Video Tutorial on Cleaning the Gen4 Static Eliminator

It has been over two years since EXAIR first brought our Gen4 Static Eliminators to market with improved performance, materials and durability.  The new design features continue to provide our customers with reliable, rugged and problem solving static eliminators.

More recently our Gen4 product line was completed by integrating these same beneficial features in the Gen4 Ionizing Bars, Gen4 Super Ion Air Knives, and Gen4 Standard Ion Air Knives.

There are two common ways that a Static Eliminator will start to underperform; contamination buildup and point degradation.  To create ions from a metal point, a high voltage is needed.  With 5,000 volts forcing its way into a confined area, the energy behind making an ion creates a corona field.  Any contamination near or around that point will produce a small amount of charred material.  The more contamination in the surrounding area, the faster the buildup will occur. Once a sharp point is coated, the ion production begins to decrease.

The other issue is with metal point degradation.  With the cycle of heating and cooling, the material will start to lose the sharpness of the point over time.  Like a wick used in a candle, you lose a little bit each time.  For both methods above, once the point sharpness is reduced, the dissipation time to remove static starts to increase.

For any “forensics” analysis with the Static Eliminators, you should have a model 7905 Static Meter.  Besides viewing the ion points, the Static Meter can help determine the severity of the function of the ion points.  If cleaning is required, you can use a soft-bristled brush to remove any charred contamination from the point and the base area.  Make sure that the power is turned off before cleaning.  For resistor-based Static Eliminators, the metal ion pins are replaceable.  This is model 901188.  This added feature makes a cost-effective way to keeping the points sharp, and the Static Eliminators like new.  The video below shows how to clean and replace the ion points.

Contact any of our Application Engineers if you have any additional questions about cleaning, about a new application or about potential solutions to static related problems.

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

A Tale of Two Super Ion Air Knives

A manufacturer of plastic bottles had a problem with static charge. Right after the bottles are extruded and cooled, they have an apparatus that “unscrambles” them and places them, single file, onto a conveyor. It does so with some fabric belts and plastic rollers. If you know anything of static electricity, dear reader, you probably recognize that there aren’t too many better ways to generate a static charge than to rub plastic against plastic, or (even worse) plastic & fabric together.  Here’s a prime example of the kind of static charge you can get, just from unrolling plastic film.

The separation of the non-conductive surfaces (like when this plastic film is unrolled) is capable of generating an incredible amount of static charge.

Now, the bottle makers didn’t have a static meter, but they didn’t need one to know they had issues:  the bottles that the “unscrambler” was putting on the belt were still very much “scrambled.”  They installed a Model 112209 9″ GEN4 Super Ion Air Knife Kit, to blow ionized air up from under the bottles as they entered the belt conveyor, and they did see what they’d call an improvement, but not quite what they’d call a solution.

Unfortunately, dissipating the static from just about half of the surface area of the bottle was still leaving them with half a problem.  However, by adding a Model 112009 9″ GEN4 Super Ion Air Knife (the 112209 Kit’s Power Supply has two outlets, and its Filter Separator & Pressure Regulator are capable of handling the flow to two 9″ Air Knives,) they were able to blow ionized air down from the other side, and up from where the first one was installed.  A soft “breeze” was all it took…a stronger air flow would have worked against the “unscrambler” anyway…because even at very low supply pressures, the Super Ion Air Knives produce an extremely fast static dissipation rate.

Even with a 5psig supply…which makes for just a “whisper” of air flow, the EXAIR GEN4 Super Ion Air Knife eliminates a 5kV charge in under half a second.

If you’ve got problems with static charge, we’ve not only got improvements; we’ve got solutions. Give me a call to find out how we can help.

Basics of Static Electricity

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.

Basics of Static Electricity

 

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.

Brian Bergmann
Application Engineer

Send me an email
Find us on the Web 
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Twitter: @EXAIR_BB

Stretch Wrap Static Solution

Recently a customer called in to EXAIR to discuss a static issue in a stretch wrap process in the plant. Stretch wrap is a highly stretchable plastic film.  The elastic recovery keeps the wrapped load tightly bound. The most common stretch wrap material is a linear low-density polyethylene or LLDPE.  The combination of the stretching of the plastic film and the sliding of the film on the cardboard boxes as it is being wrapped causes a build up of static. This static can cause serious havoc and issues in the process including personnel shocks, zapping counters and other sensors causing failures, and preventing marking systems from delivering good information on to the stratch wrap.

wrapper (2).jpg
Stretch Wrap Operation

The discussion started with minimum and maximum load sizes and how to design a system that would work with all configurations and be as flexible as possible.  We spoke of dimensions and where we could we could mount on 3 sides, and so forth.

Then came the question that we invariably get to and that is ‘what issue does the static cause and how does it affect the rest of the process?’  The answer here simple, ‘an operator has to write a code number on the side and affix a label, and in doing so, receives a shock.’ When it was determined that only a small section of one side of the load needed to be treated, the solution was simple.  We proposed an 18″ Ionizing Bar and Power Supply. Because the machine had a fixed datum, all loads would pass within 1-2″ of a vertically installed Ionizing Bar, so no adjustment is needed for different load sizes.

Ion Bar
Ionizing Bars Treating Top and Bottom Surfaces

The Ionizing Bar quickly dissipates a strong static charge as shown in the chart below.

capture

EXAIR offers many systems for total static control. When static is a problem on moving webs, sheet stock, three dimensional parts, extrusions or packaging, EXAIR has a solution.

To discuss your application and how an EXAIR Static Eliminator would help out, feel free to contact EXAIR and one our Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.

Brian Bergmann
Application Engineer

Send me an email
Find us on the Web
Like us on Facebook
Twitter: @EXAIR_BB

Ionizing Points: A Good Solution in an Air Ducting System for Textile Processing

Model 8299 Ionizing Point
Model 8299 Ionizing Point

Static is all around us. It is caused by non-conductive materials having their electrons “rubbed” from one atom onto another.  With the proliferation of engineered plastics throughout industry static is generated more readily and issues will start to appear when the static voltage gets large enough.  EXAIR has a Static Eliminator product line with many solutions to help solve process issues.

Companies build systems using blowers and fans to generate air flows for various processes. Because of the high noise level normally associated with blowers and fans, they are generally mounted outside or away from the production floor.  To bring the air to the work area, they use ductwork. Systems that involve plastic, wood, glass, or other types of non-conductive material, have a potential for developing static problems.  The Ionizing Points are designed to remove static in small tight areas as well as in air duct systems that already have air moving through them.

I spoke to a customer recently who had a dust collection system in a room where an adhesive is applied to a fabric. The “openness” of the fabric allowed some adhesive to penetrate and land on a 36 inch (0.9 meter) wide conveyor belt.  After the fabric was sprayed, it was conveyed into another room for further processing.  The conveyor belt had to be cleaned continuously to support new fabric as it was being brought in.  The conveying system was long enough to allow the adhesive to dry before it was to receive the next round of material.  The conveyor belt material was such that the adhesive did not stick to it.  (Or so they thought!).  As the adhesive dried, it would “ball up” and harden on the belt and would need to be removed.  To remove the particles, they used a push-pull cleaning method, blowing air through the duct and onto the belt surface to push the dried adhesive into a vacuum hood which pulled the particles into the dust collection system.

The customer started having issues with the contamination level within their fabric. From the nature of how the contamination was acting within the application, the customer had a strong suspicion that static  was causing the contamination issue. The air through the duct could not generate enough lift on the particles for the vacuum system to remove them.  The result was that dried adhesive was transferring onto the fabric.  The customer was concerned that he would have to upgrade his complete push-pull system to continue his production.  He contacted EXAIR for a solution.

Duct mounting
Duct mounting

In reviewing his room parameters, the customer did not have any compressed air lines going into this room.  This narrowed my search in our Static Eliminator product line to our Ionizing Points, which do not require compressed air. He could place them along the end of the duct to generate ions which will eliminate any static charge present and release the adhesive particles.  He purchased eight Ionizing Points and mounted them 4 inches (10 cm) apart.  As the air was exiting the 36 inch (0.9 meter) wide ductwork, it would pick up the ions, remove the static from the conveyor belt and adhesive, and allow the vacuum flow to lift the particles.  The adhesive remnants could then be picked up by the vacuum system as designed.

If your application already has blower or fan systems and you need to remove static, inserting one or more of the Ionizing Points through the duct wall could be a low cost solution to enable reasonable static elimination. If you have an application that you would like to discuss, contact an Application Engineer for help.

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

Super Ion Air Knives Remove Dust from Plastic Panels

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Conveyor line with static dust problem

One of our distributors reached out to me this week about a static elimination application in Russia.  The end user has the setup shown above, and they are in need of a means to remove dust from the plastic panels on the conveyor.  These panels have a static charge causing ambient dust to adhere to their surfaces.

The main questions for this application were whether we could provide a solution capable of creating a static eliminating blow off for the entire width of the conveyor (approx. 54”), and whether the dust particles can be removed from the working area after removal from the plastic panels.

In order to answer the first question we first had to select a solution, and the Super Ion Air Knife is a near-perfect fit.  We can provide Super Ion Air Knives in any length up to 108”, with a stock length 54” unit available on the shelf.  This was a straightforward recommendation to remove the static from these plastic sheets – install one 111054 54” Super Ion Air Knife on the top and bottom sides of this conveyor to remove the static and blow off the dust.  But, the second question will require a more specialized solution.

When static causes dust to adhere to a surface, removal of the static charge allows the dust to fall off or be blown away, so we were confident that we can remove the static and dust.  But, we then need to vacuum these dust particles away – something we could achieve with a series of Super Air Amplifiers or Line Vacs – which will require some sort of specialized hood.  Fortunately for us, this application already has a vacuum control system with a hood (you can see this in the right side of the photo with a large plastic air duct running to the top and bottom hoods on this conveyor line).

So, problem solved!  We recommended the two Super Ion Air Knives are installed with the airflow aimed at a 45° angle of attack, opposite the direction of travel, and with the airflow aimed into these vacuum hoods.

If you have a similar application or static problem in your facility, give us a call, we’ll be happy to help.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer
LeeEvans@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_LE

Don’t Let Winter Shock You: One Danger to Quality that You Cannot Forget

Winter is coming. The humidity will drop. Electrostatic discharges will rise. We will all be shocked again, and again –  it’s a reality of manufacturing processes in the winter and can cause such a nuisance.

Static Electricity is created by materials such as paper, plastic or textiles rubbing, peeling, or sliding across a surface. Materials normally contain and equal number of positive and negative charges. As the two surfaces come into contact electrons will transfer from one material to another.  If these surfaces are not electrically grounded, they will gather a charge.  For instance, if you rub your sock across the carpeted floor before you reach out and touch your kid sister over the holidays, you may be able to shock her enough to take her eyes off of Instagram.  This is the same phenomenon that you can also see in lightning storms on a meteorological scale.

Electrostatic discharges may only be a nuisance to you and me as we climb in and out of cars, open door knobs, or touch our computers, but for a number of industries the rise in static will make producing quality products in  a timely manner significantly more difficult. Printing, packaging and slitting operations can be stopped or ruined by static. Some of these applications require a very long static eliminators between 60 and 108 inches.

Ion Bar
Two long ion bars remove static from laminated panel.

 

For wide web applications EXAIR builds Long Ion Bars up to 108″ in length. These bars can clean up printing errors caused by static in large inkjet printers.  They can eliminate static before or after a slitting operation. Also, they can eliminating static before painting or staining.  These bars will be invaluable to the paper, textile, film or plastic industry as winter continues to lower the humidity.

2014_exairPOYfinalistG_300px
Plant Engineering Product of the Year

 

The folks at Plant Engineering have nominated EXAIR Long Ion Bars for Product of the Year. If you are currently using the Long Ion Bar or another EXAIR product, please go vote for our products in the Plant Engineering Product of the Year Award.

Dave Woerner
Application Engineer
@Dave_Woerner
DaveWoerner@EXAIR.com