When, And Why, Should I Have My Static Meter Calibrated?

Instrument calibration is a big deal in a number of situations. Companies that sell product by weight are (or should be) adamant about keeping their scales calibrated. If they read light, they’re giving unintended discounts. If they’re reading heavy, they’re gouging their customers, and their local Weights & Measures folks take a dim view of that.

A much more serious situation, involving errant instrument readings, took place on a U.S. Navy submarine, USS Greenling (SSN-614) in the spring of 1973. They were conducting tests on a firing a new torpedo that was specifically designed for greater depths. While operating at what they THOUGHT was the ship’s “test depth” – the point at which the designers say the hull can be expected to maintain reliable integrity – the Captain, who was in the Torpedo Room, noticed a pressure gauge on a torpedo tube showed a higher-than-expected reading. They quickly realized the depth gauge in the Control Room was not operating properly, and they were, in fact, alarmingly close to “crush depth” – which is exactly as bad as it sounds. That’s a story every submariner hears early in their career, and it’s the reason that instrument calibration (for ALL systems…not just the depth gauges) is taken QUITE seriously.

In certain industrial and commercial ventures, instrument calibration is critical in that same vein: atmospheric monitoring equipment needs to be accurate or people can be poisoned by toxic gases, or suffocated from lack of oxygen, for example. Other processes aren’t life-threatening, but can have major impacts on production and quality. One of these (and the main subject of this blog) is the ability to measure static charge.

EXAIR’s Model 7905 Digital Static Meter is a handheld instrument that quickly & accurately indicates the static charge that resides on an object’s or material’s surface. If it’s in proper calibration, it can be used to gauge the effectiveness and efficiency of static eliminators, by measuring the static charge before, and after, exposure to the static eliminator product. It can also help to identify the source of static charge by showing specifically where the highest charge resides on an object or piece of material.

EXAIR Model 7905 Digital Static Meter: Because you can’t manage what you don’t measure.

To do so accurately, though, it has to be maintained in good working order. To ensure this, EXAIR Corporation offers calibration service, available at three levels, depending on your specific needs.

  • Level 1 Calibration is performed in accordance with Mil Std 45662A, and is traceable to NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) standards. It doesn’t include before/after test data, but does ensure the Static Meter is in good working order and reads accurately. For most typical industrial applications, this is all that’s required.
  • Level 2 Calibration complies with Mil Std 45662A, and is traceable to NIST standards as well. It DOES include before/after test results and lists the laboratory standards used (along with NIST test numbers), which may be called for in compliance with your company’s quality programs.
  • Level 3 Calibration also complies with Mil Std 45662A and is traceable to NIST standards. This level of calibration, however, is performed by an independent laboratory that is accredited for ISO 17025 compliance. The calibration certificate issued satisfies requirements of:
    • Mil Std 45662A
    • ANSI/NCSL Z540-1
    • ISO/IEC Guide 25
    • ISO/IEC 17025

If you don’t recognize any of those requirements, Level 1 Calibration is likely all you need to ensure your Static Meter is functioning properly. A prime example of the need for Level 3 Calibration might be a pharmaceutical goods manufacturer who uses Static Eliminators to ensure cleanliness/sanitation in a packaging evolution, and uses the Static Meter to periodically document the dissipation of the static charge on the packaging material. The before/after results, along with compliance to certain standards, could trigger a safety recall on a potentially unsafe product that presented a very real public health risk.

Prime examples of applications where your Static Meter might need different levels of calibration (from left to right) – an artwork maker using a Gen4 Ion Air Gun can ensure consistency in finished products by periodically having their Static Meter calibrated to Level 1 standards. A playing card manufacturer who uses Gen4 Ionizing Points and sells product to casinos can provide quality documentation to their customers with Static Meters calibrated to Level 2 standards. A pharmaceutical company who uses a Gen4 Ion Air Jet can track quality – and hence public safety – by documenting compliance with the highest levels of regulatory control with Static Meters calibrated to Level 3 standards.

As temperatures drop in the Northern Hemisphere, static charge – and attention to the problems it causes – rises. If you’ve got questions about static elimination, let’s talk.

Russ Bowman, CCASS

Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
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Static Eliminators Essential To Packaging Operations

I had a headache the other day. Of all the things that can make me grumpy, nothing makes me grumpier than a headache. Luckily, there are over the counter medications that work quite well, and quickly, to boot.  And I had a brand new bottle of them in the cabinet.

When I opened the package and removed the tamper-resistant plastic band on the cap, it stuck to my hand when I went to drop it in the trash can.  This raised my grumpiness just a touch.  I shook my hand to try and get it off, and it fell behind the trash can.  My grumpiness elevated a bit further.  I hit my head (you know, the one I was trying to cure the pain in?) on the counter while bending over to retrieve it.  That activated my grumpiness alarm, which sounds just like mild profanity.  My wife silenced that alarm pretty quickly.

The plastic band stuck to my hand, of course, because it’s made of a non-conductive material, and peeling it from the bottle cap, which is also a non-conductive material, generated a static charge.  As a subject matter expert on the topic of static elimination, I am quite familiar with the phenomenon, the problems it causes, and, more importantly, the numerous ways to apply solutions to those problems:

  • One such solution was related to my problem with the tamper-resistant seal.  A mouthwash manufacturer was actually having trouble getting those seals ONTO the bottles on their packaging line.  The bottle caps themselves had so much static charge on them that they repelled the seal as the machine tried to drop it in place before heat shrinking it.  An Ion Air Jet solved the problem:
Gen4 Ion Air Jet ensures bottle caps & necks are static free for application of tamper resistant seals.
  • Speaking of plastic bottles, the finishing process after extrusion can leave small bits of plastic particulate behind, and static charge can keep them on the bottle.  This was a great fit for an Ion Air Cannon:
Gen4 Ion Air Cannon eliminates static & dust prior to filling bottles.
  • Sometimes, air flow isn’t necessary, like in the case of a film that is eventually made into single-use condiment packages, with a static charge that was high enough to fry the print heads that apply the label text.  An Ionizing Bar protects those print heads:
Initial static charge of almost 17kV (left) is almost completely dissipated by the Ionizing Bar (center) to just 0.04kV (right)

EXAIR Corporation’s Gen4 Static Eliminator product line offers a wide variety of options for total static control.  If you need to get rid of nuisance shocks, clinging dust, tearing, jamming or curling of material, misfeeding sheets or rolls, or any of the numerous other problems that static charge can cause, give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
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What’s So Great About The Gen4 Ion Air Cannon Static Eliminator?

It’s bitter cold this week in southwest Ohio, and one of the consequences of that is dry air in heated indoor areas.  If you’ve walked across a carpeted floor and pet your cat (like I did the other day), you (and your cat) may have experienced a phenomenon known as dissipation of static electricity.

In my defense, Elle The Cat often looks down on me just like she does on Rocky The Dog. Neither of us care.

The relatively low static charge you pick up by shuffling your socks across the rug is pretty small, compared to the charge generated by:

  • High speed rolling & unrolling of plastic film on a shrink wrapper.
  • Plastic pellets traveling through a conveyor system to an injection molding machine.
  • Slitting or trimming of paper, laminates, sheets, etc.
  • Removing protective layers between sheets of delicate materials.

And these can cause issues year-round.  The problems associated with static charge in these situations include:

  • Nuisance shocks to operators.
  • Dust and debris clinging to product finishes and surfaces
  • Product clumping or clinging while in transit.
  • Thin sheets tearing, jamming, folding, or misfeeding.
  • Disruption of sensitive electronic sensors, switches, etc.

EXAIR Corporation has a variety of Static Eliminator Product solutions, depending on the specific needs of a particular application.  To answer the question in the title of this blog, though, the Gen4 Ion Air Cannon is quite versatile, and is often considered alongside our other products.  For example:

  • Gen4 Super Ion Air Knives come in lengths from 3 inches to 9 feet.  If you have a wide web, sheet, or plate to remove static charge from, they’re the best choice, hands down.  For narrower widths, or situations where you have to blow in from the side or at a certain angle due to physical interference, the Gen4 Ion Air Cannon’s small footprint and adjustable mounting bracket provide a great workaround.
  • Gen4 Ion Air Jets generate a focused, concentrated flow of ionized air, for spot cleaning of smaller parts.  Its compact design is ideal for installations in close quarters.  If you have some room, the Gen4 Ion Air Cannon actually uses less compressed air to generate a higher ionized air flow…and it’s quieter, to boot.
  • Gen4 Super Ion Air Wipes are made to blow off and remove static from pipe, cable, extruded shapes, etc.  They come in 2″ or 4″ diameters.  If your product is larger than that, an array of Gen4 Ion Air Cannons can accommodate that.
  • Gen4 Ionizing Points are often installed in ducts to ionize existing air flow.  Arrays of two, three, or four are suitable for ducts up to about 6″ in diameter, depending on the air flow rate.  For larger ducts (or very high flow rates,) Gen4 Ion Air Cannons can be installed to blow into a ‘Y’ connection in duct walls.

Regardless of the nature of the application, if you’ve got a static problem, EXAIR has a solution!

These are just a few of the myriad Static Eliminator applications that EXAIR Corporation has successfully solved over the years.  Many times, the details of the application make one particular product the clear choice.  When there ends up being more than one worth consideration, one of the others is usually the Gen4 Ion Air Cannon.

Again…that’s based on the details of the application, and we’re here to help with that.  If you’ve got a static problem, give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
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Static Elimination for Sensitive Processes, Laboratories, and Clean Environments

Introducing the Intellistat® Ion Air Gun!

Are you looking for fast and efficient static elimination in a convenient, compact product? Look no further than EXAIR Corporation’s brand-new Intellistat Ion Air Gun designed for use in laboratories, electronics manufacturing and testing, clean environments and sensitive processes:

If you have any questions about the Intellistat Ion Air Gun, our other Static Eliminator solutions, or any of our engineered compressed air products, give me a call.

Russ Bowman
Application Engineer
EXAIR Corporation
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