If you want to print on plastic, it’s challenging – most plastics are chemically inert and non-porous. That means you can apply all the ink you want; it’s not going to stick. In the 1950’s, a Danish engineer named Verner Eisby experimented with various techniques to overcome these challenges. He found that exposing the surface to be printed on to gas flame or sparks modified the surface to improve adhesion with the ink. It did so, though, in a crude & uneven manner, leaving imperfections & inconsistencies in the printed product. He then tried applying a high frequency corona discharge in a linear array. The plasma (gas in an ionized state) generated left a homogeneously treated surface on which to print, smoothly & evenly.
This has become the “industry standard” for many of the labels we see on commercial products, from shampoo & wine bottles on the grocery store shelf, to pennants & banners at public events. It also leaves the surface even more prone to picking up a static charge from rolling or unrolling, stacking, sliding, etc.
One of our customers makes a great many labels for all kinds of these commercial products, and uses an EXAIR Gen4 Ionizing Bar immediately prior to the printing operation:
In the winter, as the temperature gets colder and colder and the air is getting drier and drier, static becomes a larger problem. In the summer, water in the air can help dissipate the electrons that we pick up as we move around, but when the air is drier, the static charge collects and clings to surfaces, building up until… zap! This can be a huge problem for companies as static can cause products to bunch up and not process correctly. Or even worse static can build so much it can shock electrical devices causing costly repairs and downtime. That’s whyEXAIR has a full catalog of static eliminating products, and we will talk about them and what each product is best suited for!
The most popular Static Eliminator we sell is our Gen4 Super Ion Air Knife! By combining a Gen4 Ionizing Barwith a Super Air Knife, The Gen4 Super Ion Air Knifeprovides rapid static elimination AND blows off any dust, chips, or debris that was being statically held to the surface. 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.
EXAIR’sGen4 Super Ion Air Wipe provides a uniform 360° ionized airstream that is simple to clamp around a part for reducing static electricity and cleaning contaminants. It is great for use on pipe, cable, extruded shapes, hose, wire and much more. We offer the Gen4 Super Ion Air Wipe in either 2” or 4” inner diameter, it is powered by compressed air and an external power supply. The Gen4 Super Ion Air Wipe generates both positive and negative ions that are transmitted the emitter points located on the i.d. of the wipe. Since static charges can be either negative or positive it is easy to eliminate both states of charge due to the mixed polarity of ions being generated.
To put it simple the Gen4 Ion Air Cannon is based on the mechanics of the 2″ diameter Super Air Amplifier with added 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.
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 Gen4 Ion Air Jet is capable of dissipating a 5kV charge in .18 seconds!
In addition to providing rapid static decay, the Gen4 Ion Air Jet also helps to minimize compressed air use while maximizing the ionizing airflow. Utilizing a specially designed shim, the Gen4 Ion Air Jet entrains ambient air at a rate of 5:1. The airflow can easily be adjusted from a forceful blast to a gentle breeze simply by increasing or decreasing the inlet pressure to the ionizer.
Ion Air Jet on a Stay set hose.
Ion Air Jet
You can also get the Gen4 Ion Air Jetin a handheld gun option, this is called our Gen4 Ion Air Gun. This is great for applications where your operator is doing the static elimination and blow several times a shift by hand.
If you have an application that you believe would be better served by the use of an EXAIR Gen4 Static Elimination product, give us a call.
When the weather gets dry and cool, static can be generated very easily, and it can become a real nuisance. For the printing industry, static forces can pull or push the ink droplets which can create poor print quality like “ghost” images. Static can also cause contamination to “stick” to the surface of the sheets affecting the printing process. This can slow production, generate high scrap rates, and allow for poor quality. In this blog, I will share the details about a printing company having static problems and a simple solution with a Gen4 Static Eliminator.
For this printing company, static was causing issues in print quality on their polypropylene sheets. Polypropylene is a non-conductive material which can generate high amounts of static that can cause many issues. Their manual operation of moving, sliding, and picking up of the polypropylene sheets was generating the static. Now that we found the cause, I had to determine a solution.
They sent pictures to describe the process in more detail. An operator would pick up a sheet with the dimensions of 3 feet wide by 5 feet long (0.9 meters by 1.5 meters) from a bin. He or she would load three polypropylene sheets onto a wide vacuum table next to the printing machine. The table had an indicating bar which used yellow/green lights to align each sheet. Once the indicator lights turned green, this meant that the sheet was aligned properly, and the operator would then hit a switch.
A dual rail with vacuum cups would come over and “grab” the three sheets. The vacuum rail would pull the new sheets onto a sliding platform at the same time removing the printed sheets into a stacking area. With the new sheets, this sliding platform would travel into the print machine where the print head would create the images.
Once the printing was completed, the sliding platform would come back to the original position where the process would repeat itself. With all the handling and moving of the polypropylene sheets, static was being generated. To improve their printing process by removing the static, we had to target an area where we would not have to worry about static regenerating.
EXAIR is a leading manufacturer of Static Eliminators, and we had a good discussion in solving his issue. Ideally, we want to place the Static Eliminator just before the printing process. In this application. I recommended to them to locate a Gen4 Ionizing Bar just behind the indicating bar. This would remove any static as the sheets were going onto the sliding platform. Since the sheets were 3 feet (0.9 meters) wide, we needed to cover a span of 9 feet (2.7 meters) total. Believe it or not, EXAIR manufactures and stocks an Ionizing Bar this long!!!
For this customer, they would not have to worry about any stop gaps in coverage with a single length product. Also, the profile for the Gen4 Ionizing Bar is very thin and would not interfere with the vacuum rail system. So, when the vacuum rail picks up the polypropylene sheets, the Gen4 Ionizing Bar will be able to remove the static from the printable surface.
I recommended the model 80108 Gen4 Ionizing Bar with the model 7960 Gen4 Power Supply. This model can emit ions that can cover a span of 108 inches (2.73 meters). The Gen4 Power Supply, which generates a 5,000 Volt signal, connects to the Gen4 Ionizing Bar with an electromagnetically shielded durable cable. The alternating current generated by the Power Supply allows for the creation of both positive and negative ions from each point. This will ensure neutralization of any type of static.
The Ionizing Bar can be positioned between 0.5” (13mm) to 2” (51mm) from the sheet surface to optimize decay rates. After they mounted and started using the Ionization Bar, the static was removed quickly, and the printing issues were eliminated. With a quick and simple set up of the Gen4 Ionizing Bar, they were able to get back on track with great quality and fast productivity.
If you have static issues with your printing process, you can contact an Application Engineer at EXAIR. We will be happy to make your static issues disappear and your vibrant images reappear.
EXAIR’sGen4 Super Ion Air Knife and Ionizing Bars are a great way to relieve static charges in your products and/or processes. They are a very powerful, efficient design that will eliminate static charges and require only minimal maintenance to keep them performing at peak efficiency.
Check out the video below to see just how easy it is!
When you are looking for expert advice on your static relief application or any of our safe, quiet and efficient point of use compressed air products give us a call. We would enjoy hearing from you!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.