Eliminating Static in Industrial Processes

Ever wonder what causes that annoying shock you get when you go to grab a plastic or metal piece. That is a phenomenon caused by static electricity. This static is an electrical surface charge that is generated and when two surfaces come in contact with each other and generate an electrical charge from friction, separation, or simple contact. If the material in question is not grounded properly the electrical charge will continue to accumulate until it comes in contact with a proper ground or the path of least resistance to discharge the built up static and return to a neutral state.

Static

Static is generated on the atomic level from the exchange of valance electrons on each surface. The energy produced from the friction, separation or contact cause those valance electrons to enter an excited state; when in this excited state they begin to jump back and forth from atom to atom. When this happens, the atoms begin to accumulate either a positive charge if the atom lost electrons or a negative charge if the atom gained electrons. As the charge accumulates on the surface were the friction occurs if a ground source (i.e. piece of metal or a person) comes in close proximity to the charged surface an arc is generated between the two surfaces returning the originally charged surface to a neutral state.

Static can be harmful to both employees and product in an industrial environment. If a static arc is generated in the presence of either flammable, combustible, or explosive liquids or gasses the arc can cause an ignition of the material. Static can also cause the charged object to stick or cling to various surfaces causing clogs in pipes and issues when trying to separate the material one at a time. This phenomenon is called static cling.

Even though static is very easy to generate it can just as easily be dissipated; EXAIR’s line of static eliminating devices use a high voltage emitter point to generate a small zone of ions which consists of both positive and negative charges to dissipate the static build up on the surface. Also, when the various emitter points and ion bars are coupled with our compressed air products, the air carries the ions much farther and can dissipate static up to 20’ away. The best part is that about the line of our line of static eliminators is that they are shockless; this means that if somebody bumps into it, they won’t get shocked.

Gen 4 Super Ion Air Knife Eliminating Static with Ions

For more information on EXAIR’s Static Eliminators and any of EXAIR‘s 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.

Cody Biehle
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
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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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EXAIR Describes the Process of Static Eliminators

4 R UMAX PL-II V1.4 [3]

 

One of our overseas distributors provides solutions for a customer who has bought quite a few of the Ion Air Guns for their production. The customer raised a question for which our distributor requested help to answer. The customer asked, “What exactly is going on in the process, when you blow ions on an item?” There is a large interest in these products and they are interested know more. It is not, that they are afraid of the procedure, they just wonder what physically happens, so my question to you is: Could you write an explanation on what happens within the static eliminating equipment when it is energized?

For the answer, you have to go back to high school science class to remember the definition of an ion. An ion is an an electrically charged atom or group of atoms formed by the loss or gain of one or more electrons. Put simply, it is an atom with either extra or fewer electrons than it is supposed to have normally. This excess or deficit of electrons makes the molecule attract electrically to atoms or molecules with the opposite charge. Too many electrons = negative charge. Too few = positive charge.

Gases can form ions as a result of an electrical charge. Gas ions are defined as such: one of the electrically charged particles formed in a gas by electric discharge or the like. The atoms we are creating with our static eliminators are oxygen ions or “ozone”. Due to the AC waveform of the electrical supply, the power supply generates 50 Hz signal that produces both positive and negative ions, depending on the phase of the electrical supply. In this way, our static eliminators produce ozone which can eliminate static of either polarity.

What happens at the atomic level is the ions we create are attracted to and combine with the electrostatic field present on material which has a static charge. The electrostatic field present on insulating materials is present because of two possibilities. Either there was some contact & separation of materials, friction (like rubbing a balloon on the hair), or there was a separation of two insulating materials which were previously in intimate (close) contact with one another (like peeling a protective film from a surface). When this happens, the electrons will move from one material surface to another based on their potential to gain or lose electrons (reference Triboelectric Series). The balance of the surface electrons becomes unbalanced as the electrons at the outer layers will be knocked out of their home orbit and take up with another atom to make it negative, thus leaving the previously neutral atom in a positive state.

When one applies a static eliminating ions from one of our products on to an application where static is causing a problem, they are providing those needed electrons to help the charged material balance itself out. The reason that it happens to insulating materials is because they cannot conduct an electrical signal and so the electrical charge remains on the surface until it is dissipated by active means like our static eliminators or by natural means (a much slower process) where air molecules floating around the charged surface will lower the overall charge to a point until it reaches a point of electrical balance. So, our ionizers (also known as static eliminators) simply speed that process up immensely and eliminate static charges in a fraction of a second. 

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