While writing my blog last week on all of the features & benefits of the Gen4 Ion Air Jet, I couldn’t help but think of some of the very interesting and successful uses I’ve seen in my nine years (as of this past Monday) as an Application Engineer at EXAIR Corporation. In honor of my workaversary, this week’s edition is Russ’ Top 9 Ion Air Jet applications:
A medical device manufacturer uses Ion Air Jets to remove dust from plastic extrusion as it goes through a puller belt. The small diameter (0.05″ to 0.10″) made the Ion Air Jet a more efficient fit than the Super Ion Air Wipe, which is commonly used for extrusions like this, but is most effective for larger diameters.
A maker of large scale automated machinery has provided Ion Air Jets (as well as other EXAIR quiet, efficient, and safe compressed air products) on machines they’ve been selling their customers for years. When they started machining their own plastic parts, the Ion Air Jet was their first thought for a solution when plastic chips started sticking to their drill bits.
A commercial printer makes displays, signs, etc. from a variety of static-prone materials such as acrylic, polycarbonate, and styrene. They use CNC routers to cut them to size & shape, form the edges, and add dimensional detail. Ion Air Jets blow the dust & shavings away, and keep them away, greatly reducing the prep time between routing and assembly.
A weather sealing/stripping manufacturer uses Ion Air Jets to remove statically charged dust from their rubber & foam product extrusions, allowing for increased line speeds and better cuts for the products they cut for specific seal packages for the residential & commercial door and automotive industries, among others.
A major provider of electrical and electronic contactors uses Ion Air Jets to blow off contact strip as it rolls off large reels to remove protective film and static.
A manufacturer of wire marking machinery installs Ion Air Jets on their machines that are used to print on products with especially static-prone jackets, to ensure clean and crisp markings
A cable manufacturer that caters to the computer & electronic industries uses Ion Air Jets to remove static & dust as foil is applied to PVC coated wire. This eliminates the static charge that was causing inconsistencies when the adhesive was heated to activate.
A wholesale food equipment distributor uses Ion Air Jets to blow out bottles during the sterilization process, prior to filling.
A maker of specialty polymers uses Ion Air Jets to keep fine powders from accumulating in the entries into their hoppers.
If you have a problem with static, the Ion Air Jet is just one of the solutions EXAIR Corporation can provide. If you’d like to find out more about how we can help, give me a call.
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The video below provides details on the simple conversion to the new Gen4 style Super Ion Air Knife from the previous style or the addition of a Gen4 Ionizing Bar to an existing Super Air Knife to add static elimination to an existing blow off.
If you have questions about the Gen4 Super Ion Air Knife or any of the 16 different EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air® Product lines, feel free to contact EXAIR and myself or any of our Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.
A manufacturer of plastic bottles had a problem with static charge. Right after the bottles are extruded and cooled, they have an apparatus that “unscrambles” them and places them, single file, onto a conveyor. It does so with some fabric belts and plastic rollers. If you know anything of static electricity, dear reader, you probably recognize that there aren’t too many better ways to generate a static charge than to rub plastic against plastic, or (even worse) plastic & fabric together. Here’s a prime example of the kind of static charge you can get, just from unrolling plastic film.
Now, the bottle makers didn’t have a static meter, but they didn’t need one to know they had issues: the bottles that the “unscrambler” was putting on the belt were still very much “scrambled.” They installed a Model 112209 9″ GEN4 Super Ion Air Knife Kit, to blow ionized air up from under the bottles as they entered the belt conveyor, and they did see what they’d call an improvement, but not quite what they’d call a solution.
Unfortunately, dissipating the static from just about half of the surface area of the bottle was still leaving them with half a problem. However, by adding a Model 112009 9″ GEN4 Super Ion Air Knife (the 112209 Kit’s Power Supply has two outlets, and its Filter Separator & Pressure Regulator are capable of handling the flow to two 9″ Air Knives,) they were able to blow ionized air down from the other side, and up from where the first one was installed. A soft “breeze” was all it took…a stronger air flow would have worked against the “unscrambler” anyway…because even at very low supply pressures, the Super Ion Air Knives produce an extremely fast static dissipation rate.
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.
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 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.
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.