EXAIR Eliminates Static – Public Enemy Number one in the Printing Industry

Static electricity is the enemy of the printing industry. Downtime and inefficiency caused by static means longer lead times and angry customers! EXAIR can remove static electricity in the many printing applications across wide and narrow webs.  With our rugged line of EXAIR Super Ion Air Knives and Ionizing Bars, EXAIR can improve your efficiency and printing quality.

Digital printing dries out the printed substrate, creating high static charge that can cause printing defects, ink overspray, and even print head clogging and print head shorting issues. If a press is printing on non-porous substrates like plastic, metallics and highly coated glossy papers, a device called a corona treater is used to increase the surface energy of the substrate to ensure the ink droplets adhere and do not spread too much on the substrate. A byproduct of the corona treatment is static charge, which must be removed. This can be achieved by installing an EXAIR Ion Bar after the corona treatment device across the web.

Static is also created anywhere in the printing or finishing operations where sheets are moved over each  other.   Sheetfed presses, for example, create friction in the stacking of individual sheets on top of each other.  This friction induced static creates misfeeds, print registration issues, multiple sheet pickups and equipment jams.

Folding operations cause static issues too. Like a sheetfed press, static is created by folded pieces being dragged across each other.

In both cases, installing an EXAIR Super Ion  Air Knife or Ion Air Cannon that can direct a stream of ions between the stack and the top sheet can eliminate the static that causes misfeeds and jams.

The typical easy fix printers employ is what’s called a tinsel bar. Also called garland, it looks just like what you drape on a Christmas tree, except that it’s made of highly conductive copper that needs to be grounded to the printing press.The problem with tinsel bars is that although they are cheap initially, they don’t last long. They’re not a set-it-and-forget-it solution. The sharp strands work on induction and interact with the static field on the substrate creating a neutralizing cloud that surrounds the area, reducing both positive and negative ions. Printing operations are usually dusty environments and when the tinsel becomes dusty, oxidized, or matted and crumpled, they don’t work as effectively.

Static is also created in unwinding and rewinding operations, when rolls are slit to needed widths of various presses. The removal of the web from the roll creates static charge that attracts dust to the substrate surface and can cause major problems in downstream printing operations. Installing an EXAIR Ion Bar on top of the web can elimnate this static.

EXAIR Super Ion Air Knives don’t need to be placed close to the surface like a tinsel bar. Static dissipation of 5 KV can occur in less than a half second up to 20 feet away and can be adjusted from a blast to a breeze, depending on static level.

If you are a printer, finisher or labeler, EXAIR has a static elimination product that can improve your operations. For more help you can contact one of our EXAIR application engineers to talk you through a solution.

Dann Woellert
Application Engineer
dannwoellert@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_dw                    

Static Elimination Improves Credit Card Printing and Production

PVC Base Sheet for Credit Cards

A company that made credit cards was having issues in their print quality, and static was the culprit.  They used PVC sheets as a base material to print on, and like with any non-conductive materials, static can be generated easily and create problems.  For this company, static was attracting dirt to the surface of the material, causing blemishes in the print.  They contacted EXAIR to find a solution.

When non-conductive materials slide, hit, peel, and rub; electrons from the surface can move from one atom to another; thus, creating static.  The type of material and the amount of movement governs the amount of static forces.  These strong static forces can attack debris and fibers, as well as generate shocks, misalignment, and machine jamming.  Another feature of static is that it can regenerate if the materials continue to slide, hit, peel, and rub.

For the company above, they were printing on 30 cm by 48 cm (12” X 19”) PVC sheets.  They used three different processes to print a complete credit card; silkscreen, digital, and offset.  After each printing process, they would lose sections of the sheet due to poor image quality.  At the end, they were losing between 20 to 30% in visual rejections.

For this application, we had to do two operations; remove the static and clean the surface from debris.  The Gen4 Super Ion Air Knife can do both of these operations at the same time.  With the laminar air stream that comes from the Super Air Knife, it can carry both positive and negative ions from the attached Gen4 Ionizing Bar.  Together, they can remove any type of static charge as well as becoming a very effective tool as a non-contact wiper to remove debris.  With this ability, the print quality would not be affected during cleaning.  Since static is a surface phenomenon, I recommended to also remove the static from the other side of the sheets.  We did not want to have any dirt or debris that could be remaining on the bottom surface to transfer from one surface to the next during stacking.  This could scrape the finish during loading and unloading of the sheets.

I recommended two pieces of a model 112012 Gen4 Super Ion Air Knives that are manufactured to 12” (30 cm) in length.  This customer can easily mount one above the sheet and one below the sheet prior to printing.  To operate the attached Gen4 Ionizing Bar, EXAIR offers two types of power supplies, a two-output unit, model 7960, and a four-output unit, model 7961.  They can save you money when needing multiple Static Eliminators to operate in your system.  With a model 7960 Gen4 Power Supply, they now had a system to remove static and clean the sheets.  Once they installed the Gen4 Super Ion Air Knives onto their system, the rejection rate dropped to near zero.

All EXAIR Gen4 Static Eliminators use one of two Power Supplies – your choice of the 2-port Model 7960, or the 4-port Model 7961.

Rejected parts are costly, wasteful, and reduce production rates.  If you have rejection from static problems in your system, EXAIR has a large line of Static Eliminators to help you.  You can contact an Application Engineer to review your application.  For the customer above, the Gen4 Super Ion Air Knives made it possible to generate more credit cards per sheet.

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

EXAIR’s Super Ion Air Knife Stops Painful Shocks to Operators on Slitting/Rewinding Operation

During a recent trip to South America while visiting our Distributor in Lima, Peru I had the opportunity to look at a few applications at an abrasives manufacturing plant. The company manufactures a wide range of abrasive products as well as adhesive tape.

Before we dive in to the application, let’s discuss static generation. There’s three ways that static can be generated. The simplest method of static generation occurs when two non-conductive objects come into contact with one another and separate. Electrons are transferred from one object to another according to the Tribolectric Series. The second method of static generation occurs as a result of friction. When two materials rub together, especially if increasing force presses the objects together, electrons can also transfer from one material to another increasing the static charge. The final method, and the one occurring in this particular application, is detachment static buildup. Due to the large contact surface area, significantly greater static charges can be generated.

triboelectric
Triboelectric series showing the propensity of a material to gain/lose an electron

They had several converting applications that were causing static issues in the plant. The primary concern was the operators that were constantly getting shocked whenever they had to change out the rolls. A side concern was that there was occasionally a buildup of static that resulted in the product jamming, causing production to be stopped while they fix the jam and re-feed the material.

SIAK 3M

The application that I’d like to highlight was on a slitting and rewinding machine. A roll of plastic film was fed through rollers where it is slit into three different sizes and then re-rolled. As the film separates from the roll, a high static charge is generated. After each operation, an operator had to go in and remove all (3) rolls from the machine. Each time he was zapped as he touched the roll. This not only affects productivity as they’re hesitant to remove them quickly, but was also a major concern for their safety department.

The proposed solution was to install (2) Model 112006 Super Ion Air Knives, one above and one below the plastic film just after it was slit. All EXAIR Static Eliminators produce an equal quantity of both positive and negative electrons. So, regardless of if the charge is positive or negative there’s sufficient ions to neutralize it. After installation, the static charge was immediately removed. The operator, although hesitant at first, was able to remove the finished rolls from the machine without getting a nice jolt! As an added bonus, they also no longer had an issue with the material periodically jamming in the machine.

Don’t let static problems cause problems in your process or potential harm to your operators. With a wide range of different Static Eliminators available from stock, EXAIR has a solution available that will quickly take care of it for you. Reach out to an Application Engineer today, you’ll be shocked (no pun intended) at how quickly you’ll notice an improvement.

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

The Wonders of The Gen4 Super Ion Air Knife

The Gen4 Super Ion Air Knife is a powerful static eliminator that prevents jamming, tearing, shocks and dust build up by neutralizing static and blowing away the debris.

The Gen4 Super Ion Air Knife combines the quiet and efficient Super Air Knife with the compact design of the rugged Gen4 Ionizing Bar resulting in a total solution to remove static electricity from plastics, webs, sheet stock and other product surfaces. Removing the static helps reduce or eliminate the process issues that the static electric causes, allowing for greater production speeds, improved product quality and a cleaner product.

The Gen4 Super Ion Air Knife floods an area or surface with static eliminating ions. With a uniform airflow across its length, misalignment to critical surfaces like webs is avoided.  The force can be adjusted from a light breeze, to a full out blast of air. The Gen4 Super Ion Air Knife is electrically powered, is shockless and has no moving parts.

How It Works

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How The Gen4 Super Ion Air Knife Works

In the diagram above, compressed air flows through an inlet (1) into the plenum chamber of the Gen4 Super Ion Air Knife. The flow is directed to a precise, slotted orifice. As the primary airflow exits, it creates a uniform sheet of air across the entire length, pulling in in surrounding air (2). An electrically powered Gen4 Ionizing Bar (3) fills the curtain of air with positive and negative charges. The air stream delivers the static eliminating ions to the product surface (4) where it instantly neutralizes static and cleans off dust and other particulates.

The Gen4 Super Ion Air Knives are powerful tools, and very quickly dissipates 5kV of static even at low compressed air supply pressures. At 5 PSIG, only 3.7 SCFM (0.3 BAR, only 105 SLPM) of compressed air per foot of length is required!!  Sound levels are also very low, resulting in quiet operation.

super ion air knife performance

Added Features –

  • Compressed Air Inlets are provided on each end and the bottom of the Super Air Knife
  • Thicker shims can be installed easily if a harder air flow is needed
  • Emitter points are sharp, durable stainless steel
  • The high voltage cable is armored to resist cuts and abrasion, and has integral grounding.  Threaded bayonet connector is fully assembled and ready to use
  • Electromagnetically shield cable protects sensitive electronics
  • Gen4 Ionizing Bars and Power Supplies are UL Component Recognized to U.S and Canadian safety standards and are CE and RoHS compliant
  • Power Supplies are 115/230 VAC selectable and come with 2 or 4 outlets
  • Standard lengths from 3″ to 108″ (76mm to 2743mm) are offered, and custom lengths are available to meet your process needs

Successful applications include web cleaning, pre-paint dust removal, shrink wrapper machinery, printing equipment, package cleaning,and bag opening/filling operations.

If you have questions about Gen4 Super Ion Air Knives, other types of Static Elimination products,  or any of the 16 different EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air® Product lines, feel free to contact EXAIR and myself or any of our Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.

Brian Bergmann
Application Engineer
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Twitter: @EXAIR_BB

Video Blog: Gen4 Super Ion Air Knife Conversion

The video below provides details on the simple conversion to the new Gen4 style Super Ion Air Knife from the previous style or the addition of a Gen4 Ionizing Bar to an existing Super Air Knife to add static elimination to an existing blow off.

If you have questions about the Gen4 Super Ion Air Knife or any of the 16 different EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air® Product lines, feel free to contact EXAIR and myself or any of our Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.

Brian Bergmann
Application Engineer
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Twitter: @EXAIR_BB

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

What is a Super Ion Air Wipe?

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Rendering Of The GEN4 Super Ion Air Wipe In Action

 

EXAIR’s GEN4 Super Ion Air Wipe provides a uniform 360° ionized airstream that is simple to clamp around a part for reducing static electricity and cleaning contaminants. It is great for use on pipe, cable, extruded shapes, hose, wire and much more. We offer the GEN4 Super Ion Air Wipe in either 2” or 4” inner diameter, it is powered by compressed air and an external power supply. The GEN4 Super Ion Air Wipe generates both positive and negative ions that are transmitted the emitter points located on the i.d. of the wipe. Since static charges can be either negative or positive it is easy to eliminate both states of charge due to the mixed polarity of ions being generated. The power supplies are available with either 2 or 4 outlets (can power up to 2 or 4 GEN4 Static Eliminators simultaneously) and are UL recognized, CE and RoHS compliant. The power supplies also have a selectable input voltage for either 115 or 230VAC.

Another great feature of the GEN4 Super Ion Air Wipe is the split collar design that utilizes a clamp and hinge making it easy to clamp around the surface of the material moving through it eliminating the need for time consuming “threading”.

2nd Pic.jpg

How does the Super Ion Air Wipe work? The Super Ion Air Wipe envelopes the part passing through it with a stream of compressed air to strip contaminants and bathes it with ions to diminish any static charge. The airflow follows the surface of the material passing through it and can be effective up to 15′ (4.6m) away from where the Super Ion Air Wipe is located. The optional pressure regulator allows for fine adjustments of the air volume and velocity and the optional shim set allows for large air volume and velocity adjustments.

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How The GEN4 Super Ion Wipe Works

 

If you would like to discuss reducing static and/or cleaning of continuous runs of  materials, I would enjoy hearing from you…give me a call.

Steve Harrison
Application Engineer
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