3 Types of Static – How Static is Generated

Static, everyone loathes it except for those kids that like to run around shocking their friends. This phenomenon affects not only everyday life with things like frizzy hair and that annoying zap you get when someone touches you but also industry. But what is static and how is it generated?

Static is generated on the atomic level from the exchange of valance electrons on each surface. The energy produced from the friction causes those valance electrons to enter an excited state; when in this excited state they begin to jump back and forth from atom to atom. When this happens, the atoms begin to accumulate either a positive charge if the atom lost electrons or a negative charge if the atom gained electrons.

As the charge accumulates on the surface where the friction occurs if a ground source (i.e., a piece of metal or a person) comes in close proximity to the charged surface an arc is generated between the two surfaces transferring the build-up of electrons and returning the charged surfaces to a neutral state.

But how can these surfaces become charged in the first place?

The most common and well-known way is via friction. Friction generation is when two surfaces rub against each other causing the static to build up on the surfaces. The energy from the two objects being pushed together and rubbing up against each other causes the electrons within the atoms to enter an excited state. When these electrons are in this excited state the valence electrons will jump from atom to another atom; this causes one atom to become positively charged (lost the electron) and the other to become negatively charged (gained the electron). The harder the two surfaces are pushed together and the faster they are rubbed together the more static will be generated.

A second type of static generation is contact static build up, which is when a charge that is built up when two surfaces impact each other and then separate. Much like friction static generation, contact static build up generates the charge on the surfaces from the kinetic energy of the impact. The material of the two objects in question will determine how many electrons are transferred from surface to surface based on the properties of the atoms in the material (Electronegativity, Ionization Energy, and Electron Affinity).

Contact Static Generation

The third type of static generation is detachment static build up. Detachment static build up once again relies on the kinetic energy and the properties of the atoms in the material. When the two surfaces are pulled apart the electrons that are transferring from one molecule to another get stuck with the molecules of one surface, which leaves both surfaces charged. This is seen a lot with plastic protective covers like the ones that come on a new window pane.

Static generation via detachment

No matter how the static is generated EXAIR’s line of Static Eliminators including EXAIR’s New Intellistat that can neutralize a 1000V charge in under one second. Don’t let static cause issues for your production facility, contact EXAIR for a solution. 

Static Eliminators

If you have any questions about compressed air systems or want more information on any of EXAIR’s products, give us a call, we have a team of Application Engineers ready to answer your questions and recommend a solution for your applications.

Cody Biehle
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
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EXAIR’s Gen4 Power Supplies, the Foundation of Gen4 Static Eliminators

In the fall and winter seasons, the air becomes much drier. 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 issues. These may manifest as nuisance shocks to an operator – similar to the door knob example, but it can also cause problems with the finish quality of coatings and paint. It will make ink jetted codes unreadable, cause blemishes in printing processes, and short out sensors being relied upon for counts and quality inspections…just to name a few. 

The reason that you experience static shocks more frequently during winter is due to the relative humidity. At colder temperatures air does not hold as much water as it does when it’s warm, and since water conducts electricity, higher humidity keeps static at lower levels. Even though you’re heating your house to a similar temperature, the air that is being drawn into your home and heated is still the dry cold air containing less moisture.

So how do we tackle this static problem that’s running rampant in your processes? EXAIR has a wide range of Static Eliminators available to ship same-day from stock. Each of which is designed to handle different types of applications. At the heart of these Static Eliminators is the EXAIR Power Supply. Available with either 2 or 4 ports, the Gen4 Power Supply is suitable for use with either 115V or 230V via the selector switch on the back. A 6’ modular power cord and lighted power switch are included. The modular cable protects sensitive electronics against electromagnetic interference while easing connections and routing. An integrated fuse (spare fuse is also included) on the primary protects against voltage spikes.

Model 7960 Gen4 Power Supply (top) has two ports; Model 7961 (bottom) has four, depending on how many Static Eliminators you wish to operate from the same Power Supply

Two shielded cables are included with both styles of Power Supply. A standard 3-prong outlet for North American customers, and another that allows you to install your own plug to accommodate any style of electrical outlet. The integrated ground connection on the high voltage side allows for complete connection using just the bayonet connector. A grounding post on the front-face of the Power Supply is available for bonding of the Power Supply to machine frames. Shunting circuitry designed into the Power Supply protects the user against any short circuit on the secondary side.

The Power Supply includes an integrated flange for easy mounting in any orientation. Rugged and durable stainless steel connections are present at the high voltage side vs the plastic connectors of the competition. This facilitates the integrated ground and shockless design of all of our Static Eliminator products. The Power Supply is both RoHS and CE compliant, as well as UR Listed.

Here at EXAIR we’ve helped customers in a wide range of industries solve their static issues within their processes. If you would like to discuss the best option for dealing with your static, give us a call. An Application Engineer is ready on the other line to help diagnose your issue and make a suitable recommendation.

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

EXAIR’s Static Eliminator Variety Provides Solutions for Any Industry

As the weather starts to change and the colder dryer months are upon us, static electricity can become a real nuisance.  Machines will start jamming, alignments will be difficult, dirt will collect to surfaces, and hazardous sparks can shock personnel.  EXAIR manufactures a line of Gen4 Static Eliminators, also called ionizers, to remove these nuisances.

Static is generated from non-conductive surfaces being “rubbed”.  This could be caused from going over rollers on a conveyor, stacking product onto each other, sheet feeding, and even peeling away a backing material.  When a non-conductive surface, or insulator, is moved or separated, electrons are “stripped” and redistribute into different areas on the surface.  Static charges are typically measured in kilovolts (KV), or 1,000 volts, and they can be either positive or negative in nature.

The higher the charge, the stronger the static force.  At a 10 KV static charge, a spark can jump one inch (25 mm) from the surface.   You probably felt that shock when working with plastic or non-conductive materials.  EXAIR has a Digital Static Meter to measure the amount of static voltage on a surface.  It is a great tool for finding problem areas in your process as well as determining the effectiveness of the treatment.

Static is dynamic.  The more you rub or move the material, the higher the static charges can form.  Static can also regenerate itself after the charges have been removed.  With higher static charges, the attraction force to other materials is much stronger.  This attraction could be to other products, dust, lint, and even you.  An undesirable effect of static can be seen with dirty surfaces, tearing, alignment, jamming and shock to personnel.  The EXAIR Gen4 Static Eliminators are engineered to remove both negative and positive static charges in an assortment of designs to best fit the application.

EXAIR manufactures nine different products, including Static Eliminators with air assistance to reach farther distances or Static Eliminators without air when surfaces could be disrupted by air flow. The newest product, the Intellistat™ Ion Air Gun is engineered for clean processes, laboratory and test environments.

The Gen4 ionizers are powered by a 5,000 Vac power supply.  The alternating current, AC, will create both negative ions and positive ions.  No matter the kind of static charge is on the surface, the Gen4 Static Eliminators will be able to remove it.  The power supplies come in either a 2 port or 4 port design; so, you can power multiple Gen4 Static Eliminators with one power supply.  The input power is selectable from either 115Vac or 230Vac in both 50/60 hz. An armored and electromagnetic shielded cable connects the power supply to the ionizer in a single wire design. This will help to protect the cable from abrasions, cuts and splits in industrial areas.

The Intellistat Ion Air Gun is powered with a 24Vdc power supply. The Gen4 Static Eliminators and the Intellistat Ion Air Gun have a shockless design, and they are UL Component Recognized and CE compliant.  I will give a brief description of each product that utilizes this rugged design for optimal static neutralization.

Gen4 Static Eliminators with Air:

Super Ion Air Knife

  1. Gen4 Super Ion Air Knife: This product has the best compressed air efficiency in removing static by combining the Super Air Knife with an Ionizing Bar.  The Gen4 Super Ion Air Knife has a 40:1 amplification ratio and uses the laminar air flow to carry the positive and negative ions to the surface.  The laminar flow allows for a quick static discharge in fast conveyance speeds.  They can also remove static from surfaces up to 20 feet (6.1 meters) away.  EXAIR manufactures stock lengths from 3” (76mm) to 108” (2.74 meters).  Some typical applications for the Gen4 Super Ion Air Knife are found in web cleaning, sheeters, pre-paint dust removal, and shrink wrappers.
  2. Gen4 Standard Ion Air Knife: Similar to the Gen4 Super Ion Air Knife, this product has a good compressed air efficiency.  It utilizes the Coanda effect to draw in ambient air at a 30:1 amplification ratio.  They come in stocked lengths from 3” (76mm) to 48” (1.22 meters).  The Gen4 Standard Ion Air Knife are used in similar applications as well as mold releasing, package cleaning, label applications and plastic bag opening.

    Gen4 Super Ion Air Wipe
  3. Gen4 Super Ion Air Wipe: This product blows ionized air in a 360-degree pattern.  They are engineered to remove static and debris from the outside of hoses, plastic pipe, extrusions, and coated wires.  With the split design, the Gen4 Super Ion Air Wipe can easily mount around the product without having to rethread.  They come in two different sizes with a 2” (51mm) and 4” (102mm) inner diameter. The ionized air has a fast static decay for speedy transfers.

    Gen4 Ion Air Cannon
  4. Gen4 Ion Air Cannon: Just like the name, this product will shower an area with ions to remove static. It can reach distances up to 15 feet (4.6 meters).  They are used in multiple areas including pre-paint car bodies, containers, shrink packaging, lenses, etc.  As an Air Amplifier, a small amount of compressed air will draw in a large amount of ambient air.  The ions are carried to the surface from the Gen4 Ion Air Cannon in a laminar air steam.   Once the ions coat the surface area, the air flow can gently remove any debris held by static forces.

    Gen4 Ion Air Gun
  5. Gen4 Ion Air Gun: For manual static removal to target specific areas, the Gen4 Ion Air Gun will work great.  This product comes standard with 10 feet (3 meters) of shielded cable for maximum reach.  An ergonomic air gun is attached to a Gen4 Ion Air Jet to manually remove static in difficult areas and from “shock” zones.  The Ion Air Guns work great for small batch processes used for quality checks or label applications.

    Ion Air Jet
  6. Gen4 Ion Air Jet: Similar to the Ion Air Gun, this product is used for “hands-free” operations. They use a small amount of compressed air to “shoot” the ions onto a surface.  They can be operated with a solenoid valve or foot pedal to blow ions during specific times and situations.  They can easily be attached to a Stay Set Hose and Magnetic Base for best “hands-free” positioning for optimal cleaning.  They work well on small targets for automated systems or inspections areas prior to packaging.
  7.  Intellistat™ Ion Air Gun: This is EXAIR’s newest product that is a lightweight solution for static and particle removal.  The patent-pending air gun comes complete with a 24Vdc power supply and a 6mm compressed air tubing.  There is a red and green LED lights to signify the production of ionized air for visual feedback.  The engineered air nozzles are quiet and OSHA safe.  The emitter point inside that creates the ions can be easily changed for replacement.  The applications range from circuit boards, electronic manufacturing, laboratories, clean rooms, and scientific testing.

The Gen4 Static Eliminators with air can be purchased with kits which will include the power supply (required for ionization), a filter (to clean contamination from the compressed air), and a regulator (to control the blowing force).  In the spirit of compressed air efficiency, EXAIR also offers the Electronic Flow Control, EFC, that uses a photoelectric sensor to turn on the air flow only when the product is under the Static Eliminator.

Gen4 Static Eliminators without Air:

Ionizing Bar
Low cost Ionizing Bars eliminate static cling.

  1. Gen4 Ionizing Bar: This rugged design is for industrial use to remove static cling from flat surfaces. They range from a length of 3” (76mm) to 108” (2.74 meters).  Without the assistance of air, the product has to be within 2 inches (51 mm) from the surface to remove static charges.  The Gen4 Ionizing Bar is shockless and works well in applications where blowing air could be a detriment for the process.  This would include screen printing, labeling, and large printing process.

    Gen4 Ionizing Points
  2. Gen4 Ionizing Point: This single point design is manufactured to remove static on small targets in tight spots.  Utilizing the same rugged design of the Gen4 Static Eliminators, this product can remove static in spot areas and help to stop jams in slitting operations. They can also be panel mounted to neutralize duct air.

If you find that static is creating process problems, wasting time, and costing you money, EXAIR has a large line of Static Eliminators that can help you.  For our U.S. and Canadian customers, we are offering a promotion for online orders for a limited time.  You will receive an AC Sensor, a $59.00 value, for free as a Promotional item from now until the end of March 2021 with a qualified purchase.  How can you not give them a try?  If you have an application, you can contact an Application Engineer at EXAIR to help select the correct model and remove that static nuisance.

John Ball
Application Engineer

Email: johnball@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_jb

Solving a Static Electricity Problem when Applying Labels

Gen4 Static Eliminators

A company was applying labels to their plastic containers.  The labels were 4” (10cm) wide by 9” (23cm) long in size with a protective backing.  The backing material had to be removed prior to applying the label to a 9” (23cm) tall container.  With their label applicator, the label would wrap around the container.  They started to see misalignment and wrinkles in the labels when they were applied.  For the nonconforming parts, they had to remove the label and clean the surface to reapply another label.  This was time-consuming and a pain in the neck.  Since winter is here in the Northern Hemisphere, the drier air makes static very easy to create and will cause issues.  They contacted EXAIR to ask about our Gen4 Static Eliminators.

 With non-conductive materials like plastic and paper, static is easily generated; especially during cooler weather.  Static can be in a negative state or a positive state depending on the type of material.  With 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.  Static is generated from rubbing, hitting, and peeling which can cause electrons to be stripped from a surface.  For the customer above, the peeling away of the backing from the label caused the negative electrons to build on one surface.  And with the containers shifting, bumping and moving along the conveyor; static was also being generated.  Since like charges repel each other, the labels were not able to stay aligned and were creating bubbles on the surface.

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 up to 20 feet (6m) away.  In this application, I wanted to target two areas where static is present; the labels and the containers.  Since we could get close proximity to the label and the containers, I recommended using the Gen4 Ionizing Bars.  With a quick static decay rate, we can remove the static right before applying the label.  For this application, I recommended the model 8006 6” Gen4 Ionizing Bar and two model 8009 9” Gen4 Ionizing Bars.

EXAIR’s power supplies are what gives the Gen4 Ionizing Bars energy to create ions.  EXAIR offers two models of Gen4 Power Supplies; model 7960 which can power up to two Static Eliminator products and model 7961,  which can power up to four Static Eliminator products.  Since the Gen4 Ionizing Bars were mounted in the same area, the model 7961 Gen4 Power Supply was used to run three Ion Bars at once.  This helps to save money as they did not need to buy multiple power supplies.

Together, it was very easy to mount and start using.  The model 8006 was mounted right after the backing was removed from the label.  One model 8009 was positioned in the front of the container; and the second model 8009 was positioned in the back of the container.  Now they were able to remove all the static before the label was placed on the container.

EXAIR stocks lengths from 3” (76mm) up to 108” (2743mm), and we can ship a solution the same day.  When you are losing time and working hours due to static buildup like the company above, the Gen4 Static Eliminators can resolve it quickly and easily.

If you are having problems with static in alignment, jamming, contamination, or shocking staff; you can contact an Application Engineer at EXAIR.  The Gen4 Static Eliminators can remove the static and keep your process running smoothly.

John Ball
Application Engineer

Email: johnball@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_jb