Methods to Create a Safer Industrial Workplace/Environment

EXAIR has been at the forefront of safety and efficiency when it comes to blow-off devices since 1983.  We understand the importance of keeping personnel and the workplace safe.  Controlling employee’s exposure to hazards is a fundamental method of protecting them. The CDC published a useful guide called “Hierarchy of Controls” detailing five types of control methods as a means to implement effective solutions.

  • Elimination
  • Substitution
  • Engineering controls
  • Administrative controls
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE)

Elimination

Elimination removes the hazard from the source.  Elimination is at the top of the chart because it is the best way to protect workers.  In my previous line of work, we had to use MEK to dilute a solvent-based epoxy.  By switching over to a water-based epoxy, we were able to eliminate the chemical hazard from our process.  In some situations, this can be a difficult task, but the elimination criteria should be the first thing to review.

Substitution

Substitution is looking for a different but safer modification to the source of the hazard.  An example would be static elimination.  If we take into consideration an ionization bar to remove static, there are manufacturers that make “hot” bars that will shock the operator if they get too close to the ionizing point.  EXAIR Gen4 Ionizing Bars are shockless.  By substituting the “hot” bars with EXAIR Gen4 Ionizing Bars, you just removed the shock hazard for your operators.  When considering substitution, it is important to compare the new risk of the replacement to the original risk.  Remember, we are trying to reduce the potential effects of injuries. 

The CDC explains these first two methods with this statement, “Elimination and substitution can be the most difficult actions to adopt into an existing process. These methods are best used at the design or development stage of a work process, place, or tool.  At the development stage, elimination and substitution may be the simplest and cheapest options.  Another good opportunity to use elimination and substitution is when selecting new equipment or procedures.  Prevention through Design is an approach to proactively including prevention when designing work equipment, tools, operations, and spaces.”1

Engineering Controls

Engineering controls are very common.  Companies can evaluate an area for hazards and address them with proven controls.  This can be as simple as adding light curtains to a stamping machine.  Another area would be using compressed air for blow-off applications.  EXAIR has been providing engineered products to reduce these hazards.  We offer Super Air Nozzles, Safety Air Guns, Super Air Knives, and Air Amplifiers to reduce the noise level and dead-end pressure as found in the OSHA directives 29CFR 1910.65(a) for maximum allowable noise exposure and 29CFR 1910.242(b) for dead-end pressure/chip shielding.  By adding an engineered nozzle like our Super Air Nozzle over an open pipe, it will protect your workers, stop OSHA fines, and reduce energy costs. 

Administrative Controls

These controls will move personnel or change the process to limit the length of exposure time to the hazard.  As you notice, this is toward the bottom of the Hierarchy chart as one of the least effective ways for dealing with a hazard.  As an example, an operator is exposed to a blow-off application that has a noise level of 95 dBA.  The maximum exposure time allowed by OSHA is 4 hours.  So, another operator would have to be placed in that area to work another 4 hours.  But, if the company added a Super Air Nozzle to the blow-off device, then the noise level would be reduced to 74 dBA.  Now, you can have one operator run the machine for the full 8 hours.  

PPE

Personal Protection Equipment, or PPE, is equipment that is purchased to help protect the operators from hazards.  What may the problem be?  First, you have to train the operators on how to properly use them, as well as trust that they will follow the instruction explicitly. It also adds cost to purchase and maintain them. This is why this method is the least effective. 

At EXAIR, we have a statement: “Safety is everyone’s responsibility.”  The idea behind the Hierarchy of Controls is to help review hazardous areas and implement safer products.  EXAIR can help your company follow the Hierarchy of Controls, to eliminate or reduce the hazards of compressed air usage.  Many EXAIR products, including Super Air Knives, Super Air Nozzles, Safety Air Guns, and Air Amplifiers are engineered to meet OSHA standards. If you have questions or want to talk to an EXAIR Application Engineer, please contact us to discuss how our products will be beneficial to your work environment’s safety. 

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

Picture:  Safety First by Succo.  Pixabay License

  1. Note: The Hierarchy of Controls and the statement is from CDC.gov

Ionizing Points for Static Elimination Without Airflow

I almost wore three socks this morning: one on each foot, and one inside the sleeve of my shirt. I don’t know if it got in there through the agitation & spin of the washing machine, or the tumbling action in the dryer, but I know how it stayed there through the removal from the dryer, folding, and placing in my shirt drawer: static charge. This was evident from the ‘snap, crackle, and pop’ it made when I pulled it out.

Static charge is all around us. It’s mildly annoying in the clothes we pull from the dryer or the packing peanuts we can’t shake from our hands when unpacking from that new whatever-I-just-ordered from that website. It’s surprisingly uncomfortable when we touch the light switch after walking across a carpeted floor. And it’s terrifying when a lightning bolt hits so close that there’s no discernible delay for the thunder.

It’s also prevalent in many industrial processes: molding, trimming, wrapping (or unwrapping), bag & bottle filling, printing…just to name a few. Some materials are more prone to it than others, but all it takes is contact, and separation, of non-conductive surfaces to generate a static charge. The faster and/or more frequent the contact & separation, the higher the charge, and oftentimes there’s no better way to build up static electricity than sliding or rubbing those surfaces together.

EXAIR has a wide variety of Static Eliminator solutions: Super Ion Air Knives for webs or sheets up to 9 feet in width, Ion Air Cannons or Jets for more focused, conical ionized air blowing, Ion Air Guns for handheld operations, Super Ion Air Wipes for tube, pipe, extruded shapes, etc., and Intellistat Ion Air Guns & Nozzles for laboratory or clean room situations. Two of our Static Eliminator ProductsIonizing Bars & Ionizing Points – require no compressed air at all for operation, and one of those is the point (‘pun intended’ or ‘spoiler alert’ – you decide) of today’s blog.

The EXAIR Gen4 Ionizing Point is compact, versatile, and easy to install. It’s perfect for applications where even a light breeze worth of air flow would be disruptive or problematic. It’s also great for ionizing an existing air flow, like in a blower duct or air conveyance line. If limited space is a problem, it’s got the smallest footprint of just about any static eliminator on the market.

The EXAIR Model 8199 Gen4 Ionizing Point packs a LOT of static elimination in a small package.

They have impressive static dissipation performance as well, as seen in the table below. The only maintenance that’s required is a periodic cleaning of the emitter point (with the Power Supply OFF, using a soft bristled, dry brush). Should the emitter point become fouled, it can also be easily replaced.

If you’ve got problems with static charge, EXAIR has a comprehensive offering of solutions…give me a call to find out more.

Russ Bowman, CCASS

Application Engineer
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Two Types of Ion Air Guns

Right now in many parts of the US, Winter is causing lots of dry air in manufacturing facilities. This dry air can be a large contributing factor combined with production speeds being increased to meet deadlines that are constantly being pulled in all result in static charge. This static charge, can be detrimental to production and operator morale. The good news is, your operators don’t need to feel like they could power a light bulb. More importantly, there are two options that will fit the process needs in your facility.

That’s right, EXAIR offers two different static eliminating air guns. The first, is ideal for precision/delicate work and is rated Class 5 for clean rooms and controlled environments per ISO 14644-1. The goal of the IntelliStat Ion Air Gun is to reduce static charges and leave a balance on the surface that is below +/- 30 Volts.

This ergonomic safety air gun operated of 120/240 VAC power supply that outputs 24 VDC to the gun through a 10′ long cable. The compressed air supply is cataloged for 30-125 psig inlet pressure. When operating at 30 psig inlet, the gentle breeze of air from the engineered nozzle will eliminate a 5kV charge in 1.2 seconds and only utilize 2.7 SCFM of compressed air. If a more forceful blast is needed, at 80 psig inlet pressure the same 5kV charge will be eliminated in 0.6 seconds and only utilize 5.8 SCFM of compressed air. This gun is ideal for clean room, intricate assembly, and precision work. If you need more impactful air in a more industrial environment, then our Gen4 Ion Air Gun may be the better solution.

A powerful blast of static eliminating ionized air, literally at your fingertips.

The Gen4 Ion Air Gun provides ionized air that is ideal for industrial assembly or manufacturing areas where operators are seeing issues with production cause by static. The gun can eliminate a 5kV static charge within 0.18 seconds when operated at 80 psig inlet pressure. When operated it will utilize 22 SCFM of compressed air and give a forceful blast to remove material that is stuck on with static cling. The Gen4 Ion Air Gun includes a 10′ high voltage power cable and requires an external Gen4 Power Supply. The Power Supply is offered as a 2 outlet or 4 outlet version so multiple units can be plugged into a single power supply.

If you want help determining which static eliminator is right for your application, please contact an Application Engineer today.

Brian Farno
Application Engineer
BrianFarno@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_BF

Static Eliminators: The Blog!

Over the years we have expanded our Static Eliminator’s product line time and time again. Since its close to Christmas and I’m in the giving mood let’s do a full overview!!! Buckle up this is going to be a long one!!

GEN4 Super Ion Air Knife!

The Gen4 Super Ion Air Knife floods an area or surface with static eliminating ions. With a uniform airflow across its length, misalignment to critical surfaces like webs is avoided.  The force can be adjusted from a light breeze, to a full out blast of air. The Gen4 Super Ion Air Knife is electrically powered, is shock less and has no moving parts.

How It Works

gen4siak_hwrks_800x

GEN4 Standard Ion Air Knife!

Similar to the Gen4 Super Ion Air Knife, this product has a good compressed air efficiency.  It utilizes the Coanda effect to draw in ambient air at a 30:1 amplification ratio.  They come in stocked lengths from 3” (76mm) to 48” (1.22 meters).  The Gen4 Standard Ion Air Knife are used in similar applications as well as mold releasing, package cleaning, label applications and plastic bag opening.

Gen4 Standard Ion Air Knife

GEN4 Ion Bar (NO COMPRESSED AIR NEEDED)

This rugged design is for industrial use to remove static cling from flat surfaces. They range from a length of 3” (76mm) to 108” (2.74 meters).  Without the assistance of air, the product has to be within 2 inches (51 mm) from the surface to remove static charges.  The Gen4 Ionizing Bar is shock less and works well in applications where blowing air could be a detriment for the process.  This would include screen printing, labeling, and large printing process.

Gen4 Ionizing Bar

GEN4 Super Ion Air Wipe

This product blows ionized air in a 360-degree pattern.  They are engineered to remove static and debris from the outside of hoses, plastic pipe, extrusions, and coated wires.  With the split design, the Gen4 Super Ion Air Wipe can easily mount around the product without having to rethread.  They come in two different sizes with a 2” (51mm) and 4” (102mm) inner diameter. The ionized air has a fast static decay for speedy transfers.

Gen4 Super Ion Air Wipe

GEN4 Ion Air Cannon

Just like the name, this product will shower an area with ions to remove static. It can reach distances up to 15 feet (4.6 meters).  They are used in multiple areas including pre-paint car bodies, containers, shrink packaging, lenses, etc.  As an Air Amplifier, a small amount of compressed air will draw in a large amount of ambient air.  The ions are carried to the surface from the Gen4 Ion Air Cannon in a laminar air steam.   Once the ions coat the surface area, the air flow can gently remove any debris held by static forces.

Ion Air Cannon

GEN4 Ion Air Jet and Gun

For manual static removal to target specific areas, the Gen4 Ion Air Gun will work great.  This product comes standard with 10 feet (3 meters) of shielded cable for maximum reach.  An ergonomic air gun is attached to a Gen4 Ion Air Jet to manually remove static in difficult areas and from “shock” zones.  The Ion Air Guns work great for small batch processes used for quality checks or label applications.

Similar to the Ion Air Gun, this product is used for “hands-free” operations. They use a small amount of compressed air to “shoot” the ions onto a surface.  They can be operated with a solenoid valve or foot pedal to blow ions during specific times and situations.  They can easily be attached to a Stay Set Hose and Magnetic Base for best “hands-free” positioning for optimal cleaning.  They work well on small targets for automated systems or inspections areas prior to packaging.

GEN4 Ionizing Point

This single point design is manufactured to remove static on small targets in tight spots.  Utilizing the same rugged design of the Gen4 Static Eliminators, this product can remove static in spot areas and help to stop jams in slitting operations. They can also be panel mounted to neutralize duct air.

Intellistat Ion Air Gun

This is one of EXAIR’s newest product that is a lightweight solution for static and particle removal.  The patent-pending air gun comes complete with a 24Vdc power supply and a 6mm compressed air tubing.  There is a red and green LED lights to signify the production of ionized air for visual feedback.  The engineered air nozzles are quiet and OSHA safe.  The emitter point inside that creates the ions can be easily changed for replacement.  The applications range from circuit boards, electronic manufacturing, laboratories, clean rooms, and scientific testing.

Intellistat Ion Air Nozzle

And if you need a hands-off product that meets all the requirements the Intellistat Ion air guns does. The Intellistat Ion Air Nozzle is your answer!

If you find that static is creating process problems, wasting time, and costing you money, EXAIR has a large line of Static Eliminators that can help you.  If you have an application, you can contact an Application Engineer at EXAIR to help select the correct model and remove that static nuisance.

Jordan Shouse
Application Engineer

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