EXAIR Webinar 11/7/18 2pm EDT: Understanding Static Electricity

Halloween has passed, temperatures are dropping, and you’ve had enough of constantly raking up leaves. It’s clear to everyone that summer is over (much to my dismay). As temperatures decline, so too does the amount of moisture in the air. As this happens, issues related to static electricity begin to increase. If you’ve ever walked across a carpeted surface, only to be shocked as soon as you touch a doorknob, you’re familiar with the effects of static electricity. In addition to painful shocks, static can contribute to a variety of problems within industrial processes.

We’ve talked here on the EXAIR blog about several of these different applications. Some examples include: removing static on plastic packaging, stopping dust from clinging to product, or aiding in part removal in an injection molding application. These types of applications can certainly occur year-round, but the absence of humid conditions dramatically increases the potential for them to occur.

summer static
In this photo, a static charge present causes the plastic particles to cling to the end of a suction wand.

They key to combating static electricity is first understanding how it it’s generated and how to test for it. To help you gain some more knowledge about static electricity and the problems it can cause, EXAIR is hosting a FREE webinar this week. Within this webinar you’ll learn how to identify a static charge, the series of events that are causing the charge, as well as various ways to eliminate this nuisance.

twitter-fall-webinar

Brian Farno, EXAIR’s Application Engineering Manager, will be conducting the webinar at 2:00 ET on 11/7/18. Immediately following the presentation will also be a brief Q&A. If you can’t attend, don’t let that stop you from registering! A link to view a recorded version of the webinar will go out to all registered participants whether you’re able to attend live or not.

Click here to register and view details on this upcoming webinar. Make sure you’re educated on the issues associated with static electricity before it’s too late!

Tyler Daniel
Application Engineer
E-mail: TylerDaniel@exair.com
Twitter : @EXAIR_TD

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

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Twitter: @EXAIR_BB

Super Ion Air Knife Removes Debris In Vinyl Window And Door Manufacturing

I recently worked with a vinyl window and door manufacturer on a static issue they were experiencing during the manufacturing process. After the aluminum frames are cut to length they are placed into a holding fixture where the vinyl seals are placed in a channel inside the frame and clamped together. A machining tool then travels around the parts to trim and machine the excess material, creating dust and some small chips. They tried to vacuum the debris away but were still seeing some residual material cling to the surface due to static, which resulted in manual rework of the parts, slowing down the production cycle.

Vinyl window – similar to the window being produced by the customer

The customer was able to send a drawing of the holding fixture for reference and after reviewing the information, I recommended they use our 18″ Super Ion Air Knife Kit in this application. The Super Ion Air Knife provides a high velocity, laminar sheet of ionized air across the length of the knife. As the positive and negative ions neutralize the surface charge, the airflow is able to clean the part of the unwanted material so it can be more easily vacuumed away. Using the regulator included in the kit, they can reduce the supply pressure to control the outlet flow and velocity to an acceptable level that doesn’t disrupt the current process.

Super Ion Air Knives are available in standard lengths from 3″ up to 108″ and ship from stock.

If you have an application you would like to discuss or are considering an EXAIR product for your process, please contact an application engineer for assistance.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

 

Vinyl Slider Window with Grid image courtesy of Steve Anderson via Creative Commons License

 

Super Ion Air Knife Removes Foil Dots In Lid Cutting Operation

I recently received an inquiry from a food manufacturer about a packaging line they were having issues with.  The plant fills continuous rows of thermo-formed cups which is then sealed with a single foil lid. Once sealed, a machine cuts the row to separate the cups, which creates small scrap pieces of foil. After the cutting operation, they try to collect as much of the waste trim as possible but some small pieces of foil, they call “dots”, cling to the surface of the cup and cutter due to static charge.  The company installed a vacuum collection hood in this area, to try and help keep the foil pieces or any dust from falling onto the cup during the process. While this did help somewhat, some dots would remain and eventually fall off further down the line, making small piles that needed to be manually cleaned to avoid potential jams, which slowed down their production cycle.

The cups are filled and separated on a 44″ wide, mesh-screen conveyor with individual lanes to process multiple rows of cups. After being cut, the cups are moved to the inspection area and then packaged for shipment.  I recommended they mount a 48″ Super Ion Air Knife above and below the cups and direct the airflow to the end where the vacuum collection hood is located. The idea is, as the ions eliminate the charge, the small foil dots will release and the laminar airflow would keep the parts moving toward the vacuum hood, thus removing all foil trim and preventing any piling of trim further down the production line.

The Super Ion Air Knife produces a sheet of ionized air capable of dissipating 5 kV in just a fraction of a second!

EXAIR offers a wide selection of Static Eliminators for use in a variety of industrial processes. If you are experiencing static concerns in a particular area or to discuss a specific process, please contact an application engineer for assistance.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

Cleaning Honeycomb with a Super Ion Air Knife

This week I worked with a gentleman, who was having a problem cleaning a honeycomb web after a sawing operation. The honeycomb was a paper based material, and the sawing operation would create a large amount of dust. This dust filled his honeycomb, which made the product appear inconsistent to his customer on incoming inspections. This was leading to the customer questioning the quality of the product.

honeycomb

His process featured a blower that was incredibly noisy and still left some material on the product.  During the winter, the problem was further exasperated by the dry air, which led to the dust being statically charged and clinging to the honeycomb even more.  In spite of his quality and production issues, the customer was looking to expand his production to meet demand. The blower he was using had been custom-made for his machine, so he was open to any ideas. Also, the blower had no way of removing static electricity from the material.

I recommended he use an 84″ Super Ion Air Knife to clean his 80″ honeycomb web. The customer mounted the air knife perpendicular to the surface of the honeycomb 4″ away from the surface. One of my concerns with the operation was creating even flow. To do this on a long span, I recommended he use have the plumbing kit installed at EXAIR, which allows the air knife to create an even flow along the length of the knife y preventing any restrictions which may occur from poorly sized inlet fittings, hose or tube.  The Super Ion Air Knife cleaned the honey comb with ease, while maintaining a quiet 69 dBA, and without the expensive maintenance required by the blower.

PlumbingKit-bg

Dave Woerner
Application Engineer
Davewoerner@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_DW