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 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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Sun and Earth Graphic courtesy of Ruslan via Creative Commons License

Static Eliminators Assist Truck Headlight Assembly

This week I was contacted by an automation company who was contracted to assemble new truck headlights. The 2 parts in the process are the lens and the body and they are brought into a machine on 2 separate lines running parallel to each other. A robot arm picks up the lens and holds it in place against the body while a thin layer of glue is placed around the edge. The finished product is then sent down line where it travels under an inspection light to check for any captured debris and to ensure a proper seal. It was at this point they noticed residual internal dust on both pieces which caused an inspection fail and created a large amount of rework and/or scrap, so they called EXAIR for help.

The customer set up an online meeting where they were able to show an illustration of the process. Since these parts are plastic, their potential for holding a static charge increases. These lenses are also recently removed from the mold which may also be causing a static charge as they are separated from the mold. At the time of the call the lenses were brought in 2 at a time, face down over an opening in the bottom of the table where they use compressed air to blow them clean. The customer had not considered that static may be holding the dust on the surface of the lenses and that a static elimination process could provide a solution. The opening under the lenses was approximately 12″ (300mm) long x 6″ (150mm) wide so I recommended using our Model # 111012, 12″ Super Ion Air Knife and mounting the unit under the opening, directing the airflow blow out the inside of the lens. The Super Ion Air Knife produces a high velocity, laminar sheet of ionized airflow across the entire length of the knife capable of dissipating 5kV in .018 seconds when 6″ away and operating at 80 PSIG supply pressure.

Super Ion Air Knife
Super Ion Air Knife available up to 108″ in one-piece construction.

For the body application, the parts were again brought in 2 at a time, face down but there were (2) smaller openings, approximately 4″ (150mm) x 4″ (150mm) so I recommended using (2) of our Model # 7194-9362, Stay Set Ion Air Jets and mounting one unit at each opening. blowing back up inside the body.  The Stay Set Ion Air Jet produces a more focused ionized airflow and allows you to bend the hose to deliver the airflow to the critical area.

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Stay Set Ion Air Jet easily directs ionized airflow and holds position.

Since both processes are being performed in close proximity, on one machine, they were able to use our Model # 7940 Power Supply (115V, 50/60Hz) with 4 outlets to operate all 3 ionizers, simplifying the setup and installation.

If you are experiencing a static issue in your facility, give us a call, we are here to help.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

 

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

More Than You Asked For? Not A Problem.

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EXAIR’s brand-new Catalog #27 came out yesterday. It contains 168 pages of details on our fifteen distinct lines of Intelligent Compressed Air Products. When you make products, like we do, that range from coating to cooling to conveying to cleaning to conservation (and those are just the ones we put on the cover), we can hardly blame folks for calling with one product in mind, and finding that another (sometimes) completely different product is the ideal solution to their application…and perhaps another part of their application as well. I had the pleasure of assisting an OEM machine manufacturer with the perfect example of this just the other day:

This customer makes machinery for the food industry. They were experimenting with a machine for a candy maker – small fruit gum candies are fed into a bowl hopper, where they needed to have a static charge eliminated for the next part of their proprietary process. The machine maker had procured a fan-type ionized air blower, which did a decent job of removing the static, but they also needed a way to keep the candies separated…they don’t call them “gummies” for nothing, right?

Anyway, they were looking for suggestions for an air nozzle to provide a little blast of air to break up the ones that were stuck together, and were concerned about disturbing the ionized air flow. In essence, they didn’t want to trade one problem for another. This actually made them quite interested to hear about our Static Eliminators, which could potentially eliminate the cost, space, and installation of their current ionized air blower.

The concentrated airflow of the Model 7294 Ion Air Jet (with Power Supply) is able to be directed to a precise spot in the bowl, and, as the candies pass through, they’re both separated and neutralized of their static charge. This turned into a real all-in-one solution, AND an introduction of a new (to them) EXAIR product line.

EXAIR's Ion Air Jet provides focused blowoff AND static elimination...an all-in-one solution.
EXAIR’s Ion Air Jet provides focused blowoff AND static elimination…an all-in-one solution.

If you want to find out how an EXAIR product can contribute to the efficiency of your process, or the value of your OEM machinery designs, give us a call.  Don’t be surprised, though, if we offer you more than you asked for.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
www.exair.com
twitter.com/exair_rb
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Is The Polar Vortex Responsible for Creating an EXAIR Application?

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It’s a new year, and with it comes new opportunities and new applications.  With the recent cold spell that’s taken hold of the U.S., and the Midwest especially, the applications susceptible to static have spiked.  Yesterday I spoke with an end-user in Texas experiencing the coldest temperatures on record, and with those low temps came low humidity and the perfect environment for static accumulation.

The process in the application was to feed a pill filling machine (machine fills gelcaps with small beads of XYZ) from a hopper a short distance away.  Typically, the feed from one to the other is accomplished with gravity.  The hopper sits about 5 feet higher than the pill filler and when more material is needed, a valve is opened and viola!

But the transfer of the material had slowed to a creep and then to a fully unacceptable rate.  The end-user decided to install an EXAIR Ion Air Jet, and to their surprise, there was no change.  So, they called in and sought guidance on how to move forward.

The first step in such a situation is to make sure the unit is properly installed.  Most often, when an EXAIR device doesn’t function as intended out of the box it is due to improper installation.  When asked what the pressure at the device was, the end-user said “Probably pretty low.  There’s about 30 feet of ¼” line and at least two quick disconnects feeding the unit.”  When asked what the airflow through the Ion Air Jet felt like, they again replied that it was low and we traced this to the poor plumbing.

But what about neutralizing the static?  Poor plumbing can account for a portion of that but we should still see some achievable results even with low airflow.  (In fact, low airflow is common in a static application because once the static is removed, any process disturbance or dust adhered to the product blows away with relative ease.)  We went through the steps to connect the Ion Air Jet to the power supply, and found that the ground was not connected to the power supply!  The end-user connected the ground, and reset the Ion Air Jet to meet the desired results.

EXAIR static eliminators are designed for ease of use and if they ever become problematic, Application Engineers are on staff to get the product, and the application back on track.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer
LeeEvans@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_LE

Side note:  With the A4 running (and DESTROYING the snow) I’ve been cruising the local ads to see what’s out there.  (I blame @EXAIR_BF for asking me to help him find a car.  Ok, he didn’t ask, but he wants something German and I don’t need much of an impetus.)  I ran across an E36 3 series BMW that blew the head gasket and the owner tried to repair.  Halfway through the job they realized they were in over there head, put the top half of the engine in the trunk, and threw it up for sale cheap (just how I like ’em :) ).  Can I take boxes of engine parts tossed into a trunk and make a car run again?  Let’s find out!  I’ll update the 3 series progress and post a few pics when the weather breaks.