New Gen4 Super Ion Air Knives Stop Painful Shocks on Printing Operation

Kirk Rudy inkjet

Customer’s Inkjet Machine

I recently received an inquiry from a customer that was having an issue with static on their Kirk Rudy inkjet machine. They print on a variety of different materials for a range of applications, but had some concerns with static that was being generated. Once printed, the material is transported along a conveyor. Operators then remove the pieces by hand. While doing this, they’re receiving shocks as a result of the static, some of which are quite painful! After a little discussion, we determined that a Model 112012 Gen4 Super Ion Air Knife would be the most suitable solution. I recommended the knife to be positioned so that the ionized air stream would pass over the material as it’s coming down the conveyor. The ionized airflow from the Super Ion Air Knife eliminated any residual static, allowing the operators to remove the material without experiencing any painful shocks. This drastically improved workers attitude about performing this operation and eliminated the repeated written complaints that management was getting as a result. Their issue of finding a willing participant to be repeatedly shocked was rectified and the worker quality of life was improved.

EXAIR has just released the new Gen4 Super Ion Air Knives and Ion Bars. The new bar provides a 34% improved performance from previous models, allowing you to achieve the same or better results with less compressed air. These bars and knives are also now CE approved. Some improved features of the Gen4 Super Ion Air Knives are:

-Up to 34% improved performance

-Rugged metal armored and electromagnetically shielded cable

-Integrated ground eliminates additional ground connection

-Durable stainless steel connections to Power Supply

-UL component recognized/CE Compliant

-Modular Power Supply cable eases connections and routing

If you’d like to talk about the benefits of upgrading to the new Gen4 Static Eliminators or have a new application in need of a static eliminating solution, give us a call.

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

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

 

EXAIR Ion Air Jets: Phase 1 for Improving Medical Devices

Medical Anatomy

A manufacturing facility was machining small plastic components for the medical industry.  They had their machining center located in a semi-clean room to keep dust and debris from getting onto the product.  As a procedure before entering the machining area, the operators would have to put on a lab jacket, wear hats, step on tack matts, and then test themselves for static buildup.   This was to ensure the operators were not bringing in contamination.  For this company, there was a high importance in keeping the area and the parts very clean.

With any non-conductive material like plastic, static is a common problem.  Static causes things to “stick” to the surface like a magnet.  Stuff like dirt, dust, and in this case; the swarf from the machining process.  When the plastic material was being machined, static would build and cause the fragments to stick to the part.  This was causing surface defects on the components which caused a rejection failure.  They tried to use a small brush to keep the fragments from gathering, but it was not real effective.  They decided to contact EXAIR to see if we could eliminate the problematic issues caused by static.

Stay Set Ion Air Jet

When it comes to removing static, EXAIR has a large product line of Static Eliminators.  Our design creates both positive and negative ions to remove any type of static charge.  In most of our systems, we can use compressed air to carry the ions to the problem areas to remove the static.  Then the air can easily blow the debris from the surface.  For the above operation, this company needed a hands-free device.  Since the size of the products being machined were small, I recommended the Stay Set Ion Air Jet Kit; model 8494-9362.  This kit includes an Ion Air Jet, magnetic base, a 12” Stay Set Hose, power supply, filter and regulator (a complete startup kit to begin removing static).  The Ion Air Jet delivers a concentrated air flow of ionized air that can be focused on the parts.  With a small amount of compressed air, the Ion Air Jet induces the surrounding air at a ratio of 5:1; making it very efficient to use.  The magnetic base and the Stay Set Hose allows for easy maneuverability to direct the ionized air at the best position for maximum effectiveness in removing the swarf.

Once they installed the model 8494-9362 onto the CNC platform near the part, they started to see much improvement in their process.  As the Ion Air Jet was keeping the surface clean during machining, the reject rate for surface defects were reduced over 90%.  Another benefit that they saw was the reduction in time for cleaning after the machining process.  It was already debris-free and ready for the next operation.  One other thing that they did notice was the surface roughness was much “cleaner”.  They believed that the air from the Ion Air Jet was removing the heat from the tool and the surface of the part during the machining.   This allowed for a smoother and cleaner finish.

If you are dealing with plastic and non-conductive materials, the EXAIR Static Eliminators are designed to make your process run more efficiently by removing the static.  It was a great benefit for the above manufacturer to keep the product clean, reduce defects, and streamline their operation.  If you have issues with static, you can contact an Application Engineer at EXAIR to see how we can eliminate it.

John Ball
Application Engineer

Email: johnball@exair.com
Twitter: @EXAIR_jb

 

Photo: Muscles Anatomy Medical Human by heblo/64.  CC0 Public Domain.

Solving Static Problem in PET Plastic Thermoforming Application

PET plastic entering thermoforming machine to make cups

The image above shows a PET plastic sheet which is fed into a thermoforming machine. During thermoforming the plastic is made into drinking cups.  But, if the plastic enters the thermoforming machine with static present, the forming process cannot occur properly which results in defects.

The company in charge of thermoforming these cups reached out to the Application Engineering department at EXAIR in search of a solution to their problem. They had considered using Ion Bars, but were unsure if Ion Bars were the right solution.  So, we examined the process and the variables at play to determine the best path forward to remove this static.

The static in this application was present throughout the travel of the plastic sheet into the thermoforming machine. At EXAIR we always recommend to install any static eliminating solution at the last possible point before the static is causing a process disturbance, to ensure no static is regenerated.  Yes, a static charge has the potential to regenerate with friction, spearation or even simple contact with another surface. In the above example separation from the roll and friction upon the additional rollers could be a source of static. This meant finding a way to eliminate the static just prior to the sheet entering the thermoforming machine.

As it turns out, the thermoforming in this application can occur between 180-260°F, and this heat permeates from the machine to the area immediately outside of the plastic feed entrance. So, placing Ion Bars just outside of the machine, while potentially possible, would place them near temperatures at the high end of their operating temperature limits (maximum temperature for an EXAIR Ion Bar is 165°F).

However, just a couple of feet away from the machine this temperature dissipates significantly. So, if we could find a way to mount our solution 2-3 feet away and effectively eliminate static, we would have a viable solution.

That solution came in the form of Super Ion Air Knives. The Super Ion Air Knives provide the same static eliminating capabilities of an Ion Bar, but with an added benefit of transferring the static eliminating ions via a smooth and laminar air profile.  This allows for us to mount the Super Ion Air Knives a few feet away from the machine entrance, but to still effectively eliminate static.  At a distance of 12” away, the Super Ion Air Knife can eliminate a 5kV static charge in 0.18 seconds at an operating pressure of 80 PSIG, and in 0.60 seconds at an operating pressure of 5 PSIG.

Based on the width of 486mm, this customer opted for (2) 18” Super Ion Air Knives, model 111018, and (1) 230VAC power supply with (2) outlets, model 7907. By installing one Super Ion Air Knife on top of the plastic sheet, and one on the bottom, the static problem in this application is solved.

If you have an application in need of a static solution, contact an EXAIR Application Engineer. We’re here to help.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer
LeeEvans@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR.com

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

Ion Air Jet Keeps Laser Scanner Lens Clean, Eliminates False Reads

An automobile manufacturer was looking for a solution to keep their laser scanner lens clean in their body welding process. The Automatic Guided Vehicles or “AGV’s” are equipped with a laser safety scanner mounted on the front and back of each vehicle, used to detect any foreign objects in it’s travel path. The scanners are fitted with a polycarbonate protective lens and as the vehicles travel through the system, the lens can build up a static charge, attracting airborne dust and particulate, which results in false readings, shutting down the line.

The current cleaning method involves an operator using a microfiber cloth to manually wipe the lenses clean, and while this does work, with the scanners being mounted roughly 4″ above the floor, this poses some ergonomic concerns for their workers. The customer found EXAIR after looking on the internet for static elimination products and it turns out, they are currently using several of our products in their facility, but he was unsure which product would be suit their needs so he reached out for assistance.

After further reviewing the application with the customer, they explained that each vehicle makes several “scheduled” stops along the route and one of these areas would be selected as the install point. I suggested the customer use (2) of our Ion Air Jet Kits, to clean the lenses. The Ion Air Jet produces a high volume of ionized airflow that can be focused right at the lenses to eliminate the static charge and carry the fines away. The kit includes a filter separator which is going to remove any condensate and/or dirt in the air supply, as well as a pressure regulator. The pressure regulator will allow them to easily adjust the supply pressure to control the outlet flow and velocity so they don’t disrupt other areas in the process.

Additionally, I suggested they use (2) of our EFC – Electronic Flow Control, which features a timing controlled (0.10 seconds to 120 hours) photoelectric sensor as a means to control air usage. As the vehicle enters the blow off area, the sensor will “see” the vehicle, signaling the solenoid valve to open the air line to the jet to blow off the lens. As the vehicle then exits the area, the sensor would again send a signal to close the air supply, so compressed air is only used when needed, reducing operating cost and further automating the process.

8494

Ion Air Jet Kit, Model # 8494 – includes the Ion Air Jet, Power Supply, Filter and Regulator

If you are experiencing static issues in your process or to see how we might be able to help with your automated system, contact an application engineer for assistance.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

 

 

EXAIR Static Eliminators Provide a Solution for a Plastic Blasting Media Application

A customer had an application where they were using a plastic blasting media (PBM) to remove a coating from composite sheets. Being that I was unfamiliar with this type of blasting media, I went to the web for research.  This process is very interesting as it can remove coatings, paint, powder coats, etc. without harming the substrate.  It is widely used in the automotive and aerospace industries as it can be used on materials like very thin metals, composites, and even hardwood.

In our experience with non-conductive materials, static can be a huge problem. And in this case, it was.  The PBM was “sticking” to everything including the composite material that was being cleaned.  They were losing material as it was leaving the blasting chamber.  As with any type of blasting system, you want to reuse the material to economically reduce waste and keep the operation running longer.  As you can see in the picture below, the PBM is clinging to the internal components because of static.  This static force was keeping the PBM attached to the composite sheet and allowing it to leave the chamber.

Inside the Plastic Blasting Media cabinet

Inside the Plastic Blasting Media cabinet

As a quick remedy, they tried to use compressed air to blow the PBM back into the cabinet. They were using copper tubes that were flattened to create a homemade nozzle.  This style of nozzle is unsafe and very loud.  It was also difficult to get the correct amount of blowing force because static can build at different rates.  The higher amount of static charges, the stronger the attraction.  They needed a better method as they found themselves wasting not only the blasting material, but also much compressed air.

With applications similar to this, we like to remove the static at the problem area. Then, we do not have to be concerned about the static forces.  For their application, the cabinet had a 6” wide opening where the composite material would exit.  So, I recommended two pieces of the model 111206, 6” Super Ion Air Knife Kits, to be mounted just outside the cabinet.  One Super Ion Air Knife would be mounted above the sheet to clean the top surface, and the other mounted below the sheet to clean the bottom surface.  I recommended that they position the Super Ion Air Knives at a 45 deg. angle to the surface of the composite sheet in the counter-flow direction.

This position will optimize the performance of the Super Ion Air Knife.  It increases the contact time to coat the surface with ions to remove the static and to keep the PBM inside the cabinet.  With the design of the EXAIR Super Ion Air Knife, it has a 40:1 amplification ratio.  That means that for every 1 part of compressed air, it will entrain 40 parts of ambient air.  So, it can operate with much less compressed air.  Once they mounted the Super ion Air Knives, they were amazed at the performance.  It was very quiet; it used very little compressed air; and it kept the composite sheets completely clean.  After the static forces are removed, it only needed a light breeze to remove the PBM from the surface.

Super Ion Air Knife

Super Ion Air Knife

If you find that static is creating process problems, wasting time, and costing you money, EXAIR has a large line of Static Eliminators that can help you. For this customer, it was a simple phone call to EXAIR that got his operation back up and running fast and smooth without static.

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

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