Since 1983 EXAIR Corporation has been the one stop shop for all your Intelligent Compressed Air needs. Throughout this time, we have taken pride in providing quality, engineered products for our customers. With innovation as a major driving force in our success, we are constantly looking to improve on existing product lines while also releasing new products into the market. These new products are often recipients of various awards and our trophy case out front has grown substantially in size over my 10 years here. In fact, I think we’re about due for another soon after our most recent additions.
In April 2020, just as the pandemic was increasing momentum, Plant Engineering issued their 2019 awards. In 2019 EXAIR received the prestigious Product of the Year award from Plant Engineering. In the compressed air category, EXAIR took both 2nd and 3rd place bringing home a silver and bronze to add to our trophy case.
Coming in 3rd with the Bronze award was EXAIR’s Gen4 Ionizing Bar. The Gen4 Ionizing Bar was redesigned and engineered to perform up to 25% better than previous generations. In addition to improving on decay speeds, it also increased the effective range by 100%!
Life expectancy has been extended by insertion molding the stainless steel ion emitters into a durable engineered polymer. There are no openings or grooves to accumulate dirt that could cause shorting or arcing. A 5 kV rugged, integrated ground steel reinforced power cable protects against abrasion, tears, and damage common in a rugged industrial environment.
Coming in 2nd place with the Silver award was EXAIR’s Soft Grip Atto Back Blow Safety Air Gun. Using the smallest Back Blow Nozzle available, this gun delivers a strong blast of air capable of blowing out debris and liquids from the ID of small pipes or hose, channels, bores, holes, internal threads, and internal part features. The ergonomic design keeps the operator’s hand comfortable so it can be used for hours without fatigue. A 360° array of holes on the nozzle blows backwards clearing out coolant, chips, and light oils from machining processes. A Chip Shield installed on the extension of the gun then protects operators from any flying debris.
Another year, and another couple of awards for EXAIR. You can count on the sun coming up in the morning, and you can count on EXAIR to consistently provide new innovative products. Year in and year out we continue to provide new solutions for common applications. Give us a call, we’ll be happy to help determine how we can help you improve on your current processes.
Static electricity is something that we talk about often here at EXAIR. When an atom gains or loses an electron from its outer shell, it becomes electrically imbalanced. A material’s propensity to either gain or lose an electron is “ranked” on a list known as the Triboelectric Series. Static Electricity is generated in a few different ways: contact static build up, detachment static buildup, and frictional static build up.
Detachment static build up occurs when a material is in contact with another and these two surfaces separate from one another. During the separation, not all of the electrons are able to get back to their original molecule. This results in an instantaneous static charge as the electrons are transferred from one object to another in accordance with the Triboelectric Series. Due to the large surface area in most detachment static buildup scenarios, the amount of static generated is typically far greater than contact static buildup.
One of the most common types of detachment static buildup occurs as material separates from a roll. This typically occurs at a high rate of speed and the large surface area across the width of the roll presents an ideal situation for static buildup. This charge can cause the material to stick to itself and not come off the roll properly, creating issues down the line. It can also result in painful shocks to operators, which not only presents a safety hazard but also negatively impacts productivity and morale.
I recently worked with a customer that needed a solution for removing this static from a roll as it was placed onto their work table. The customer manufactures a variety of clothing and equipment used by the military. One of the materials used in their combat clothing provides protection against heat transfer should the wearer be exposed to fire, explosions, etc. that are common on the battlefield. The material is lightweight, but a coating on the surface allows for a significant amount of static to generate as it is unrolled. This presents two separate issues for them. The machine must be stopped to fix the roll as it jams. When fixing the jam, the operator must grab a hold of the material and manually feed it back onto the roll. When doing so, they’re occasionally met with a very unpleasant jolt in addition to the time wasted stopping and restarting the process.
The solution was to install a 42” Gen4 Super Ion Air Knife blowing onto the roll as it unwinds. The positive and negative ions from the knife neutralized the charge on the surface of the material and stopped it from jamming. The customer estimated an increase in production of nearly 20% as they weren’t stopping to fix the jam. The shocks that resulted from having to fix the subsequent jams also stopped. If static is causing production problems in any of your processes EXAIR has the solution ready to ship from stock. Give us a call today and an Application Engineer will be happy to help prescribe the solution to all of your static woes.
A yogurt company printed bar codes on every cup that they produced. This was necessary for registering and tracing their product. After failing a bar code reader quality test, they started noticing some print issues during batch runs. They would have to stop their system, clean the inkjet printer head, and scrap product that would not register with the bar code reader.
This affects production rates, scrap rates, and overall cost. They stated that they threw away 30 to 40 cases per batch of yogurt due to this problem. They had an EXAIR catalog where they found a similar application within our Gen4 Static Eliminator product line. They contacted us to see if we could find a solution.
With non-conductive material like plastic, static is easily generated; especially during cooler weather. Static can be in a negative state or a positive state dependent on the material. For opposite charges, things are attracted to each other and will “stick” like magnets. For similar charges, they will repel each other. The higher the static charge, the stronger the force.
For the company above, the yogurt cups moved along a 7” (178mm) wide conveyor before they reached the bar code printer. This movement causes static to be generated on the surface of the cups. But, what about the inkjet printer? The function of the printer charges the ink droplets for direction and positioning. Since the ink droplets and the cup surfaces have the same charge, the droplets were being “pushed” back toward the printing head (reference photo below). Thus, the ink would dry on the surface and affect the quality of the bar code.
When it comes to removing static, EXAIR is a leader in this market. We have a large product line of different types of Static Eliminators. Our design generates both positive and negative ions to remove any type of static charge. Since we only had to remove the static from the surface of the cup, I recommended a Gen4 Ionizing Bar. With a quick static decay rate, we can remove the static right before the bar code printer with only one Gen4 Ionizing Bar. For this application, I recommended the model 8003 3” Gen4 Ionizing Bar and a model 7960 Gen4 Power Supply. Together, it was very easy to mount and start using. EXAIR stocks lengths from 3” (76mm) up to 108” (2743mm), and we can ship a solution the same day. When you are losing 30 to 40 cases, time matters. And for this company, they received the items the next day to correct the misprints and short printing runs.
When problems occur, time can be of the essence. This is why EXAIR stocks our cataloged items for fast delivery. For the company above, they had an EXAIR catalog which helped them to find a solution. If you would like to have an EXAIR catalog, you can click hereto get one. After they started using the Ionization Bar, the static was removed, the bar code was clean, and the operation ran smoothly. If static is causing issues for you, you can contact EXAIR and speak to one of our Application Engineers. We will be happy to assist you.
A manufacturing company contacted EXAIR about their metal tube processing. They made industrial precision tubes from start to finish. This would include turning, cutting, coating, washing and drying metal tubes to specific diameters and lengths.
For one specific problem area, they manufactured a tube with the dimensions of 1” (25.4mm) in diameter and 6” (152mm) in length. They would run a batch of 750 tubes through a wash cycle and then through a vibrating dryer with a drying material made from corn cobs. At the bottom of the vibrating dryer, the tubes would fall to an open mesh shaker table to transfer the tubes to Quality Control. The idea was to remove the excess cob material from the surface of the tubes before inspection and to recycle the drying material. But the problem was static.
When non-conductive materials slide, hit, peel, and vibrate; electrons from the surface can move from one atom to another; thus, creating static. The type of material and the amount of movement governs the positive and negative charges, and the amount of static forces.
The corn cob material is a non-conductive material, but what about the metal tubes? Since the metal tubes were coated for corrosion and abrasion protection, the surface is now a non-conductive area which will contain static. Since opposite charges attract each other, the cob material would cling to the outside surface of the metal tubes (reference photo below). Being a precision tube manufacturer, they did not want to send “dirty” tubes to their customers or allow the drying material to contaminate their measuring equipment. And, with the required quality control, the measurements had to be exact.
The shaker table was 8 feet (2.4 meters) long and 2 feet (0.6 meter) wide with rigid walls. The top of the shaker table was covered with a canvas to allow for a vacuum system to collect the excess material and dust. About half way down, there was a 2” (51mm) drop to help jolt additional cob material off of the tubes as they landed. But the static forces were too strong to release the material. Thus, the static had to be removed from the surface, so they contacted EXAIR to see if we could find a solution.
They sent photos of their setup which always helps us to diagnose and find solutions. The target place that they suggested would be near the 2” (51mm) drop as the tubes would be suspended for just a moment. My recommendation was to use a Gen4 Super Ion Air Knife to blow ionized air around the tubes as they fell. By blowing air, we can use the non-contact force to remove the static and the cob material at the same time. But we had two issues to overcome. The width was fixed at 2 feet (0.6 meter), and the operation controls were 10 feet (3 meters) away from the mid-section of the shaker table.
EXAIR stocks many Gen4 Super Ion Air Knives ranging from 3” (76mm) to 108” (2.74meters) in incremental lengths for quick shipments. But our standard 24″ product was not able to fit inside that area nor was the five foot electrical cable long enough to reach the control panel. (As a note, it was important for the operator to be able to manually turn on and off the unit from the control panel.)
EXAIR uses an electromagnetically shielded cable to carry high voltage from our Gen4 Power Supply to our shockless, non-radioactive Gen4 Ionizing Bar. Our stocked length for our armored cable is 5 feet (1.5 meter). After discussing the amount of movement with the table and the desired distance to the control panel, EXAIR could not use an item off the shelf. But not to worry… Since we are the manufacturer, we have the ability to make a special design for this customer.
I recommended a model 112220-10 special length Gen4 Super Ion Air Knife Kit. (Reference model numbering system above). Specials are non-returnable and non-cancelable, but for this customer, it was exactly what they needed. The Gen4 Super Ion Air Knives are engineered to efficiently blow ionized air to the target and remove static charge and debris.
For this special model, it was made to a specific width where the Super Air Knife was manufactured to a length of 20” (508mm), and the high voltage cable was lengthened to 10 feet (3 meters). The kit includes the Gen4 Power Supply to power the Ionizing Bar, a filter to clean the compressed air, a regulator to control the force, and a shim set to change force rates. This complete kit had everything required to begin operations to remove static and cob material from their precision tubes. The customer was able to mount the special length Gen4 Super Ion Air Knife within the shaker table and mount the power supply near the control panel.
Static can be an issue even with coated metal parts. For the customer above, EXAIR was able to make a special length Gen4 Super Ion Air Knife to work in their system. If you believe that static is causing issues, EXAIR has a great range of Gen4 Static Eliminators to remove that nuisance. You can discuss further with an Application Engineer as EXAIR for help; even if you need a custom product.
John Ball, Application Engineer