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.
Everyone knows there’s oxygen in our air – if there wasn’t oxygen in the air you’re breathing right now, reading this blog would be the least of your concerns. Most people know that oxygen, in fact, makes up about 20% of the earth’s atmosphere at sea level, and that almost all the rest is nitrogen. There’s an impressive list of other gases in the air we breathe, but what’s more impressive (to me, anyway) is the technology behind the instrumentation needed to measure some of these values:
We can consider, for practical purposes, that air is made up of five gases: nitrogen, oxygen, argon, carbon dioxide, and water vapor (more on that in a minute.) The other gases are so low in concentration that there is over 10 times as much carbon dioxide as all the others below it, combined.
About the water vapor: because it’s a variable, this table omits it, water vapor generally makes up 1-3% of atmospheric air, by volume, and can be as high as 5%. Which means that, even on a ‘dry’ day, it pushes argon out of the #3 slot.
There are numerous reasons why the volumetric concentrations of these gases are important. If oxygen level drops in the air we’re breathing, human activity is impaired. Exhaustion without physical exertion will occur at 12-15%. Your lips turn blue at 10%. Exposure to oxygen levels of 8% or below are fatal within minutes.
Likewise, too much of other gases can be bad. Carbon monoxide, for example, is a lethal poison. It’ll kill you at concentrations as low as 0.04%…about the normal amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
For the purposes of this blog, and how the makeup of our air is important to the function of EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Products, we’re going to stick with the top three: nitrogen, oxygen, and water vapor.
Any of our products are capable of discharging a fluid, but they’re specifically designed for use with compressed air – in basic grade school science terms, they convert the potential energy of air under compression into kinetic energy in such a way as to entrain a large amount of air from the surrounding environment. This is important to consider for a couple of reasons:
Anything that’s in your compressed air supply is going to get on the part you’re blowing off with that Super Air Nozzle, the material you’re conveying with that Line Vac, or the electronics you’re cooling with that Cabinet Cooler System. That includes water…which can condense from the water vapor at several points along the way from your compressor’s intake, through its filtration and drying systems, to the discharge from the product itself.
Sometimes, a user is interested in blowing a purge gas (commonly nitrogen or argon) – but unless it’s in a isolated environment (like a closed chamber) purged with the same gas, most of the developed flow will simply be room air.
Another consideration of air make up involves EXAIR Gen4 Static Eliminators. They work on the Corona discharge principle: a high voltage is applied to a sharp point, and any gas in the vicinity of that point is subject to ionization – loss or gain of electrons in their molecules’ outer valences, resulting in a charged particle. The charge is positive if they lose an electron, and negative if they gain one. Of the two gases that make up almost all of our air, oxygen has the lowest ionization energy in its outer valence, making it the easier of the two to ionize. You can certainly supply a Gen4 Static Eliminator with pure nitrogen if you wish, but the static dissipation rate may be hampered to a finite (although probably very small) degree.
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.
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.
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!
Just recently I worked with our Distributor in Argentina on an application for a manufacturer of bottled water. Once the bottles are filled, a protective security seal is placed along the top of the bottle. This serves two purposes, it prevents any form of tampering as well as keeps the cap of the bottle clean throughout the rest of the manufacturing process. Since most people drink directly from the bottle, this area needs to remain clean and not be exposed to contamination later on in the process.
Their problem was that static was building up on this plastic which caused an improper seal on the cap of the bottle. Further down the processing line, the bottles can be exposed to water that contaminates the bottles. They had to implement an inspection process as it was not acceptable to allow any contaminated bottles to leave the plant. Without a solution, they were losing time due to the necessary inspection as bottles were being rejected at a rate of almost 30%.
The recommended solution was to install a Model 8164 4″ Gen4 Super Ion Air Wipe just prior to the point in the process where the seal was applied. The plastic material passed through the center of the Super Ion Air Wipe which neutralized the static charge on the material. Without a charge, the seal was applied correctly and they were able to eliminate the need of a manual inspection. After installation, the reject rate dropped to 0%!!
The Gen4 Super Ion Air Wipe provides a uniform 360° ionized airstream and is available in both 2” and 4” ID sizes. Its clam-shell design makes it easy to clamp around a part for neutralizing static electricity and contaminants. The high volume, high velocity airflow attaches itself to the surface and wipes it down with static eliminating ions. The airflow stays attached to the surface and is effective up to 15’ away from where it’s mounted. It’s lightweight and easy to mount using the ¼-20 tapped holes on the back or can also be held into place with just rigid pipe.
As the temperatures begin to decline, so does the humidity in the air. Drier air results in an increase in static problems. Get ahead of it this year and check out EXAIR’s wide line of various Static Elimination products, all available to ship same-day from stock!
A paper manufacturer was having issues with their measuring equipment (reference photo above). They were producing 6” (152mm) wide crepe paper which is very thin and dusty. As it would pass through the machine, a real-time measurement of basis weight and moisture content was being performed. The basis weight of the sheet was around 14g/m2 which is like facial tissue. The machine was giving false errors in the basis weight measurement. As they opened the device, they noticed dust particles on the optical lens. Because the basis weight was so small, any dust would cause a false reading. They contacted EXAIR to see if we could help with their problem.
With a dry fibrous material like crepe paper, static can be a big issue. Static has a strong force that can cause small fragments to “stick” to surfaces. As you can see in the photo, the paper material is sticking to the sides and lens of the measuring device. For this application, I recommended two pieces of the model 112206 Gen4 Super Ion Air Knife Kits. The Gen4 Super Ion Air Knife is uniquely designed to have two functions; remove static and blow off dust. The Gen4 Ionizing Bar creates both positive and negative ions to remove any type of static charge. The Super Air Knife creates a laminar air stream to carry the ions and also generate an even blowing force to remove the dust particles from the surface. With this combination, it becomes a very effective non-contact way to remove the contamination. This was an important requirement as the crepe paper is very thin and could break very easily. They were able to mount one Super Ion Air Knife above and below the paper in order to blow the dust particles in a counter-flow direction. This would keep the particles from entering the measurement device.
The Super Ion Air Knife Kit includes the Super Air Knife with a Gen4 Ionizing Bar attached. The kit also includes a power supply, filter, regulator, and a shim set. The power supply is specifically designed for the Gen4 Static Eliminators. The Gen4 Super Ion Air Knives use the high voltage from the power supply to generate enough ions to remove static from the paper at a running speed of 49.5 ft/sec (15m/sec). The filter will remove any contamination and liquid water from the compressed air system before it enters the Super Ion Air Knife. This is important to keep the product clean. The shim set is a set of three different shims with a thickness of 0.001” (0.025mm), 0.003” (0.076mm), and 0.004” (0.1mm). They are used to dramatically change the blowing force from the stock shim at 0.002” (0.05mm) thick. Being that the paper was extremely thin, they opted to put the 0.001 (0.025m) thick shim inside the Super Ion Air Knife. With the regulator in the kit, the customer could “dial” in the correct amount of force to keep the machine running optimally without breaking the delicate paper.
When the customer installed the Gen4 Super Ion Air Knives just before the entrance into the measuring device, the air stream was able to carry the ions to neutralize the static and to remove the dust from the paper surface. The system was now able to make accurate measurements without disruptions.
For this customer above, the Gen4 Super Ion Air Knives made their system run accurately and consistently by removing any pesky dust particles. If you have an optical device that needs to stay clean, you can contact an Application Engineer to review your application.
I awoke on Sunday with a bit more pep in my step. It’s been a long and dreary past 7 months (8 or more months for unlucky fans like me), but this day marked another early season NFL Sunday. Wives across the U.S. were collectively rolling their eyes as their husbands perched themselves comfortably on the couch, cold beer in hand, glued to the television screen from dawn ‘til dusk. It’s an exciting time for many, especially us Bengals fans, as the season is ripe with hope and cautious optimism. Fantasy leagues are in full swing, and my apologies to any of you who elected to draft Le’Veon Bell with your 1st pick this year….. However, with the arrival of football season, there is an unwelcome guest that begins to rear its ugly head: static electricity.
As summer ends and moves towards fall and winter, the air becomes much drier. And because moisture in the air can mitigate some static charge, the dry air allows more static to be present. You may be familiar with the unpleasant shock you get from the door knob after walking across a carpeted surface. While this type of shock doesn’t generally cause any sort of problems, in many industrial processes this static electricity can cause a wide range of different issues. These may manifest simply as nuisance shocks to the operator similar to the door knob example, but it can also cause problems with finish quality, materials jamming/tearing, sheet feeding problems, product clinging to itself or rollers, and dust clinging to product.
In many painting applications, particularly in the automotive industry, dust and debris from the ambient environment can settle on the part prior to painting. Just blowing them off with a standard air gun won’t remove all of the particles if they’re statically charged. The static must be removed in order to remove it or it’ll cause imperfections in the finish after painting. This often results in a high amount of rejected parts that must be scrapped out. I recently visited with a company who handles the painting of small interior automotive parts. The parts are housed on shelves in a dusty environment. This dust settles on the parts while they’re waiting to be painted and just using an air gun alone wasn’t taking care of the problem. In this setup, they were rejecting nearly 60% of all painted parts after inspection.
We brought with us a Model 8193 Gen4 Ion Air Gun to replace their regular compressed air gun. The Ion Air Gun is an ergonomic handheld gun that combines low air consumption along with an incredibly fast static decay rate. After taking a reading both before and after with a Model 7905 Static Meter, it was clear that the Ion Air Gun was the right tool for the job. The static eliminating ions were carried to the surface of the part which not only removed the static charge, but also the dust particles clinging to the surface. By replacing their two standard guns with Ion Air Guns, the reject rate was reduced to just under 10% after painting!!
Break out your favorite football team’s gear and enjoy the cooler weather and activities that accompany the coming of Fall, but don’t let static wreak havoc in your processes. EXAIR has a wide range of solutions available that are designed to solve these problems. Give an Application Engineer a call and we’ll be happy to help recommend the best solution. And to all of my fellow Bengals fans out there, WHO DEY!
Another recent application I’ve worked with from our Peruvian Distributor involved mitigating static on the outside of plastic shrink wrap. The customer manufactures a variety of different containers which after produced are then palletized for shipment to the end-users. They must ensure that the containers are adequately wrapped so that any dust/debris from the environment doesn’t come into contact with them and pose a contamination issue. This static charge would also at times cause the roll to jam up in the machine, and if left unnoticed for any length of time created quite a mess to untangle and fix. In addition, that static build-up that was occurring also manifested into painful shocks to the operators.
To wrap them, they’re using an automatic plastic wrapping machine. They wanted some type of a solution that could be permanently affixed to the machine and eliminate the static on the film as it was unrolled. As two non-conductive layers of material are separated (in this case two layers of plastic wrap), a strong static charge is produced. Mounting an Ion Bar on the outside of the stretch film provided an excellent solution for them as they didn’t have to have an operator standing by keeping an eye on it. They weren’t concerned about static on the underside of the material as much as this also allowed for the plastic to adhere better to itself as its wrapped around the pallet. Typically, we’d recommend an Ion Bar or other Static Eliminator on either side of the material, but in this case the static charge there was wanted.
Since we were able to mount the bar within 2” (50mm), it didn’t require a supply of compressed air to carry the ions to the surface of the plastic. As an extra layer of precaution, they also purchased an Ion Air Gun that was used to treat the outsides of the pallets again as they’re removed from the machine. Doing so has now prevented them from having to inspect and re-wrap pallets as needed. Since some runs may span over several days, there were times that they had to re-wrap products more than once as the dust build up was not acceptable to their customer. They estimated that 40-50% of the pallets had to be re-wrapped at least once, taking anywhere from 5-10 mins each after accounting for removing the old wrap, placing it back into the machine and re-wrapping.
With a wide variety of Static Eliminators available from stock, both with and without a compressed air requirement, EXAIR has a solution for your static problems. As we move into the cooler and dryer months of the year (If this hot summer ever ends), static becomes much more of an issue. Don’t wait until it becomes a serious problem and get in touch with an Application Engineer today!