Cold, Dry Climates are a Recipe for Static Problems

A few weeks ago, for the first time this season, I had to scrape ice off of my windshield before heading to work. Living in the Midwest, this is the first sign that winter is coming. The colder climate doesn’t just alter my typical morning rituals but it also brings with it much drier air. This dry air can create static problems in your facility that will wreak havoc on your processes and sometimes the operators.

PET bottle
Empty PET dishwashing liquid bottle

I recently had the pleasure of working with a customer in Vietnam that was having some issues with static electricity in a labeling process. The company makes dishwashing liquid and before bottling they must label the PET bottles. They were not able to get the labels to properly adhere to the bottle. This forced them to periodically stop the line and have two operators manually rub the surface of the label to get it to stick properly. They knew there had to be a better way. After spending some time searching the internet for solutions, they stumbled upon the EXAIR website and reached out to us for help.

IMG20171107152410
Operators fixing the labels on the PET bottles

The solution was to install (2) 112012 12” Gen4 Super Ion Air Knives, one on either side of the bottles. They were installed at about a 45° angle with the airflow pattern against the direction of travel of the bottles. This counter-flow as we call it, maximizes the time in contact that the bottles have with the static eliminating ionized airflow. Mounting them in this manner gives the best possible chance of success in any static eliminating, cleaning, drying, or blowoff application. The airflow is able to reach the bottles much earlier up the line than if it were to be simply blowing perpendicular to the bottles.

Unfortunately in this case the customer was unable to quantify their production gains. But they were able to remove the additional process of manually fixing the labels and could operate continuously without interruption. By eliminating the tedious step of inspecting bottles and fixing the labels, worker morale and job satisfaction was significantly improved.

GEN4-siakpconveyor_800xsq
A 6″ Gen4 Super Ion Air Knife removing static from labels

If the cold, dry winter climate has you worried about static issues in your facility, give us a call. An Application Engineer will be happy to determine a solution from our wide range of Gen4 Static Eliminators.

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

More Force is not Always Better for Cleaning Glass

Glass Annealing Machine with model 110230

A float glass company purchased an EXAIR model 110230 Super Air Knife kit to clean the surface of glass sheets.  The production manager watched the video of the performance of the Super Air Knife, and he was amazed at the efficiency, effectiveness, and safety that they could provide.  (We have many EXAIR Product videos here).  After they received the Super Air Knife, they mounted it after the annealing process to remove any specks of dirt and debris prior to the final visual inspection.  They were getting some false rejections from contamination that remained on the sheets, and they believed that they needed more force to better clean the surface of the glass.

The blowing system was operating at 73 PSIG (5 bar) air pressure, the maximum amount that could be supplied at the machine.  With the dynamics of the Super Air Knife, the blowing force could be increased by changing the shim thickness.  The plant manager contacted me about the characteristics in force and flow by changing from the standard 0.002” (0.05mm) thick shim to the 0.003” (0.08mm) or 0.004” (0.1mm) thick shim.  (These shims are Included in the shim set for aluminum Super Air Knife kits along with a 0.001” (0.025mm) thick shim).  As an Application Engineer at EXAIR, I was inquisitive about the application and wanted to do a “forensic” analysis of the system to generate the best suggestion.  So, I had him send me pictures of their setup.

With non-conductive materials like glass and plastic, static can be a huge issue.  Static forces can easily be generated and will cause dirt and debris to “stick” to a surface.  This attraction is very strong and will make it very difficult to remove.  If the static force can be neutralized, then the contamination can easily be removed from a non-conductive surface.

With this understanding, my initial suggestion for the company above was to remove the static charges from the surface of the glass with an EXAIR Static Eliminator.  With the complimentary design of the Super Air Knife, it is simple to mount an Ionizing Bar directly to the Super Air Knife that they currently installed.  I recommended a model 8030, 30” (762mm) long Gen4 Ionizing Bar, and a model 7960 Power Supply to transform the Super Air Knife into a Gen4 Super Ion Air Knife.  The positive and negative ions that are generated by the Gen4 Ionizing Bar can be carried by the laminar air flow of the Super Air Knife to treat the surface.  This combination can work well to remove static charges up to 20 feet (6m) away.  Once the static is removed, the force of the air stream would easily remove any dust or debris from the glass surface.

Gen4 Super Ion Air Knife

As an added note from the picture above, I recommended a different position for the Super Air Knife, or soon to be Gen4 Super Ion Air Knife to optimize the blowing area.  The glass company had the air knife positioned to blow straight across the surface of the glass.  For proper cleaning and better contact time, I suggested to mount the Super Air Knife with the Ionizing Bar about 6” (152mm) above the surface of the glass and angle it to about 45 degrees.  This would increase the contact angle and allow for a better blowing force to remove all the debris.  By adding the Gen4 Ionizing Bar and adjusting the blowing angle, they were able to reduce the air pressure from 73 PISG (5 bar) to 30 PSIG (2 bar); saving compressed air and reducing false rejections.

Pictures are always helpful in analyzing an application.  With the company above, we were able to optimize their cleaning process and reduce the total amount of compressed air required.  If you find that you need more force to clean a non-conductive surface, EXAIR Static Eliminators will resolve these static problems.  If you would like to discuss your application with an Application Engineer at EXAIR, we can go through the “forensics” analysis for optimization.

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

Removing Static From Diaper Absorbent Material

This is where the absorbent material inside a disposable diaper is made

The image above shows one step in the process of disposable diaper manufacturing.  In this step of the process, the absorbent material is ground through a mill on the top of the “bunker” where it falls down a shaft and onto a mesh screen.  Once on the mesh screen, the material is repressed into the proper size and shape for placing into the diapers.

This manufacturer contacted one of our Russian distributors about the application because the milling of the absorbent material was creating static.  This static caused the material to adhere to the walls of the bunker chute and to unevenly distribute onto the mesh.  This unevenness leads to holes in the pressed/shaped absorbent material which translates to a reject rate of ~1 out of every 20 diapers.

An EXAIR Ion Bar

The ideal solution in this case needed to eliminate the static within the chute to allow for proper distribution on the mesh below and proper material placement into the diapers.  An Ion Bar was originally desired by the customer, but material accumulation on the emitter points was a concern so this solution was removed from consideration.

An EXAIR Ion Air Cannon

An Ion Air Cannon, however, was able to provide the desired solution by mounting outside of the chute and feeding a low volume of ionized air to remove the static.  The ionized airflow from the Ion Air Cannon is strong enough to permeate the full volume of the application, but low enough to not disturb the absorbent material within the process. Using an Ion Air Cannon allowed this manufacturer to eliminate defects and wasted materials, increase their throughput, and improve the quality of their products.  Defects dropped from 1/20 diapers to less than 1/1000.

If you have a similar application or similar needs, contact an EXAIR Application Engineer.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer
LeeEvans@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_LE

PrACTice Like A Champion

If you follow our blog, you know that over the past 2 years I have posted a few blogs related to coaching my oldest son’s youth football team. Well it’s that time of year again as we enter our 3rd season with the team. Each year, the athletic boosters put together a “Spirit Wear” package for the players, parents and coaches to purchase that typically includes a t-shirt, with some type of motivational message, and matching shorts. Last year the slogan was “Out Work, Out Hustle, Out Hit”, and in all honesty, I really didn’t like it all that much. This year’s shirts have the motto “PrACTice Like A Champion” which plays right into the mentality our coaching staff tries to instill in our young players.

The head coach and I attended a youth football coaching clinic over the winter that was put on by our local NFL team, the Cincinnati Bengals, to further develop skills to help our players. During the clinic, one particular NFL positions coach used the term I.M.P.A.C.T. as an acronym for “I Might Provide A Critical Thought, Teaching or Technique”. This message really hit home for us with not only how we communicate with our players but also how we interact with each other, referees, parents, opposing coaches and players, etc. We are dealing with 8-9 year old kids who are very impressionable so how they see their leaders (coaches) act can play a large role in their own behavior.

Over and over we remind the kids during practice and in games that win or lose, we are going to respect the game and play it the right way. Too many times you see professional and sometimes collegiate athletic teams disrespect their respective sport by cheating or playing “dirty” to try and gain a competitive edge. Heck, during some of our own peewee games we’ve had opposing players get frustrated and try to take out key players or have coaches instruct their players to take a cheap shot after a play has been whistled dead. Now, I’m as competitive of a person as there is, but I will NEVER understand this type of mindset. These are young kids, playing a GAME. At the end of the day, you put your uniform on, line up and let the game play itself out – may the best team win. For our team, this year’s motto “PrACTice Like A Champion”, we hope is going to serve more purpose than just relating to our football program but rather as a way they go about each day.

While we don’t compete in sports at EXAIR, we do put in the “Practice” behind the scenes in being “Champions” to our industry. We are constantly working on developing new products to support our customer’s ever changing needs. For example, we recently released our NEW Catalog 31 which features several new products like our VariBlast Safety Air Guns, Sanitary Flanged Line Vac Air Operated Conveyors and our NEW Gen4 Static Eliminators.

Click on the photo to order a FREE copy of our NEW Catalog 31

If you need assistance with selecting any of these new products or to “tackle” a particular application, contact one of our team members and let us put our championship mindset to work for you.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

 

 

 

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.