Ionizing Points: A Good Solution in an Air Ducting System for Textile Processing

Model 8299 Ionizing Point
Model 8299 Ionizing Point

Static is all around us. It is caused by non-conductive materials having their electrons “rubbed” from one atom onto another.  With the proliferation of engineered plastics throughout industry static is generated more readily and issues will start to appear when the static voltage gets large enough.  EXAIR has a Static Eliminator product line with many solutions to help solve process issues.

Companies build systems using blowers and fans to generate air flows for various processes. Because of the high noise level normally associated with blowers and fans, they are generally mounted outside or away from the production floor.  To bring the air to the work area, they use ductwork. Systems that involve plastic, wood, glass, or other types of non-conductive material, have a potential for developing static problems.  The Ionizing Points are designed to remove static in small tight areas as well as in air duct systems that already have air moving through them.

I spoke to a customer recently who had a dust collection system in a room where an adhesive is applied to a fabric. The “openness” of the fabric allowed some adhesive to penetrate and land on a 36 inch (0.9 meter) wide conveyor belt.  After the fabric was sprayed, it was conveyed into another room for further processing.  The conveyor belt had to be cleaned continuously to support new fabric as it was being brought in.  The conveying system was long enough to allow the adhesive to dry before it was to receive the next round of material.  The conveyor belt material was such that the adhesive did not stick to it.  (Or so they thought!).  As the adhesive dried, it would “ball up” and harden on the belt and would need to be removed.  To remove the particles, they used a push-pull cleaning method, blowing air through the duct and onto the belt surface to push the dried adhesive into a vacuum hood which pulled the particles into the dust collection system.

The customer started having issues with the contamination level within their fabric. From the nature of how the contamination was acting within the application, the customer had a strong suspicion that static  was causing the contamination issue. The air through the duct could not generate enough lift on the particles for the vacuum system to remove them.  The result was that dried adhesive was transferring onto the fabric.  The customer was concerned that he would have to upgrade his complete push-pull system to continue his production.  He contacted EXAIR for a solution.

Duct mounting
Duct mounting

In reviewing his room parameters, the customer did not have any compressed air lines going into this room.  This narrowed my search in our Static Eliminator product line to our Ionizing Points, which do not require compressed air. He could place them along the end of the duct to generate ions which will eliminate any static charge present and release the adhesive particles.  He purchased eight Ionizing Points and mounted them 4 inches (10 cm) apart.  As the air was exiting the 36 inch (0.9 meter) wide ductwork, it would pick up the ions, remove the static from the conveyor belt and adhesive, and allow the vacuum flow to lift the particles.  The adhesive remnants could then be picked up by the vacuum system as designed.

If your application already has blower or fan systems and you need to remove static, inserting one or more of the Ionizing Points through the duct wall could be a low cost solution to enable reasonable static elimination. If you have an application that you would like to discuss, contact an Application Engineer for help.

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

Cooling Fabric with a Super Air Knife Increases Production Speed

Super Air Knife has 40:1 Amplification Ratio
Super Air Knife has 40:1 Amplification Ratio

I received a call from a customer in the textile industry. The customer was producing a fabric that ends up being used for furniture.  The fabric varied in width between 4 feet (1.2 meters) and 6 feet (1.8 meters) wide.  In one of the processes, the material went through an oven to be heated to 200 deg. F (93 deg. C).  This would “set” a fire retarding chemical compound in the fabric.  As the fabric web exited the oven, they needed to cool it to roughly 120 deg. F (49 deg. C) so it could be handled by the operators.

The customer tried their luck at designing a duct that was seven feet (2.1 meter) long by one foot wide (30.5 cm) by one foot tall (30.5 cm).  At the bottom of the duct, they cut one inch wide (2.5 cm) slots along the length in an attempt to create a wide airflow across their material.  The large metal box (ducting) was suspended across the fabric and oriented to blow air straight down onto the material.  On the open end of the metal box, they mounted a fan to blow air inside with the intention that the slits in the duct work would direct the air from the fan onto the fabric.

Their idea worked to some small degree, but the cooling results were simply too little to continue with this kind of solution. Fortunately, the customer knew about EXAIR Corporation and they contacted us to see if we could help. Because they needed to provide additional time for the fabric to cool, they slowed their line speeds down to 20 yards/min (18 meters/min). It was obvious that they wanted to increase the throughput if they could.

In order to increase throughput, we needed to figure a way to increase the cooling rate.  To increase the cooling rate, we can either use colder air or more air.  Given the wide format of the material, the best decision for this application would be to blow more air across the target material.  The Super Air Knife has a 40:1 amplification ratio.  For every 1 part of compressed air, it will entrain and move 40 parts of ambient air to the target surface.  The result is that a larger volume of air hitting the surface of the material.  More volume hitting the target means we can cool it quicker.  I suggested a model 110272, 72″ Super Air Knife Kit to span across the different width of fabrics.  It can be mounted across the width of the material and set at a 45 degree angle to the material in a counter flow orientation. The reason for the angle and the counter-flow orientation are to enhance the cooling effect provided by the Super Air Knife. Orienting the Super Air Knife at a low angle allows for the flow coming from it to stay in contact with the material web for a much longer period of time.

By removing the fan with the duct work and installing the Super Air Knife, they found they could increase throughput to 30 yards / min. (9.2 meters / min). A 50% increase. The customer was thrilled about the significant increase as this was a real bottleneck in their production process.

If you have any cooling issues, you can rely on EXAIR to determine the best product. If you have any questions or would like to discuss any of your applications, you can contact the Application Engineers at EXAIR.

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