materials slide, hit, peel, and rub; electrons from the surface can move from one atom to another; thus, creating static.  The type of material and the amount of movement governs the amount of static forces.  These strong static forces can attack debris and fibers, as well as generate shocks, misalignment, and machine jamming.  Another feature of static is that it can regenerate if the materials continue to slide, hit, peel, and rub.

For the company above, they were printing on 30 cm by 48 cm (12” X 19”) PVC sheets.  They used three different processes to print a complete credit card; silkscreen, digital, and offset.  After each printing process, they would lose sections of the sheet due to poor image quality.  At the end, they were losing between 20 to 30% in visual rejections.

For this application, we had to do two operations; remove the static and clean the surface from debris.  The Gen4 Super Ion Air Knife can do both of these operations at the same time.  With the laminar air stream that comes from the Super Air Knife, it can carry both positive and negative ions from the attached Gen4 Ionizing Bar.  Together, they can remove any type of static charge as well as becoming a very effective tool as a non-contact wiper to remove debris.  With this ability, the print quality would not be affected during cleaning.  Since static is a surface phenomenon, I recommended to also remove the static from the other side of the sheets.  We did not want to have any dirt or debris that could be remaining on the bottom surface to transfer from one surface to the next during stacking.  This could scrape the finish during loading and unloading of the sheets.

I recommended two pieces of a model 112012 Gen4 Super Ion Air Knives that are manufactured to 12” (30 cm) in length.  This customer can easily mount one above the sheet and one below the sheet prior to printing.  To operate the attached Gen4 Ionizing Bar, EXAIR offers two types of power supplies, a two-output unit, model 7960, and a four-output unit, model 7961.  They can save you money when needing multiple Static Eliminators to operate in your system.  With a model 7960 Gen4 Power Supply, they now had a system to remove static and clean the sheets.  Once they installed the Gen4 Super Ion Air Knives onto their system, the rejection rate dropped to near zero.

All EXAIR Gen4 Static Eliminators use one of two Power Supplies – your choice of the 2-port Model 7960, or the 4-port Model 7961.

Rejected parts are costly, wasteful, and reduce production rates.  If you have rejection from static problems in your system, EXAIR has a large line of Static Eliminators to help you.  You can contact an Application Engineer to review your application.  For the customer above, the Gen4 Super Ion Air Knives made it possible to generate more credit cards per sheet.

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

EXAIR’s Super Ion Air Knife Stops Painful Shocks to Operators on Slitting/Rewinding Operation

During a recent trip to South America while visiting our Distributor in Lima, Peru I had the opportunity to look at a few applications at an abrasives manufacturing plant. The company manufactures a wide range of abrasive products as well as adhesive tape.

Before we dive in to the application, let’s discuss static generation. There’s three ways that static can be generated. The simplest method of static generation occurs when two non-conductive objects come into contact with one another and separate. Electrons are transferred from one object to another according to the Tribolectric Series. The second method of static generation occurs as a result of friction. When two materials rub together, especially if increasing force presses the objects together, electrons can also transfer from one material to another increasing the static charge. The final method, and the one occurring in this particular application, is detachment static buildup. Due to the large contact surface area, significantly greater static charges can be generated.

triboelectric
Triboelectric series showing the propensity of a material to gain/lose an electron

They had several converting applications that were causing static issues in the plant. The primary concern was the operators that were constantly getting shocked whenever they had to change out the rolls. A side concern was that there was occasionally a buildup of static that resulted in the product jamming, causing production to be stopped while they fix the jam and re-feed the material.

SIAK 3M

The application that I’d like to highlight was on a slitting and rewinding machine. A roll of plastic film was fed through rollers where it is slit into three different sizes and then re-rolled. As the film separates from the roll, a high static charge is generated. After each operation, an operator had to go in and remove all (3) rolls from the machine. Each time he was zapped as he touched the roll. This not only affects productivity as they’re hesitant to remove them quickly, but was also a major concern for their safety department.

The proposed solution was to install (2) Model 112006 Super Ion Air Knives, one above and one below the plastic film just after it was slit. All EXAIR Static Eliminators produce an equal quantity of both positive and negative electrons. So, regardless of if the charge is positive or negative there’s sufficient ions to neutralize it. After installation, the static charge was immediately removed. The operator, although hesitant at first, was able to remove the finished rolls from the machine without getting a nice jolt! As an added bonus, they also no longer had an issue with the material periodically jamming in the machine.

Don’t let static problems cause problems in your process or potential harm to your operators. With a wide range of different Static Eliminators available from stock, EXAIR has a solution available that will quickly take care of it for you. Reach out to an Application Engineer today, you’ll be shocked (no pun intended) at how quickly you’ll notice an improvement.

Tyler Daniel
Application Engineer
E-mail: TylerDaniel@EXAIR.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_TD

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.

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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.

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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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Twitter: @EXAIR_JS

Gen4 Static Eliminators Sove Static Problems for Printing Co.

When the weather gets dry and cool, static can be generated very easily, and it can become a real nuisance.  For the printing industry, static forces can pull or push the ink droplets which can create poor print quality like “ghost” images.  Static can also cause contamination to “stick” to the surface of the sheets affecting the printing process.  This can slow production, generate high scrap rates, and allow for poor quality.  In this blog, I will share the details about a printing company having static problems and a simple solution with a Gen4 Static Eliminator.

For this printing company, static was causing issues in print quality on their polypropylene sheets. Polypropylene is a non-conductive material which can generate high amounts of static that can cause many issues.  Their manual operation of moving, sliding, and picking up of the polypropylene sheets was generating the static.  Now that we found the cause, I had to determine a solution.

They sent pictures to describe the process in more detail.  An operator would pick up a sheet with the dimensions of 3 feet wide by 5 feet long (0.9 meters by 1.5 meters) from a bin.  He or she would load three polypropylene sheets onto a wide vacuum table next to the printing machine.  The table had an indicating bar which used yellow/green lights to align each sheet.  Once the indicator lights turned green, this meant that the sheet was aligned properly, and the operator would then hit a switch.

A dual rail with vacuum cups would come over and “grab” the three sheets.  The vacuum rail would pull the new sheets onto a sliding platform at the same time removing the printed sheets into a stacking area.  With the new sheets, this sliding platform would travel into the print machine where the print head would create the images.

Once the printing was completed, the sliding platform would come back to the original position where the process would repeat itself.  With all the handling and moving of the polypropylene sheets, static was being generated.  To improve their printing process by removing the static, we had to target an area where we would not have to worry about static regenerating.

EXAIR is a leading manufacturer of Static Eliminators, and we had a good discussion in solving his issue.  Ideally, we want to place the Static Eliminator just before the printing process.  In this application.  I recommended to them to locate a Gen4 Ionizing Bar just behind the indicating bar.  This would remove any static as the sheets were going onto the sliding platform.  Since the sheets were 3 feet (0.9 meters) wide, we needed to cover a span of 9 feet (2.7 meters) total.  Believe it or not, EXAIR manufactures and stocks an Ionizing Bar this long!!!

For this customer, they would not have to worry about any stop gaps in coverage with a single length product.  Also, the profile for the Gen4 Ionizing Bar is very thin and would not interfere with the vacuum rail system.  So, when the vacuum rail picks up the polypropylene sheets, the Gen4 Ionizing Bar will be able to remove the static from the printable surface.

Gen4 Ionizing Bar with 7960 Power Supply

I recommended the model 80108 Gen4 Ionizing Bar with the model 7960 Gen4 Power Supply.  This model can emit ions that can cover a span of 108 inches (2.73 meters).  The Gen4 Power Supply, which generates a 5,000 Volt signal, connects to the Gen4 Ionizing Bar with an electromagnetically shielded durable cable.  The alternating current generated by the Power Supply allows for the creation of both positive and negative ions from each point.  This will ensure neutralization of any type of static.

The Ionizing Bar can be positioned between 0.5” (13mm) to 2” (51mm) from the sheet surface to optimize decay rates.  After they mounted and started using the Ionization Bar, the static was removed quickly, and the printing issues were eliminated.  With a quick and simple set up of the Gen4 Ionizing Bar, they were able to get back on track with great quality and fast productivity.

If you have static issues with your printing process, you can contact an Application Engineer at EXAIR.  We will be happy to make your static issues disappear and your vibrant images reappear.

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

 

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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Gen4 Ion Air Cannon Static Eliminators Used in Tight Spaces

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Gen4 IAC removing static from the inside of plastic bottles

The lower relative humidity associated with the cold, dry air of winter results in a significant increase in calls related to static problems. Luckily, EXAIR has a wide-range of Static Eliminators that are designed specifically to address static issues in a variety of industries. Materials such as paper, plastic, or textiles will normally contain an equal number of both positive and negative ions. When subjected to friction, this balance can be disturbed if the atoms gain or lose an electron. This gaining/losing of an electron causes the atom to be electrically imbalanced.

The static charge will then exert a force on nearby charged objects or grounded conductors (including personnel). These issues can also manifest in the form of dust clinging to product, product clinging to itself, rollers, machine beds or frames, materials jamming, and sheet feeding problems. Our Gen4 Static Eliminators have undergone independent laboratory tests to certify that they meet the rigorous safety, health, and environmental standards of the USA, European Union and Canada that are required to attain the CE and UL marks.

One of these such products is the Gen4 Ion Air Cannon. EXAIR’s Gen4 Ion Air Cannon neutralizes static charges at distances up to 15 feet without any moving parts. Utilizing EXAIR’s 2” Super Air Amplifier, the Ion Air Cannon will maximize ionized airflow while minimizing compressed air consumption. The strong, concentrated, quiet, and efficient ionized air is capable of eliminating a 5kV charge in as little as .37 seconds.

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Ion Air Cannon removing static from in between plastic sheets

The compact design saves space and allows it to be mounted in confined areas on walls, machine frames, bench tops, etc. The stand is pre-drilled for easy mounting, and incorporates a swivel adjustment to precisely position the airflow. Some examples of applications that have required the assistance of an Ion Air Cannon include: removing static from motorcycle bodies prior to painting, static removal on PCB boards, and disposable diaper manufacturing.

With a wide variety of Static Eliminating products available from stock, don’t wait for your static problems to subside when humidity levels come back up in the spring. Get yourself a Gen4 Static Eliminator from EXAIR and make sure you’re able to operate, static-free, for the rest of this winter and in the subsequent seasons to come!

Tyler Daniel
Application Engineer
E-mail: TylerDaniel@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_TD