Calibration – Keep Your Meters True

EXAIR offers meters to measure the level of physical parameters such as sound and static. Each meter has sensitive electrical circuitry and a periodic calibration is recommended to ensure the meter readings are tried and true.

The model 9104 Digital Sound Level Meter is an easy to use instrument that measures and monitors the sound level pressure in a wide variety of industrial environments. The source of loud noises can be quickly identified so that corrective measures can be taken to keep sound levels at or below OSHA maximum allowable exposure limits.

The sound meter comes from the factory with an NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) certificate of accuracy and calibration.  As a good practice, EXAIR recommends a yearly calibration of the instrument, and we offer a service that calibrates the unit to the same NIST standards and provide a written report of the calibration.

The model 7905 Static Meter allows easy one-hand static measurements.  It is useful in both locating sources of high static charge and checking the reduction of static after treatment with an EXAIR Static Elimination product.  The unit is sensitive and responsive, and indicates the the surface polarity of objects up to +/- 20 kV when measured from 1″ away.

It is also recommended that the Static Meter be calibrated on a yearly basis.  EXAIR offers (3) levels of calibration service.  The first two provide calibration in accordance with MIL Standards using accepted procedures and standards traceable to NIST.  The third calibration service conforms to the same Mil Standard, as well as ISO/IEC standards.

Annual calibration service of your EXAIR Digital Sound and Static Meter, along with proper care and storage, will keep your meter performing tried and true for many years, providing accurate and useful measurements.

To initiate a calibration service, give us a call and an Application Engineer will issue an Returned Good number, and provide instructions on how to ship the meter to EXAIR.

If you have questions regarding calibration services for your meters or would like to talk about any EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air® Product, feel free to contact EXAIR and myself or one of our Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.

Brian Bergmann
Application Engineer

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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.

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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.

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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

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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

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

 

Static Returns with Colder Temperatures

The temperatures have been dipping a bit in Cincinnati.  One day it might top 80F (26C), the next it could only get up to 60F (15C).  So, its typical Cincinnati weather.

With the fluctuation in ambient temperatures comes a fluctuation in humidity and varying propensity for static.  Lower temperatures, and the corresponding aridity in the air which usually accompanies them, are prime conditions for generating static.  This is because the relative humidity (which is a percentage of moisture held in the air compared to the maximum it could hold (at a given temperature)) normally drops below 30%, which promotes static.

But why?

Lower relative humidity essentially means less moisture (water) in the air.  And, water conducts electricity very well.  So when relative humidity is above 30%, the surfaces and materials in a given environment will absorb the moisture in the air or they will form a very thin surface layer of moisture which dissipates accumulated static charges.  The thickness of the moisture layer increases with increased relative humidity, so when relative humidity drops, so does this layer on surfaces and materials.  Then, when this layer of moisture is no longer present, static can easily build up.

Such was the case for the end user in the application photos shown below.

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Stacked plastic sheets experiencing a static problem
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Additional view of plastic sheets

This system began experiencing a process disturbance when separating stacked plastic sheets.  The operation is supposed to remove a single sheet at a time, but static was causing the machine to pick up multiple units in each pass.  (Separating two insulators such as these sheets is enough to create a static charge in any environment, let alone when humidity drops and static is more prevalent.)

For this application, we recommended a set of Super Ion Air Knives with the ionized air stream aimed along the short edge of the sheets.  As the sheets begin to separate, the ionized air flow from the Super Ion Air Knife has a chance to penetrate in between the sheets and eliminate the static charge. This prevents the machine from picking up more than one sheet at a time.

As the temperatures and humidity drop it is common to experience static problems.  For help with a solution, contact an EXAIR Application Engineer.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer
LeeEvans@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_LE

Ion Bars Remove Static, Help Improve Labeling Quality

I worked with a customer recently who was experiencing a static issue when trying to apply a bar coded label to their cardboard box. The boxes travel down a conveyor then passes by a labeler that uses a mechanical arm with air vacuum to hold the label in place. As the box passes by a sensor, the arm applies the label to the corner (front and side) and then the box passes by an applicator brush that ensures the label is firmly applied.

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They were starting to see wrinkles in the label as it passed by the brush and were thinking the label was holding a static charge which was making it be rejected by the box during the process. They were experiencing this about every other box. When it would occur, they would need to stop the line and manually check to make sure the label was seated properly. As a result, this was negatively affecting their production time and increasing wasted labels.

Since they thought it was the label holding the static charge, they wanted to use one of our Ionizing Bars to remove the static from the label as it was attached to the arm. The Ionizing Bar produces a high concentration of positive and negative ions able to dissipate 5 kV in 0.30 seconds, 2” from the object’s surface. It is also UL listed for safety and RoHS compliant.

Ionizing Bars Work

The customer is local, so they asked if someone from EXAIR could visit their location and take a look at their process. I was able to make the appointment for the next morning and brought a few of our Static Eliminating products and a Static Meter to take some measurements. By measuring within 1” of the surface of the product, the Static Meter measures the voltage and polarity up to +/- 20 kV.

Upon arrival, I was directed to the labeler and took a measurement – I was only getting a reading of about 0.2 kV. I then decided to take a reading on the box itself as it traveled down the conveyor. Now I was getting a reading of 3 – 5 kV, which meant that it was the box and not the label that was holding the static charge.

Since the customer could get within 2” of the surface of the box, they were able to mount a 6” Ionizing Bar vertically to remove the static prior to the labeling process.  This helped to greatly reduce the downtime of the line.

If you have a similar issue or would like to discuss your particular application, please contact one of our Application Engineers at 1-800-903-9247.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
JustinNicholl@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_JN

A “Static Season”-al Affective Disorder Blog

One of the more popular inquiries we get this time of year is for Static Eliminator Product selection assistance. EXAIR offers a variety of Static Eliminators, to accommodate a wide range of applications.

Static charge can be caused by contact or friction between non-conductive surfaces…and you don’t need a lot of contact, or motion, to produce a decent charge. We keep some clear plastic Lexan plates in our Efficiency Lab, and can get a few hundred volts just by putting one on top of the other, and picking it up. To generate several thousand volts (or more), we’ll rub a plate on the carpet for a few seconds.

This makes for a great all-purpose set up – from here, we can easily and effective demonstrate any of our Static Eliminators (or do an Efficiency Lab test on anyone else’s…just so you know). Not every situation or application involving static dissipation presents itself that simply, though. That’s where the diversity of our Ionizer Products line comes in:

Are you getting zapped by packages coming fresh off your shrink wrapper? Do you need to remove dust from – and keep it off of – parts prior to painting? Are your rolls of fiber, web, paper, film, etc., jamming or mis-feeding? EXAIR Super Ion Air Knives could be the efficient, quiet solution you’re looking for. They produce a high volume, extremely adjustable, laminar curtain of ionized air flow, perfect for large surface area and/or high speed applications. They’re available in lengths from 3” to 96”. If space is tight, our Standard Ion Air Knives, while not quite as efficient or quiet, do provide a smaller profile “footprint,” and are just as effective and fast in eliminating static.

Perhaps your application is smaller, and you need a tighter, focused stream of ionized air. The Ion Air Jet is compact, easy to install (even easier with a Stay Set Hose and Mag Base), and just the right size for table or counter top situations. If this is your size & scale, but you want the convenience and flexibility of a hand-held device, our Ion Air Gun is just the thing.

For jobs that are a bit larger, but still with a need for a compact installation, the Ion Air Cannon provides a high volume, but still concentrated, flow of ionized air. It’s effective over long distances, and very efficient, using a small amount of compressed air to entrain “free” air from the surrounding environment at a rate of 25:1. In dusty or dirty areas, you can even duct clean air in from elsewhere, so you’re not impinging that dust or dirt on your parts’ surfaces.

To remove static from a continuous run of cable, hose, extruded shapes, etc., the Super Ion Air Wipe comes with a 2” or 4” ID. Its split design makes for quick and easy installation, and means you’ll never have to “thread” it if product feed is changed or interrupted.

No compressed air? No problem. If you can mount it within 2” of the part, the Ionizing Point can dissipate up to 5 kilovolts of static charge in under a third of a second. For wider surfaces, our Ionizing Bars offer the same rapid performance, and can be provided in lengths of up to 120”.

All of our Static Eliminators are shockless, UL Listed, low maintenance, and available for same day shipment…except for a couple of our longer Super Ion Air Knives, which we need a day or so to put together.

If you have questions about which Static Eliminator is right for you, give us a call. We’re eager to help!

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
(513)671-3322 local
(800)923-9247 toll free
(513)671-3363 fax
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