What Makes Things Easier Than An EXAIR Static Eliminator? Another EXAIR Static Eliminator!

A contract manufacturer, servicing the medical and biotechnology markets, is a long time user of our Ion Air Guns. They’ve had great success with them in keeping their products free from static & dust for years. These are mainly small, hand-held parts, so, when they need to get them clean and static-free during assembly and packaging, EXAIR’s Ion Air Gun is ideal, because it, too, is small and hand-held.

A new process, though, involves the operator needing both hands for assembly. This would mean picking up the Ion Air Gun, blowing off the part, putting it down, and then using both hands to complete the operation. They thought there had to be a better way. And they were right!

The Model 8910 Instant Static Elimination Station offers hands-free control of ionized air flow – a foot pedal turns an Ion Air Jet (whose performance is identical to the Ion Air Gun) on and off with…well, the press of a foot. The Magnetic Base and Stay Set Hose make it easy to install, and even easier to position.

Hand held convenience of the Ion Air Gun (easy) or no-hands convenience of the Ion Air Jet Station (easier.) Your call.
Hand held convenience of the Ion Air Gun (easy) or no-hands convenience of the Ion Air Jet Station (easier.) Your call.

For an even more automated approach, they are considering an EFC Electronic Flow Control. They’re ready to go, right out of the box…the photoelectric sensor will open and close a solenoid valve (installed in the compressed air supply line) based on the setting of the programmable timer unit. With a simple wave of the part in front of the sensor, the operator could activate a preset blow of a few seconds, which would be easy to determine, even easier to set, and…easiest of all…reliably repeat all day long. They’re going to try out the foot pedal first, and that’s just fine by me.  Perhaps there’s such as thing as “too easy,” but man, I hope not.

Even if you’re already using EXAIR products to make things easy, you can call me to see how much easier it might get.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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Speaking of easy...get a FREE AC Sensor with a Static Eliminator order. Promotion ends 1/31/2017!
Speaking of easy…get a FREE AC Sensor with a Static Eliminator order. Promotion ends 1/31/2017!

Static Can Become A Big Issue With Winter Approaching

Many automotive parts are made of plastic, and with nonconductive materials, static electricity can become a big problem, especially in cooler climates.

A customer with whom I spoke recently assembles instrumentation clusters for vehicles.  The assembly process started by using a regular compressed air gun to blow the surfaces clean before assembly.  The operator would place a polycarbonate applique onto a lighting fixture.  Then a clear polycarbonate cover would go over both parts.  To complete the cluster assembly, an ultrasonic welder would weld the plastic studs around the outside edge and seal the parts together.  This completed the assembly process.  However, during inspection, they started to notice more visual defects after the welding process.  The cause was debris that became lodged between the applique and the clear cover. The debris was still present even after blowing.  If the debris wasn’t cleared prior to welding, the entire assembly would have to be scrapped due to the visual defect. The customer knew about EXAIR from previous projects and so decided to get help from us again to solve this expensive reject situation.

Initially, blowing the plastic components with regular compressed air before assembling and welding  worked well, but then they started seeing an increase in the reject rate.  I came to find out that they were located in Michigan. So I asked the customer about the weather there recently. They indicated that was getting cooler as we begin to head into Fall and Winter. As cooler weather is among us, static can be generated much easier because cool air cannot hold as much moisture. And with less moisture, which aids to eliminate a static charge, the likelihood that static will generate goes up.  Once static is generated on plastic components, dust and debris likes to stick to the surface.  Static charges are very strong, and even with blowing compressed air, the debris can still cling to edges or even “jump” to another location.  This was a manual operation and they needed to remove the static from the surface in order to eliminate the debris from the assembly.

8493-ion-air-gun

I recommended the model 8493 Ion Air Gun Kit. It combines static removal capability with a blowing force that one would normally associate with a compressed air blowgun.  The kit includes the Ion Air Gun, power supply, filter and regulator.  The Ion Air Gun is designed with a 5:1 amplification ratio; minimizing compressed air usage and maximizing ionized airflow.  With the regulator, you can control the force from a “blast” to a “breeze”.  The ionized airflow eliminates the static from the plastic surfaces, allowing the airstream to remove any dirt and debris.  They replaced their current air gun with the EXAIR Ion Air Gun, and the rejection rate decreased to the acceptable levels that they were seeing in the summer months.

Being that the winter months are approaching, you may want to re-evaluate your processes.  If you are working with non-conductive materials like plastic, wood, glass, or textiles, EXAIR has a variety of Static Eliminators that can save you from getting headaches, losing money, and saving time.  With our customer above, they weren’t able to get ahead of the static issue, and it created many problems until they investigated using EXAIR Static Eliminators. Get rid of your static headaches by using an EXAIR Static Eliminator today.

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

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

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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

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Twitter: @EXAIR_BB

 

Sun and Earth Graphic courtesy of Ruslan via Creative Commons License

Preventing Quality Defects in Laminated Autoglass

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.

glass
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.

Ion Air Gun

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 Knives to 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.

Dave Woerner
Application Engineer
Davewoerner@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_DW

 

Image from me and the sysop. Creative Commons

Video Blog: Taking Care of Your Ion Air Gun

Welcome to the latest in our Application Engineering Video Series. In this installment, we’ll cover how to test and maintain an EXAIR Ion Air Gun.

To view Brian and Joe’s videos that I talked about, follow these links:

Ionizing Bar Maintenance

Static Meter Operation

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
(513)671-3322 local
(800)923-9247 toll free
(513)671-3363 fax
Web: http://www.exair.com
Blog: https://blog.exair.com/
Twitter: twitter.com/exair_rb
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/exair

A home use for Static Eliminators

The chill in the air can only mean one thing here in Ohio, the end of Summer.  With the end of Summer the temperatures start to drop and the air starts to dry up.  With the dry air comes static charge.  You start noticing every time you get out of your car you end up getting zapped, when you go to shake someone’s hand you get another zap, even hobbies can become susceptible to static.  This is exactly what happened to me two nights ago.

My nephew has a remote control car that he absolutely loves to drive fast and crash with.  Well the remote control cars of today tend to have a little more power than those that I used to play with.  So all the crashing and stopping and going had stripped the spur gear out that is driven by the dual motors.  You can see the remains of the gear below.

While shopping for parts to fix his car I decided he needs a friend to run the R/C cars with so I got myself one.  (Of course it had to be faster than his.  I mean who wants to lose a race to a kid.)  I was done with his car and took the car I purchased out of the box.  This truck came pre-assembled unlike the ones I used to get and all I had to do was add some accent decals if I wanted to.  Of course I decided I could make it look like the one on the box without any problems.  This is where the problem started.   

You see, the body of the truck is plastic and after wiping it down to ensure it was clean for the decals I had loaded it up with a nice static charge.  Then by peeling the decals off the backing paper I generated some more static onto the decals.  This resulted in me getting the decal within an inch of the body and the static charge would pull the decal onto the surface before it was lined up.  After peeling the same decal off about 3 times because of this I really began to wish I had an Ion Air Gun or even a small Ion Bar in my garage to help with the problem.  

With a quick blast of ionized air over the body inside and out, eliminates all the static and makes the decal application process much easier.   Now I just have to work on that whole steady hand part of it.  Eventually it will be done and look near professional.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF