EXAIR’s Super Ion Air Knife Eliminates Static

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.

Static Electricity – What is it?

Now that the air is cooling and the humidity is dropping, you may often experience the phenomena of static electricity, and the resultant shock when touching something metal. As a child, you may have learned about static electricity by rubbing a balloon on your head and then seeing it stick to the wall. What is the science behind static electricity?

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All materials are made up of atoms, which have a positively charged core called the nucleus surrounded by a cloud of negatively charged electrons.  Each material is different, and in some types of materials the positive nucleus has a very strong pull on the electrons while in other materials the pull is very weak.  If we were to put a strong  pull material in contact with a weaker pull material, atoms from the weak pull material will migrate, and when the materials are separated, additional electrons will remain with the strong pull material.  Due to the overall increase in electron quantity, the material becomes negatively charged and the other material becomes positively charged. If the materials are rubbed together, the opportunities for the electron migration increases, and thus more electrons are exchanged.

Electrons build up more easily in dry conditions. When the air has humidity, static build up is less common because a very thin layer of water molecules coat most surfaces, which allows the electrons to move more freely and make most materials conductive and static free.

In some cases, static electricity can be a good thing – laser printers and photocopiers use static electricity to transfer ink from the drum to the paper.  Also, some power plants and chemical factories use static electricity  to remove pollutants in a process that takes place within the smokestack.

But generally when EXAIR gets involved, it is because the static electricity is causing an unwanted build up of static charge that affects a manufacturing process. The results of a static charge imbalance can result in a shock to an operator, materials sticking together, poor print quality, sensor or counter malfunctions, bad surface finish, or any number of other problems.

EXAIR offers systems for total static control, such as the Super Ion Air Knife and Ionizing Bars for wide applications such as paper, film and plastic webs, the Super Ion Air Wipe for narrow, continuously moving materials such as wire, tube, or extrusions.  Also offered are the handheld Ion Air Gun for use on three dimensional parts prior to assembly, packaging painting or finishing. Other options include the Ion Air Cannon for limited space or remote mounting applications, Ion Air Jet for tight spaces and concentrated airflow, and the Ionizing Point to provide close distance and accurate static removal.

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Super Ion Air Wipe

To discuss your static elimination concerns , feel free to contact EXAIR and one our  Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.

Brian Bergmann
Application Engineer

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Spark Photo Credit – Eric Skiff – via Creative Commons License

Changing of the Seasons

According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, the Fall Equinox and thus the end of summer occurs tomorrow, September 22, at 10:21 am EDT for us here in Cincinnati, OH.

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Just as the seasons change and the weather goes from warm, humid days to cooler, drier times, we see a change at EXAIR in what challenges our customers face. Telephone calls and online chat topics about overheating electrical enclosures and Cabinet Cooler Systems tend to drop off and invariably the topic of static issues and the EXAIR Static Eliminators solutions take their place.

EXAIR has many available solutions for total static control, whether on a moving web, sheet stock, or three dimensional parts, extrusions or plastics.

Static eliminators with air combine EXAIR engineered airflow products with an ionizing point to eliminate a static charge quickly and at great distances.  Laminar flow air streams make it possible to blow away dirt and debris, and deliver the ionized air to neutralize surface static.  They are ideal for hard to reach places and obstructed surfaces, high speed moving objects, and surfaces with extremely high charges. Some examples are the Super Ion Air Knife, Ion Air Cannon, Ion Air Gun, and the Ion Air Jet.

Static Eliminators

Static eliminators without air may be necessary when even small amounts of air can disrupt the product, such as light weight materials. EXAIR offers two types of ionizers to handle these types of applications.  The Ionizing Bar is ideal for flat materials when the bar can be mounted close to the media.  The Ionizing Point is a good solution for spot neutralization such as in winding or slitting operations where its compact size allows for installation close to the source of the static generation. Both of these products should be mounted within 2″ of the surface they are removing static.

ibar
Ionizing Bar

When you notice static beginning to build in your process, feel free to contact EXAIR and one our  Application Engineers can help you determine which  Static Eliminator solution can help you.

Brian Bergmann
Application Engineer

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Twitter: @EXAIR_BB

 

Sun and Earth Graphic courtesy of Ruslan via Creative Commons License

EXAIR Ionization Bar Eliminates Static in Printer

One of the big issues in winter many manufacturing and process industries experience is static.  An outside sales rep who was responsible for selling and servicing industrial laser printers contacted us after he started to receive more complaints about the quality of the print, especially with customers that used polyester sheets.  One of their customers was printing both sides of a 13” X 19” (33 X 48 cm) sheet, and they noticed that the print on the back side was blurry.  We discussed how static can cause issues like this in printing applications. A static charge can keep ink from landing in the proper location, it can cause ink to spiderweb, spread over defined boundaries or fail to penetrate its target.

Ionizing Bar
Low cost Ionizing Bars eliminate static cling.

Being that EXAIR Corporation is a leader in production and application of active Static Eliminators, we were able to discuss the issues and suggest some possible solutions. Laser printers are designed to use static to pick up toner onto a drum and to apply it to sheets of paper.  If the sheet of paper has a charge on it, that can affect the print quality because like charges repel each other.  In this application, we have two conditions that contributed to the increase in static charge on the polyester sheet, the dry air and the type of material.  Dry air in winter is pretty much a given as cold air cannot hold as much moisture as hot air can.  With a decrease in moisture levels, static fields can build to much higher levels causing discharges, the small “shocks” you experience when you touch a non-conductive material, another person or even a grounded machine.  The other static issue is material.  The type of materials involved in an application determine how they will share electrons when they rub together.  Some materials give up electrons readily and some materials tend to gain electrons.

Getting back to the application; inside the mentioned printer, a rubber roll was used to invert the paper to print on the back side.  If the paper was cellulose, it is harder to generate static as the rubber roll and cellulose are similar in sharing electrons. However, this sheet was made of polyester, it has a higher affinity to take electrons from the rubber roll. A static field would build which was enough to affect the transfer of toner from the drum causing a blurred image.

Our strategy for applying static elimination solutions is to determine the point of static generation and locate the static elimination equipment just downstream of the problem area.  In this instance, it was after the roller just before printing. The space was limited, so the customer went with model 7012 Ionizing bar with the 7901 power supply.  The positive and negative ions that are emitted from the Ionizing Bar will neutralize static fields of positive or negative polarity bringing the surface of the polyester material back to neutral.  The length of the bar was slightly shorter than the width of the sheet, however it still has plenty of capacity to neutralize the outside edges.  The end user mounted the Ionizing Bar in the center of the sheet about 0.5” (13mm) away from the surface.  After he plugged in the Ionization Bar, the static field was removed and the printing on the back side was now clear.  The end user was so impressed that he contacted the manufacturer of the laser printer to suggest they add effective static elimination as  an option for troublesome applications like his.

If you have static issues and you want to remove the pain they cause in the form of injury, lost production time and material waste, contact EXAIR and speak to one of our experienced Application Engineers.

John Ball, Application Engineer
E-mail: johnball@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_jb

Applications for Static Eliminating Ion Bars

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EXAIR Ion Bar

Many times when we discuss static elimination applications with customers, we will arrive at a solution such as the Ion Bar that does not require the use of compressed air. If we feel that the Ion Bar has ability to be in sufficient contact with the target for a long enough duration of time, then that is one of the most elegant solutions of all. The bonus is that we do not have to add additional compressed air requirement to the customer’s compressed air system by recommending use of the Super Air Knife along with the Ion Bar. While the Super Ion Air Knife is a great way to project the static eliminating ions over a much longer distance, there is the issue that compressed air does have to be factored into the solution.

So, what kinds of applications can benefit from the use of Ion Bars by themselves? There are actually a variety of reasons why an application might not benefit from the addition of compressed air to the static eliminating solution. Allow me to list a few below:

  1. The static elimination target material is very light weight and would be disturbed unnecessarily by the addition of a compressed air flow to deliver ionization from the Ion Bar.
  2. The static elimination application is within a clean room environment where any addition of air movement has to be equally compensated for by the dust collection system, which can complicate matters very quickly.
  3. There may already be an airflow that is moving through the area over the target surface and only ionization is needed.
  4. The addition of an airflow to a static elimination application causes problems with other parts of a process such as un-wanted decrease in drying time, un-wanted cooling, or interference with a measurement process.

In any event, whenever we evaluate a static elimination application, we always want to try and make solution suggestions that would minimize the impact on the customer’s compressed air supply. Many times, we simply can’t do that due to issues with process speed or lack of time in contact with the target part. But in those cases, where it is plausible, we certainly want to apply this strategy for our solutions.

Some recent applications where we were able to recommend an Ion Bar by itself include:

  1. A ceramic tile manufacturer was printing their designs with an ink jet printer onto the tile surface. Static caused the ink to run into areas where it wasn’t supposed to go. Treating the surface of the tiles prior to printing solved the issue.
  2. A solar panel manufacture etches glass for the solar panels and then coats that panel with a metallic coating. Residual lines of force from the remaining static charge on the surface made the metallic coating irregular and so a set of ion bars were mounted so that the glass passed between them just prior to coating, eliminating the irregularities in the coating.
  3. A shipping company was applying bar-coded labels to their shipping boxes. The labels were becoming wrinkled when applied which interfered with the ability to read the bar code. The customer thought it was a label issue, but after a quick check with a model 7905 Static Meter, the problem was found to be a charge on the box surface. Mounting an ion bar to come into close proximity of the box surface prior to labelling took care of the problem.

Overall, Ion Bars are a very effective tool for removing static over a wide area. And when considering the possible solutions for a static removal application, it is always best practice to consider whether the Ion Bar solution can take care of the problem by itself. And if it deemed not possible to get the desired effect with only the Ion Bar, then using a Super Ion Air Knife is the next best and most efficient way to get that ionized air to your charged target.

Neal Raker, International Sales Manager
nealraker@exair.com
@EXAIR_NR

It’s A Major Award!

As many of us celebrated the Holidays we revisited some traditions. Like a lot of families do, my family also has a  number of traditions.  Ours include:

  • A turkey grilled on my trusty Weber kettle.
  • A thorough cleaning of the house, because my wife says if we don’t, my mother-in-law will want to hire us a maid. I’m still trying to understand how that’s a bad thing.
  • A post-dinner family card game. After all, this is the cleanest our dining room table gets all year.
  • Some late-into-the-evening TV. This usually consists of our favorite holiday movie, “A Christmas Story.” If you’re unfamiliar, it’s a cult classic about a boy named Ralphie Parker, and his mission to obtain a BB gun, his struggles with the neighborhood bully, and, of course, his father’s uncanny fascination with a very peculiar sweepstakes prize:

From left to right: Mr. Parker’s “Major Award” lamp, and the lamp that our Mr. Edwards prefers instead.

At EXAIR, we’re looking forward to news about some Major Awards ourselves. See, four of our new products have been nominated for Product of the Year by Plant Engineering Magazine. If you’re familiar with any of these, and their benefits, we’d appreciate your vote for them:

1104PEEKWhat it is: PEEK 3/8 NPT Super Air Nozzles, engineered for high performance.

Why it’s important: Hard-hitting force, low noise, PEEK plastic construction for non-marring protection and excellent chemical resistance. High amplification of airflow produces a blowing force of 1.9 lbs, with air consumption of only 35 SCFM at 80 psig.

 

110108What it is: Our Long Super Air Knives, the longest one-piece Air Knife available.

Why it’s important: Uniform, seamless curtain of air flow. 16 lengths in stock, from 3″-108”. Energy efficient & versatile, all sizes are available in aluminum, 303SS, and 316SS. Infinitely adjustable from a gentle blowing flow, to a hard-hitting blast of air.

 

1109PEEKWhat it is: Our PEEK Pico Super Air Nozzles, designed for precision & performance.

Why it’s important: One of the smallest, most precise engineered nozzle on the market (0.63” long, 0.20” diameter,) perfect for installation in tight spaces. PEEK thermoplastic construction means non-marring protection when used in close proximity to sensitive materials.

 

7096What it is: Our Long Ionizing Bars, low cost, maximum coverage.

Why it’s important: Available from stock in lengths up to 108”, they dissipate a 5,000V static charge in 0.18 seconds. Small profile fits in confined spaces where static electricity is generated. Shockless and safe for superior reliability.

 

You’re going to hear more – a LOT more – about these products in the coming days. In fact, if you follow us on Twitter or Facebook, you’ve no doubt heard already. Of course, if you’ve got specific questions about how these – or any EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Products – can make an award-worthy impact in your facility, give us a call.

Time is running out to vote for one of our products! The voting window closes January 9, 2015.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
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“A Christmas Story” House at Night, Cleveland, OH image courtesy of Daniel X. O’Nell. Creative Commons License.

Lava Lamp image courtesy of Ryan SteeleCreative Commons License.

Some Important Things To Know When Solving Your Static Problem

Static electricity problems usually come out of the blue. It’s one of those situations that when it happens, you need to fix it fast. Most people end up surfing the internet to learn more about static and how to prevent it. I hope I can help you out by answering some of the most common questions that come up.

Ionizing bars that connect to a high voltage power supply have been around for a long time. The limitation with an ionizing bar is that you have to mount the ionizing bar within an inch or two of the surface for them to be effective. Back in late 1987, EXAIR had a “eureka” moment. We tried something different by putting an ordinary ionizing bar and air knife together. We found that it provided superior static elimination over long distances. Tests showed that an EXAIR Super Ion Air Knife positioned two feet away from a charged surface to be as effective as an ionizing bar that’s positioned a half inch away from the surface.

It’s not the ionizing bar that makes all the difference – but the Super Air Knife that acts as the ion delivery system. The lack of turbulence makes the Super Air Knife capable of pushing the static eliminating ions out over a longer distance and keeps the positive and negative charges from re-combining before it reaches the charged surface.

Does the power supply voltage matter? The construction of the ionizing bar needs to match the power supply. Higher voltage doesn’t mean that it works better. Every component of that power supply and bar has a specific “dielectric strength”. If a single component is under rated for the voltage, the power supply or bar can fail. The higher the voltage, the higher the voltage rating required for every component.

When designing our ionizing bar, we wanted it to be compact yet powerful. EXAIR’s ionizing bar has an extremely low profile which is great when it comes to fitting it in tight spaces. We increased the life expectancy by insertion molding the stainless steel emitters into a durable engineered plastic resin. There are no grooves or openings to accumulate dust or dirt that could cause shorting or arcing. It is shockless and a perfect match for our 5kV power supply.

EXAIR power supplies are built here in the U.S., are UL Listed and CE compliant. They work in conjunction with the ionizing bar tolerances. There are no user serviceable parts – which is actually a good thing. The critical spacing of the components inside the metal power supply case are all maintained and sealed in place by using potting compound. This eliminates the chance of movement or arcing of those components – which keeps the unit safe. EXAIR power supplies are available with a choice of two or four high voltage outputs. They use standard bayonet electrical connectors (an industry standard) where the electrical connection is made deep in the power supply for safe operation.

EXAIR offers a wide variety of static eliminators that are suited to specific applications. We are not resellers! Our static eliminators have been designed, manufactured, and tested right here in our building located in Cincinnati, OH. The products and the people that help you understand and apply them have been around for decades! And, new products are always being developed. We’ll be glad to help you out if you have a static electricity problem. Just give us a call, chat or e-mail!

Gary Gunkel
garygunkel@exair.com