Levitating Spoons – is it Magic or Static Electricity?

I remember as a young lad watching a magician making a dollar bill disappear or a paper clip levitate.  The power of illusions.

An injection molding company was having issues in removing their parts from a tool.  This company made plastic spoons in a multi-cavity tool.  During the start of the operation, they noticed that some of the spoons (reference photo below)  were “sticking” to the mold surface.  Some spoons looked like they spoon were “defying gravity” .  It was not an illusion of levitation, but static.

Static charges can dramatically slow down production rates with plastic materials.  In this instance, the operator had to remove the spoons manually prior to restarting another cycle on the machine.  They measured roughly 30% of the time that they would have to stop their operation.  To counteract the parts sticking, they attempted to mount a pipe with drill holes above the tool.  They tried to use the force from the compressed air to remove any stragglers that remained in the tool.  This is a simple and easy-to-do method; but with this type of blow-off, it is very loud, inefficient and not real effective.

They only saw a slight improvement in part removal as they still had to stop roughly 28% of the time.  The bottom portion of the cavities still had spoons remaining in the tool.  With the amount of money being lost from slow production rates and the possibility of tool damage, they decided to contact EXAIR.

Spoon not falling from tool

In today’s injection molding market, tool coatings are commonly used to extend tool life and increase lubricity.  When a buffer is placed between plastic parts and the tool surface, static can be generated and become a real issue.  With the company above, the spoons were sticking in different areas of the tool depending on the static buildup.  If they can neutralize the static charges, then the spoons cannot defy gravity.

I recommended our model 112212 Gen4 Super Ion Air Knife Kit.  The Gen4 Super Ion Air Knife is designed to efficiently blow air and to carry both positive and negative ions to remove any kind of static charge.  For this model, it comes with a 12” (30.5 cm) long Super Air Knife with a Gen4 Ionizing Bar attached.  With the compact and lightweight design, it could easily be positioned above the tool to operate.  The kit also includes a power supply to power the ionizer, a filter to clean the compressed air, a regulator to control the force, and a shim set to modify force changes.  This complete kit had everything required to begin operations to remove static.

The customer only had to attach the unit to a compressed air source.  Once they started using the Gen4 Super Ion Air Knife, the removal rate of parts went to 100%.  As an added benefit, when the drilled pipe was replaced, the noise level dropped as well as the compressed air usage reduced.  By adding an EXAIR Gen4 Super Ion Air Knife to their process, the production rate was now maximized.

Model 112212 Gen4 Super Ion Air Knife

Static within injection molding processes can cause crushed parts, slower production rates, and even more costly; tool damage.  If you believe that static is causing things to “defy gravity”, EXAIR has a great range of Gen4 Static Eliminator products to remove that “magic” force.  And, for the company above, they didn’t have to continually watch their money “disappear”.

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

 

Photo by: Magic Hat by KCADRCCreative Commons CC0.

Cleaning the Gen4 Static Eliminators

It has been over two years since EXAIR first brought our Gen4 Static Eliminators to market with improved performance, materials and durability.  The new design features continue to provide our customers with reliable, rugged and problem solving static eliminators.

More recently our Gen4 product line was completed by integrating these same beneficial features in the Gen4 Ionizing Bars, Gen4 Super Ion Air Knives, and Gen4 Standard Ion Air Knives.

There are two common ways that a Static Eliminator will start to underperform; contamination buildup and point degradation.  To create ions from a metal point, a high voltage is needed.  With 5,000 volts forcing its way into a confined area, the energy behind making an ion creates a corona field.  Any contamination near or around that point will produce a small amount of charred material.  The more contamination in the surrounding area, the faster the buildup will occur. Once a sharp point is coated, the ion production begins to decrease.

The other issue is with metal point degradation.  With the cycle of heating and cooling, the material will start to lose the sharpness of the point over time.  Like a wick used in a candle, you lose a little bit each time.  For both methods above, once the point sharpness is reduced, the dissipation time to remove static starts to increase.

For any “forensics” analysis with the Static Eliminators, you should have a model 7905 Static Meter.  Besides viewing the ion points, the Static Meter can help determine the severity of the function of the ion points.  If cleaning is required, you can use a soft-bristled brush to remove any charred contamination from the point and the base area.  Make sure that the power is turned off before cleaning.  For resistor-based Static Eliminators, the metal ion pins are replaceable.  This is model 901188.  This added feature makes a cost-effective way to keeping the points sharp, and the Static Eliminators like new.  The video below shows how to clean and replace the ion points.

Contact any of our Application Engineers if you have any additional questions about cleaning, about a new application or about potential solutions to static related problems.

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

Do You Need 30 Days for Testing?

Not long ago while checking out of a motel my laptop bag that was attached to the handle on my suitcase fell forward and the impact shattered the screen on the laptop.  Upon turning the computer on I realized that a new screen was in order.

I waited until I arrived at home and found what I thought to be the correct monitor and quickly ordered it.  It arrived two days later and I painstakingly took the laptop apart and exposed the mounting frame.  The removal of the broken screen and the installation of the new was not too difficult but the cable connector was less than robust and was very tight.  Carefully I worked it back and forth and it came free.

Installation and reassembly went quickly and then I powered up the machine.  I was only greeted with a series of very loud and annoying beeps.  At that point I shut it down and called the company I purchased the screen from and described the issue.  They determined that the resolution of the screen was incorrect for my laptop and that I needed a different model.  They said I could return the incorrect one and upon inspection receive a credit less the return shipping.  At that point I ordered the correct screen and packaged up the wrong one and dropped it off at the parcel delivery service.

The new model arrived and it installed easily and worked perfectly.  I waited patiently and never did see a refund so I called the company and they said that it was an oversight on their end and that it would be corrected within 48 hours.  Sure enough they issued the credit and money was credited back to my account with one exception, the 40% restocking fee!

I can tell you that EXAIR is not that way!  If you order the wrong item or are not satisfied for any reason and the item was purchased within the last 30 days we will facilitate the return and ZERO restocking fee. There are a multitude of reasons our customers would want to take advantage of our 30 day guarantee and we make it a simple transaction if you need to take advantage of it too. Testing is one reason a customer would use this 30 days, other customers may have ordered incorrectly or released product inadvertently, they may have wanted a small sample for a meeting or demonstration at a customers location.

30 day money back guarantee
EXAIR Guarantee

If you want to discuss any EXAIR product, I would enjoy hearing from you…give me a call.

Steve Harrison
Application Engineer
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What is a GEN4 Ion Air Cannon?

Quite simply the GEN4 Ion Air Cannon is based on the mechanics of the 2″ diameter Super Air Amplifier that has static reduction capabilities and as its name implies it amplifies the supply air up to 25 times!

This highly engineered product is very effective at cleaning product and reducing static at distances of up to 15′ away.

GEN4 IAC

The GEN4 Ion Air Cannon comes in a handy stand/mounting unit for easy installation in a wide variety of applications. It can be mounted to machine frames, mounted out of the way from a process, or placed on a bench top.

GEN4 IAC Dimensions

The GEN4 Super Ion Air Cannon can work with as little as 10 PSI supply pressure.

GEN4 IAC Performance

The GEN4 Ion Air Cannon is used in many applications such as bottling, manufacturing of solar panels and preparing new automobile car bodies to be painted – to name a few. Wherever static reduction and/or cleaning is required the Ion Air Cannon can contribute.

It is offered in a kit that can include the 7960 power supply, pressure regulator for fine adjustments, filter/separator to keep the air clean and dry and a shim set for gross adjustments or just the GEN4 Ion Air Cannon and the 7960 power supply.  Of course all components are also available individually.

If you would like to discuss reducing static and/or cleaning materials, I would enjoy hearing from you…give me a call.

Steve Harrison
Application Engineer

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3 Ways Static Electricity is Generated

EXAIR published a whitepaper, Basics of Static Electricity, explaining what causes static electricity, how it is generated, and steps to eliminate it. Download it now by clicking the link, and begin to eliminate the static problems on your plant or process.

In this blog, I would like to expand on the subject about how static can be generated.  On a molecular scale, the outer electrons that are orbiting the nucleus can be “stripped” and redistributed from one atom to another.  This will cause an electrical charge imbalance called static.  An additional electron will create negatively charged static while atoms losing an electron will create a positively charged static.  With non-conductive materials like plastic, paper, rubber, glass, etc, the electrons cannot move back to the original atom. There are three common methods of static generation that will cause this phenomenon to occur.  I will explain each one in brief detail below:

  1. Contact – Whenever objects hit each other, electrons can be passed to or received from the surface of another object. The number of electrons being transferred is based on the type of triboelectric material.  But, with plastic bottles or trays bumping into each other on conveyor belts, static is being generated.

    Contact
  2. Detachment – when one material is being separated from another material by peeling, electrons may not able to return back to the original molecule. Adhesive tape and protective films are prevalent in generating static charges by detachment because of the larger surface areas.  As an example; when the backing material is being removed from labels, the static will cause the labels to be misaligned.

    Detachment
  3. Frictional – This is one of the most common reasons for generating large static forces. It is caused by two non-conductive surfaces being rubbed together.  The amount of force being applied to the material as it slides back and forth will create higher static charges.   It is definitely noticed when you rub a balloon on your hair.  The more times that you rub the balloon against your hair, the stronger the static forces, allowing the balloon to “stick” to the wall.  It is also noticed as sheets of material are stacked or running over rollers.

    Friction

Static tends to propagate.  The more contact, detachment, and friction that occurs; the higher the static charges.  Even when the static is removed from the surface, static charges can still regenerate by the mechanisms above.  So, controlling the static can be determined by the treatment process as well as the location.

Another variable that affects the static generation is humidity.  Most process problems are noticed during the winter seasons as the ambient air is drier.  With a lower relative humidity, the development of static is enhanced; making it easier to produce static as well as creating a higher static force.  We always refer to winter as static season.

Production problems with static can occur like dirty surfaces, tearing, alignment, jamming and shock to personnel.  EXAIR has a number of Static Eliminators to remove these process snags and down time that will cost your company money.  You can contact an Application Engineer at EXAIR to discuss any static issues that are being generated.

John Ball
Application Engineer

Email: johnball@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_jb

 

EXAIR Product Overview: Static Eliminating Gen4 Ion Air Jet

ssiaj

EXAIR’s Gen4 Ion Air Jet is a compact ionizer that is capable of delivering a concentrated ionized airflow that will cover a precise spot without disturbing the rest of the process. The quiet, focused air stream can quickly eliminate the static charge on surfaces. At a pressure of 80 psig the Ion Air Jet is capable of dissipating a 5kV charge in .18 seconds!

8194
Model 8194 Gen4 Ion Air Jet

In addition to providing rapid static decay, the Ion Air Jet also helps to minimize compressed air use while maximizing the ionizing airflow. Utilizing a specially designed shim, the Ion Air Jet entrains ambient air at a rate of 5:1. The Ion Air Jet can be adjusted from a “blast” to a “breeze” simply by increasing or decreasing the inlet pressure to the ionizer.

The Ion Air Jet can be used in both fixed, permanent solutions as well as those that will require frequent re-positioning. For applications requiring a fixed position of the ionizer, the compact Gen4 Ion Air Jet is an ideal solution. It’s lightweight and easy to install with the 1/8 NPT male inlet. For applications where the positioning of the ionizer may need to be adjusted, look to the flexible Gen4 Stay Set Ion Air Jet. Utilizing a Stay Set Hose, The Gen4 Stay Set Ion Air Jet can be frequently adjusted to focus the air stream at a specific area. The hose will maintain rigidity and will not creep or bend, making it an ideal solution when accommodating different parts. The Gen4 Stay Set Ion Air Jet comes with a strong magnetic base that allows for easy mounting and portability. The 8910 Instant Blowoff Station is another option that includes the Gen4 Stay Set Ion Air Jet, power supply, foot pedal, and compressed air hoses for applications that can benefit from hands free operation.

8910 (2)
Components included with the 8910 Instant Static Elimination Station include everything shown

Cold weather is still upon us. With colder temperatures come lower levels of humidity, with lower humidity comes an increase in static problems. Don’t let static hold you down. Whether it’s cleaning glass jars, removing dust from plastic medical components in a clean-room operation, or keeping a laser lens clean to eliminate false readings, EXAIR has the solution to keep you running smoothly.

Tyler Daniel
Application Engineer
E-mail: TylerDaniel@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_TD

Product Overview – Gen4 Ion Air Gun

Within industrial processes, static electricity can lead to a variety of problems like printing errors, harmful shock, damaged product or shorted life for electrical components. EXAIR offers a wide range of static eliminating products that can help control this nuisance and restore material to an electrically balanced state.

When it comes to a static causing problems with a manual operation, our Gen4 Ion Air Gun is the preferred choice. The Gen4 Ion Air Gun incorporates a thumb trigger air gun with an ionizer attached to deliver a bulk of positive and negative ions to quickly eliminate the surface charge of a material, up to 5kV in only 0.18 seconds, when operated at 80 PSIG.

Easy to use, effective static elimination

The Model # 8193 Gen4 Ion Air Gun is shipped from stock with a 10′ flexible armored and electromagnetic shielded cable to protect against potential damage in an industrial setting. (special length cables up to 50′ are available if needed).  The cable assembly can also be easily removed for cleaning or replacing of the stainless steel emitter point, allowing for worry free, proper operation.

Here is a short video showing how to change the emitter point:

The Gen4 Ion Air Gun is UL recognized for the US and Canada and CE compliant, meeting the product requirements for items being sold in European markets. It also meets 2 important OSHA directives relating to the safe use of compressed air. The first being OSHA Standards 29 CFR 1910.242(b), requiring that the outlet pressure of an open pipe, nozzle, air gun, etc., when used for cleaning purposes, must remain below 30 PSI when dead-ended. The second being Standard 29 CFR 1910.95(a), protecting workers from potential injury related to dangerous sound levels of 90 dBA or higher. Additionally, the Gen4 Ion Air Gun is RoHS compliant as well.

Model # 7960 and Model # 7961 Gen4 Power Supplies – 115VAC or 230VAC, fuse protection, modular cable

They are designed to be used with our Gen4 Power Supplies, Model # 7960 with 2 outlets or the Model # 7961 with 4 outlets for powering multiple ionizers. The Gen4 Power Supplies are selectable voltage, 115VAC or 230VAC, and feature a 6′ modular power cord and lighted power switch.

To discuss how the Gen4 Ion Air Gun or any of our other products can help solve your process needs, give me a call at 800-903-9247.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN