Super Air Knife Helps Plastic Injection Molder

EXAIR commonly works with plastic injection molding companies. They produce top quality plastic parts from both commodity and engineering-grade resins for many diverse industries. The customer reached out to us with a problem. A mold that they were running was having some issues. The parts were not releasing and ejecting properly, causing the need to use a mold release, which was slowing down the process by a manual operation to the process.  Also, the parts were seeing push pin marks, causing cosmetic issues with the parts.  The customer wanted to explore using compressed air to blow the parts free.

Plastic Injection Mold
Typical Plastic Injection Mold

Based on the mold size and layout, a pair of 12″ Super Air Knives was installed.  The knives are oriented to blow straight down along the face of the mold, one knife per part tree.  The strong laminar flow of air hits the parts causing them to release and drop without the use of release agents.  Also, the push pin marks are within normal standards, eliminating the the cosmetic concerns.

gh_Super Air Knife 750x696

This is just one example of how intelligently using compressed air can help improve a process.  By using air knives for wide areas or using a 1″ Flat Super Air Nozzle for very small parts, or anywhere in between, we can help to solve your part ejection issues and make your process run better, faster, and with higher quality.

1126
1″ Flat Super Air Nozzle with Changeable Shims

If you would like to talk about Super Air Knives, Flat Nozzles or any of the EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air® Products, feel free to contact EXAIR and myself or one of our Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.

Brian Bergmann
Application Engineer

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Injection Mold Photo – “Creative Commons Injection Mold” by Mitch Barrie is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Basics of Static Electricity

Here in the Northern Hemisphere, we are in the middle of winter and that means extremely dry air, and frequent shocks when reaching for a door knob after walking across a carpeted surface.  While a shock is mildly uncomfortable and can be annoying to us, the presence of static electricity in an industrial manufacturing process can be much more problematic.

Problems that static cause range from operator discomfort to increased downtime to quality issues.  Dust can cling to product, product can cling to itself, rollers, frames, or conveyors. Materials may tear, jam, curl and sheet fed items can stick and mis-feed. Hazardous sparks and shocks can occur, possibly damaging sensitive electronics.

EXAIR has put together a useful tool, the Basics of Static Electricity white paper with Interactive Regions to help a person learn more about static.

Basics of Static Electricity

 

Topics covered include Electron Theory, Causes of Static Electricity, Triboelectric Series chart, and Types of Static Generation.  Also, the white paper covers the areas of How to Control Static Charge Buildup, Determining the Source of the Static Buildup, Eliminating or Minimizing the Source Causing the Buildup, and Treating Static Buildup.

The Treating Static Buildup is a comprehensive review of the EXAIR Static Elimination products and how each technology is best applied to different processes and applications.

To receive your copy of the Basics of Static Electricity white paper, click the photo above or the link here.

If you would like to talk about static electricity or any of the EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air® Products, feel free to contact EXAIR and myself or one of our Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.

Brian Bergmann
Application Engineer

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Twitter: @EXAIR_BB

The Case For The EXAIR Super Ion Air Knife

One of the best ways, in industry, to generate a static charge is to roll or unroll non-conductive materials such as polymer films, plastic sheet, etc. It’s common to see static charges well in excess of 10,000 volts in such operations, like the one I discussed with a customer recently.

The separation of the non-conductive surfaces (like when this plastic film is unrolled) is capable of generating an incredible amount of static charge. Here are two examples showing 12,400 and 16,900 volts.

One of the best ways, in industry, to dissipate a static charge is to use ionized air.  There are different methods of doing this; one of the most popular is to effect a Corona discharge, via a high voltage, low amperage electric current.  This is precisely what EXAIR’s Static Eliminators provide: a Corona discharge produces a bulk of both (+) and (-) ions in the enormous volume of high velocity air flow generated.  When these (+) and (-) ions flow onto a surface charged with (-) and (+) ions, they cancel each other out, leaving a net neutral charge.  Static, eliminated!

THE best way to accomplish this is the EXAIR Super Ion Air Knife.

From small bottles to wide films, EXAIR Super Ion Air Knives come in a variety of lengths to meet the needs of most any static dissipation application.

By combining an Ionizing Bar with a Super Air Knife, as Super Ion Air Knife provides rapid static elimination AND blow off of any dust, chips, or debris that was being statically held.  The laminar curtain of ionized air not only maximizes the rate of static dissipation, but is also ideal for stripping/sweeping away any debris, leaving a clean, static-free surface.  No more jamming, tearing, nuisance shocks to operators, dust attraction, or any of the other host of problems associated with static electricity.

The ionized air flow can be precisely regulated to whatever level it takes to get the job done.  At 100psig, the powerful, high velocity blast will dissipate 5,000 volts of static charge in 0.18 seconds.  If the material is fragile, or if that kind of air flow might disrupt the process, it’s not a big deal…even at 5psig supply pressure, that same 5,000 volts is dissipated in 0.40 seconds.  That’s how it works on the plastic roll above – with just a whisper of ionized air flow from a Super Ion Air Knife, they consistently reduce the resultant static charge to less than 400 volts…far below the threshold for the nuisance shocks they wanted to avoid.

They’re on the shelf in lengths from 3 inches to 9 feet long, and we can make custom lengths in three days after receipt of an order.  The 115/230VAC GEN4 Power Supplies are available with 2 or 4 outlets, to energize any 2 or 4 EXAIR GEN4 Static Eliminators.

Versatile. Efficient. Effective. Quiet. Safe.  And, readily available.  If you’d like to discuss a static problem, give me a call.

Super Ion Air Knife Removes Foil Dots In Lid Cutting Operation

I recently received an inquiry from a food manufacturer about a packaging line they were having issues with.  The plant fills continuous rows of thermo-formed cups which is then sealed with a single foil lid. Once sealed, a machine cuts the row to separate the cups, which creates small scrap pieces of foil. After the cutting operation, they try to collect as much of the waste trim as possible but some small pieces of foil, they call “dots”, cling to the surface of the cup and cutter due to static charge.  The company installed a vacuum collection hood in this area, to try and help keep the foil pieces or any dust from falling onto the cup during the process. While this did help somewhat, some dots would remain and eventually fall off further down the line, making small piles that needed to be manually cleaned to avoid potential jams, which slowed down their production cycle.

The cups are filled and separated on a 44″ wide, mesh-screen conveyor with individual lanes to process multiple rows of cups. After being cut, the cups are moved to the inspection area and then packaged for shipment.  I recommended they mount a 48″ Super Ion Air Knife above and below the cups and direct the airflow to the end where the vacuum collection hood is located. The idea is, as the ions eliminate the charge, the small foil dots will release and the laminar airflow would keep the parts moving toward the vacuum hood, thus removing all foil trim and preventing any piling of trim further down the production line.

The Super Ion Air Knife produces a sheet of ionized air capable of dissipating 5 kV in just a fraction of a second!

EXAIR offers a wide selection of Static Eliminators for use in a variety of industrial processes. If you are experiencing static concerns in a particular area or to discuss a specific process, please contact an application engineer for assistance.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

Super Ion Air Knives Remove Dust from Plastic Panels

20160426_134447
Conveyor line with static dust problem

One of our distributors reached out to me this week about a static elimination application in Russia.  The end user has the setup shown above, and they are in need of a means to remove dust from the plastic panels on the conveyor.  These panels have a static charge causing ambient dust to adhere to their surfaces.

The main questions for this application were whether we could provide a solution capable of creating a static eliminating blow off for the entire width of the conveyor (approx. 54”), and whether the dust particles can be removed from the working area after removal from the plastic panels.

In order to answer the first question we first had to select a solution, and the Super Ion Air Knife is a near-perfect fit.  We can provide Super Ion Air Knives in any length up to 108”, with a stock length 54” unit available on the shelf.  This was a straightforward recommendation to remove the static from these plastic sheets – install one 111054 54” Super Ion Air Knife on the top and bottom sides of this conveyor to remove the static and blow off the dust.  But, the second question will require a more specialized solution.

When static causes dust to adhere to a surface, removal of the static charge allows the dust to fall off or be blown away, so we were confident that we can remove the static and dust.  But, we then need to vacuum these dust particles away – something we could achieve with a series of Super Air Amplifiers or Line Vacs – which will require some sort of specialized hood.  Fortunately for us, this application already has a vacuum control system with a hood (you can see this in the right side of the photo with a large plastic air duct running to the top and bottom hoods on this conveyor line).

So, problem solved!  We recommended the two Super Ion Air Knives are installed with the airflow aimed at a 45° angle of attack, opposite the direction of travel, and with the airflow aimed into these vacuum hoods.

If you have a similar application or static problem in your facility, give us a call, we’ll be happy to help.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer
LeeEvans@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_LE

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

Super Air Knife Retrofit To Super ION Air Knife

One application I have recently received was from a customer that is machining a plastic material and the chips were clinging to the part, the inside of the machine, and his operators during change out.  He first tried a regular blow off gun with some results but the chips seemed to cling to whatever they were blown towards.  He then installed a Super Air Knife in hopes to create a sheet of air that will not permit the chips to cling.  While this did work for the majority of his chips there were still those that were getting blown up and being held to surfaces with a static charge.  This was a concern because if the chips were not evacuated from the machining area then it would reduce his tool life and also cause possible part defects. 

When discussing the application it was apparent that there was a static cling issue.  Rather than having to take out the Super Air Knife that was already in place we were able to retrofit his existing air knife with the correct length Ion Bar and power supply to create the Super Ion Air Knife he needed. 

Once the Ion Bar and power supply were installed the static elimination began with the flip of a switch on the power supply.  Not only was he blowing all the chips off the part but, he was also helping clean the path of the cutter which increased the tool life.  The cutter housing was also getting cleared of chips that were statically charged, and the Ion Knife was helping to evacuate all the chips into his auger and allowing for a cleaner machining area.  This in turn helped the operators reduce the amount of chips clinging to them when changing the parts in and out of the machine.

All in all, the customer was very pleased that the amount of work that went into retrofitting his Super Air Knife with the Ion Bar was quick and quite simple.

A retrofit like this is also possible if you have an Ion Bar that seems to need some air assist in order to perform better in your application.  Just contact any of our Application Engineers here at EXAIR Corp. and we will be glad to help with any issues you have.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer
brianfarno@EXAIR.com