Removing Static From Diaper Absorbent Material

This is where the absorbent material inside a disposable diaper is made

The image above shows one step in the process of disposable diaper manufacturing.  In this step of the process, the absorbent material is ground through a mill on the top of the “bunker” where it falls down a shaft and onto a mesh screen.  Once on the mesh screen, the material is repressed into the proper size and shape for placing into the diapers.

This manufacturer contacted one of our Russian distributors about the application because the milling of the absorbent material was creating static.  This static caused the material to adhere to the walls of the bunker chute and to unevenly distribute onto the mesh.  This unevenness leads to holes in the pressed/shaped absorbent material which translates to a reject rate of ~1 out of every 20 diapers.

An EXAIR Ion Bar

The ideal solution in this case needed to eliminate the static within the chute to allow for proper distribution on the mesh below and proper material placement into the diapers.  An Ion Bar was originally desired by the customer, but material accumulation on the emitter points was a concern so this solution was removed from consideration.

An EXAIR Ion Air Cannon

An Ion Air Cannon, however, was able to provide the desired solution by mounting outside of the chute and feeding a low volume of ionized air to remove the static.  The ionized airflow from the Ion Air Cannon is strong enough to permeate the full volume of the application, but low enough to not disturb the absorbent material within the process. Using an Ion Air Cannon allowed this manufacturer to eliminate defects and wasted materials, increase their throughput, and improve the quality of their products.  Defects dropped from 1/20 diapers to less than 1/1000.

If you have a similar application or similar needs, contact an EXAIR Application Engineer.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer
LeeEvans@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_LE

Static Electricity – What is it?

Now that the air is cooling and the humidity is dropping, you may often experience the phenomena of static electricity, and the resultant shock when touching something metal. As a child, you may have learned about static electricity by rubbing a balloon on your head and then seeing it stick to the wall. What is the science behind static electricity?

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All materials are made up of atoms, which have a positively charged core called the nucleus surrounded by a cloud of negatively charged electrons.  Each material is different, and in some types of materials the positive nucleus has a very strong pull on the electrons while in other materials the pull is very weak.  If we were to put a strong  pull material in contact with a weaker pull material, atoms from the weak pull material will migrate, and when the materials are separated, additional electrons will remain with the strong pull material.  Due to the overall increase in electron quantity, the material becomes negatively charged and the other material becomes positively charged. If the materials are rubbed together, the opportunities for the electron migration increases, and thus more electrons are exchanged.

Electrons build up more easily in dry conditions. When the air has humidity, static build up is less common because a very thin layer of water molecules coat most surfaces, which allows the electrons to move more freely and make most materials conductive and static free.

In some cases, static electricity can be a good thing – laser printers and photocopiers use static electricity to transfer ink from the drum to the paper.  Also, some power plants and chemical factories use static electricity  to remove pollutants in a process that takes place within the smokestack.

But generally when EXAIR gets involved, it is because the static electricity is causing an unwanted build up of static charge that affects a manufacturing process. The results of a static charge imbalance can result in a shock to an operator, materials sticking together, poor print quality, sensor or counter malfunctions, bad surface finish, or any number of other problems.

EXAIR offers systems for total static control, such as the Super Ion Air Knife and Ionizing Bars for wide applications such as paper, film and plastic webs, the Super Ion Air Wipe for narrow, continuously moving materials such as wire, tube, or extrusions.  Also offered are the handheld Ion Air Gun for use on three dimensional parts prior to assembly, packaging painting or finishing. Other options include the Ion Air Cannon for limited space or remote mounting applications, Ion Air Jet for tight spaces and concentrated airflow, and the Ionizing Point to provide close distance and accurate static removal.

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Super Ion Air Wipe

To discuss your static elimination concerns , feel free to contact EXAIR and one our  Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.

Brian Bergmann
Application Engineer

Send me an email
Find us on the Web
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Twitter: @EXAIR_BB

Spark Photo Credit – Eric Skiff – via Creative Commons License

Changing of the Seasons

According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, the Fall Equinox and thus the end of summer occurs tomorrow, September 22, at 10:21 am EDT for us here in Cincinnati, OH.

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Just as the seasons change and the weather goes from warm, humid days to cooler, drier times, we see a change at EXAIR in what challenges our customers face. Telephone calls and online chat topics about overheating electrical enclosures and Cabinet Cooler Systems tend to drop off and invariably the topic of static issues and the EXAIR Static Eliminators solutions take their place.

EXAIR has many available solutions for total static control, whether on a moving web, sheet stock, or three dimensional parts, extrusions or plastics.

Static eliminators with air combine EXAIR engineered airflow products with an ionizing point to eliminate a static charge quickly and at great distances.  Laminar flow air streams make it possible to blow away dirt and debris, and deliver the ionized air to neutralize surface static.  They are ideal for hard to reach places and obstructed surfaces, high speed moving objects, and surfaces with extremely high charges. Some examples are the Super Ion Air Knife, Ion Air Cannon, Ion Air Gun, and the Ion Air Jet.

Static Eliminators

Static eliminators without air may be necessary when even small amounts of air can disrupt the product, such as light weight materials. EXAIR offers two types of ionizers to handle these types of applications.  The Ionizing Bar is ideal for flat materials when the bar can be mounted close to the media.  The Ionizing Point is a good solution for spot neutralization such as in winding or slitting operations where its compact size allows for installation close to the source of the static generation. Both of these products should be mounted within 2″ of the surface they are removing static.

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Ionizing Bar

When you notice static beginning to build in your process, feel free to contact EXAIR and one our  Application Engineers can help you determine which  Static Eliminator solution can help you.

Brian Bergmann
Application Engineer

Send me an email
Find us on the Web
Like us on Facebook
Twitter: @EXAIR_BB

 

Sun and Earth Graphic courtesy of Ruslan via Creative Commons License

EXAIR’s New Ion Air Cannon Static Eliminator

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Model 8192 Ion Air Cannon


EXAIR Corporation has introduced a new design for our Ion Air Cannon. The new design is able to perform all of the same functions as our previous model with
the additional features that the product is even more rugged to withstand the rigors of industrial, everyday use in a variety of applications. The Ion Air Cannon performs on bench-top applications, can be mounted to a wall or ceiling, or placed in tight spaces within machinery to eliminate static. 

The New Ion Air Cannon, Model 8192 still has the UL component recognition for the US and Canada. It is also OSHA compliant for dead-end pressures in that it keeps the output pressure well below 30 PSIG when dead ended. Keeping our RoHS compliance was another important factor when putting together the new Ion Air Cannon design parameters. Beyond these compliances, the New Ion Air Cannon is also CE compliant to applicable European directives for safety as well as electromagnetic interference.

With the new design, we have integrated the grounding reference into the high voltage cable so there is now only one connection that must be made at the power supply for the high voltage signal as well as the return path for Earth ground. We have also changed the cable construction to be built using a PVC coated, stainless steel, armored cable to withstand many common hazards, thus protecting the internal conductors as well as providing electrical shielding to maintain CE compliance.

The modular, high voltage, cable assembly is also removable to allow for cleaning and replacement of the solid, stainless steel emitter point to insure problem free operation. The New Ion Air Cannon comes standard with a 5 ft. long, high voltage cable. However, other cable lengths up to 50 ft. are available by request for applications where mounting the Ion Air Cannon remotely from the power supply is necessary.

When powered by Model 7960, dual input voltage, Power Supply, the new, model 8192 Ion Air Cannon remains shockless to operators and incorporates over-current protection by means of an integrated fuse in the power supply as well as a shunting secondary to lower the voltage output to zero volts should the high voltage cable become damaged and cause a shorted condition.

The New Ion Air Cannon will make a substantial addition to any application requiring a flexible static eliminating solution to be mounted and operated by personnel working in packaging, finishing, plastic molding, pre-paint dust removal and many more applications.

Give the New Ion Air Cannon a try. You will be pleased with the fast static decay times and impressed with how easy it can remove static in your application.

Neal Raker, International Sales Manager
nealraker@exair.com
@EXAIR_NR

 

Ion Air Cannon

Generally in the winter time, we see an increase in production issues due to static. When the ambient air becomes drier, static ions build more easily on the surface. For this application, the customer was drying a wood based compost with compressed air. His compressed air system used a heated desiccant dryer to remove the moisture to a dew point of -40 deg. F (-40 deg. C). (That means the compressed air system would not see any water unless the temperature was below -40 deg.) He would blow the very dry air into the bed to remove any moisture. This would make the compost very light and reduce decomposing.

Ion Air Cannon

Ion Air Cannon

The problem occurred during shipment. He would convey the compost up a conveyor belt to a chute. The chute had a line to direct the compost inside a rail car. Because of the non-conductive material of the conveyor belt and the extremely dry material of wood, a large amount of static was being generated. With like charges repelling each other, it would create a bridge in the chute, causing it to plug and backup. My suggestion was to use our Super Ion Air Cannon. It would remove the static charges that was being generated, and also create a small positive pressure to keep the compost moving. With the amount of material that he was conveying, he installed 4 Super Ion Air Cannons for each chute. The problem was solved and the operation was not hindered. If you have any issues with your system, you can contact one of our Application Engineers to see if we can help at 800-903-9247.

John Ball
Application Engineer
Email: johnball@exair.com
Twitter: twitter.com/exair_jb

Hello Static

The late fall and early winter season has arrived in Cincinnati and the telltale signs are everywhere – falling leaves, falling temperatures, and falling humidity.  The latter of these signs is a precursor to an indirectly proportional occurrence – the increase of static.

Static occurs when a similar electrical charge exists between two insulators.  Most often, the charge on the surface of these insulators causes them to repel one another, stick together, or causes the charge to seek an any available path to ground.  One such insulator that can be found everywhere is air, and the other can take on a variety of forms.  It can be the cardboard box used to ship a product, geotextile material used to increase soil stability, or (as is the case below) a PET bottle travelling along a conveyor line.

Plastic bottles on conveyor

PET bottles travelling on conveyor between cleaning and filling stages

In the photo shown above the plastic bottles are being transferred from one stage of processing to the next, and when reaching the next stage of the process the bottles need to be filled.  But, due to the static charge created during transfer along the conveyor, the bottles are sticking together, creating a process disturbance.

In this application, suitable product selection choices are quite extensive.  Super Ion Air Knives can be used on each side of the bottles to remove the static charge, an Ion Air Cannon can be positioned between the conveyor and the filling station, Ion Air Jets can be installed along the conveyor, or (if the line speed is slow enough) Ion Bars can be installed  to remove the static charge.

As the humidity of the ambient air decreases with the season, static problems inevitably increase.  If you have a static related application problem, contact an EXAIR Application Engineer for a suitable solution.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer
LeeEvans@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_LE

End User Finds Help With Multiple Applications Using EXAIR

In my blog last week I mentioned the various markets we serve at EXAIR and how, despite the cold weather in the U.S., demand for product like our Cabinet Coolers is still high in other parts of the world.  This week has been no different.  In fact, I’ve had an increase in the need of our overseas end users for Cabinet Coolers.  And, I’ve had domestic end users calling in for static related problems that notice our other products on the web and earmark them for later use.

For example, the same end user that needed our Ion Air Cannon to solve feed disruptions of a pill filling machine earlier this month (see blog here), had another application and gave me a call.  The new application needed to remove a powder from the exterior of an open container while eliminating static as the product travelled down a conveyor.  The open containers were filled with powder in a dedicated room, then conveyed through a wall to an encapsulate room.  With the current setup, powder is flooding the encapsulate room and this is an undesired occurrence.

So, the end user and I kicked around a number of ideas including using a Super Ion Air Knife for an air curtain, using Air Amplifiers to create a constant “dispersed footprint” of air at the opening between the rooms, and even discussed pressurizing the encapsulate room a smidge to keep powder from entering.

Ultimately, after working around space and budgetary constraints, we settled on the solution of using Super Ion Air Knives along the sides of the enclosures and operating at t low pressure, mounted in the encapsulate room and aimed into the fill room.  This solution aims to remove the static, blow off the unwanted powder from the containers, and provides a method to keep the powder out of the encapsulate room.

This application was sorted late in the day yesterday, the product was on the shelf and it shipped same day. I am confident our customer will be pleased with the results.

But, the bigger point that came about from this application was that our end user knew instinctively to contact EXAIR for assistance with their application.  If you need help with your application, contact an EXAIR Application Engineer.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer
LeeEvans@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_LE

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