Understanding Static Electricity

Have you ever walked across the room to pet your cat or dog and got a shock instead? Ever taken off your shirt on a dry winter day and had a “hair raising” experience? How about rubbing a balloon on your shirt and sticking it to the wall? This is static electricity! Before we can understand Static Electricity we need to know the basics of atoms.

All physical objects are made up of atoms. Inside an atom are protons, electrons and neutrons. The protons are positively (+) charged, the electrons are negatively (-) charged, and the neutrons are neutral.

Therefore, all things are made up of charges. Opposite charges attract each other (negative to positive). Like (similar) charges repel each other (positive to positive or negative to negative). Most of the time positive and negative charges are balanced in an object, which makes that object neutral.

Static electricity is the result of an imbalance between negative and positive charges of an object. These charges can build up on the surface of an object until they find a way to be released or discharged.

The rubbing of certain materials against another can transfer negative charges, or electrons. For example, if you drag your sock on the carpet, your body collects extra electrons. The electrons cling to your body until they can be released. As you reach and touch your furry friend, a shock occurs. This is just the surplus electrons being released from you to your unsuspecting pet.

Static

And what about that “hair raising” experience? As you remove your shirt, electrons are transferred from the shirt to your hair, creating the hair raising experience! Remember, objects with the same charge repel each other. Because they have the same charge, your hair will stand on end. Your hair is trying to get as far away from each other as possible!

When you rub a balloon against your shirt and stick it to a wall, you are adding a surplus of electrons (negative charges) to the surface of the balloon. The wall is now more positively charged than the balloon. As the two come in contact, the balloon will stick because of the rule that opposites attract (positive to negative).

When you relate these too your manufacturing environment and we talk about dust, hair, and fines sticking to your product then EXAIR has the answer for you with our GEN 4 Static Eliminating products. EXAIR Static Eliminators (also called ionizers) can eliminate the charge. These shockless ionizers are electronically powered to produce a bulk of positive and negative ions. The charged surface attracts the appropriate number of positive or negative ions from the ionizer to become neutral or balanced.

If you have a situation where static charges are causing problems with a product finish, print quality, sensor readings, etc. and would like some assistance solving the problem please call EXAIR and ask for one of our knowledgeable Application Engineers to discuss the right product for your application.

Eric Kuhnash
Application Engineer
E-mail: EricKuhnash@exair.com
Twitter: Twitter: @EXAIR_EK

UL Certifications Explained

If a product or device carries one of these markings, it’s been evaluated for safety by top professionals in the field.

You probably walked by many items in a department store that had a UL mark, and not even noticed.   What does this mark mean?  The Underwriters Laboratories (UL) is a third-party organization that verifies that products are safe for use.  They have been around for more than 100 years, and they are very important for checking the design of electrical systems.  In order to receive the UL stamp, it has to pass stringent tests for conformance and safety, and they register the items on a database for users to review.  EXAIR uses this service for our products.  EXAIR stands behind our products with the Underwriters Laboratories recognition.  I will go over the products that EXAIR manufacturers and the type of UL marks that we have. 

There are three main types of UL marks; UL Listed, UL Recognized, and UL Listed Classified. 

UL Listed:  All EXAIR Cabinet Coolers are UL Listed!  It is important to note that EXAIR was the first to ensure that your electrical panel’s NEMA rating remained when using our Cabinet Cooler Systems.  Our products underwent numerous tests and scenarios to verify that an operator will be safe during normal operations.   The tests for the Cabinet Cooler Systems included environmental exposure for the given NEMA type along with many other tests.  When you place a Cabinet Cooler onto your electrical panel, the degree of protection is not affected.  Our Cabinet Cooler Systems come in NEMA 12, NEMA 4, and NEMA 4X.  They are designed to keep the electrical components inside cool; stopping unnecessary shutdowns from excessive heat.  With the UL listed mark, the Underwriters Laboratories have deemed these products safe for operation throughout the US and Canada per their standards.  

UL Recognized:  The Gen4 Static Eliminators and Power Supplies are UL Recognized.  UL Recognition is most often seen with components, in a form of power supplies or circuit boards, that are used to power other parts. UL Recognition ensures the safety and efficiency of machinery used by operators. In other words, it certifies that a component within a larger instrument meets UL standards.  The Gen4 Power Supplies are used to generate ions with our Gen4 Static Eliminators.  These ions will remove any type of static that can cause jams, misalignment, and harmful shocks.  We offer two types of Power Supplies, a two port and a 4 port, to operate eight different styles of Static Eliminators.  And together, you can make sure that your operators are safe when using our products to remove static nuisances.    

UL Listed Classified: The UL Classified certification means that the product has been evaluated, tested and passed the test for being safe when installed within classified areas. This includes a large range of hazardous locations which according to OSHA is defined as an explosive atmosphere due to the presence of flammable gases (Class I), combustible dusts (Class II), or ignitable fibers and flyings (Class III).  Unlike the Cabinet Coolers above, the HazLoc Cabinet Cooler went through a more stringent test to operate in all classified areas.  Used with a purge system, the HazLoc Cabinet Cooler keep the electronics from faulting due to over-temp. 

Here are our registration number with UL for you to review:

Cabinet Cooler Systems:                                        E182292

Static Neutralizing Equipment:                             E138256

Hazardous Locations Cabinet Cooler Systems:     E498880

It is widely known that machines are the lifeblood of any business. Taking steps to protect your investment and your operators that use the equipment is essential for long-term success of a company.  The UL certification will give you that peace of mind.  Lastly, since UL is a third-party service, you can be confident that the UL label is a true sign of safety and longevity within electrical systems.  If you would like to discuss more about our UL listed products for removing static or cooling electronics, an Application Engineer at EXAIR will be happy to help you. 

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

Gen4 Super Ion Air Knife Reduces Shocks and Jamming in Converting Application

When an atom gains or loses an electron from its outer shell, it becomes electrically imbalanced. A material’s propensity to either gain or lose an electron is “ranked” on a list known as the Triboelectric Series.

The buildup of static electricity is a common issue for many converting applications. This type of static generation is known as detachment static build up. Detachment static build up occurs when a material is in contact with another and these two surfaces separate from one another. During the separation, not all of the electrons are able to get back to their original molecule. This results in an instantaneous static charge as the electrons are transferred from one object to another in accordance with the Triboelectric Series. Due to the large surface area in most detachment static buildup scenarios, the amount of static generated is typically far greater than contact static buildup. Detachment static buildup occurs on many converting applications as material separates from a bulk roll.

This typically occurs at a high rate of speed and the large surface area across the width of the roll presents an ideal situation for static buildup. This charge can cause the material to stick to itself and not come off the roll properly, creating issues down the line. It can also result in painful shocks to operators, which not only presents a safety hazard but also negatively impacts productivity and morale.

I recently worked with a customer that was experiencing some issues with their converting process for a line of candy packaging. The high static charge was discharging to their operators along while periodically causing the machine to jam up and need to be stopped, cut, and re-fed. Using the Model 7905 Static Meter, they were measuring charges of over 31 kV on the material.

The solution was to install a Model 112024 Super Ion Air Knife above and below the web to saturate the material with positive and negative ions. The knife carries the ions to the surface of the material and ensures the charge is neutralized immediately upon contact. After implementing a knife above and below the material, the charge was neutralized and also stopped the nuisance shocks experienced by operators nearby.

Each time the machine jammed it would take approximately 30 minutes to fix. This issue was occurring anywhere from 3-4x per day and the machine ran 24/7. By simply implementing the Super Ion Air Knives they gained up to 2hrs more run time by eliminating the presence of static in the process.

Don’t let static continue to create headaches for your personnel. Get yourself a permanent solution from EXAIR and ensure your processes run smoothly.

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

EXAIR’s Gen4 Ionizing Point: Compact Static Neutralization

Static electricity will be more prevalent under certain environmental conditions like low humidity. It will also appear on applications which have friction, separation, or insulating materials. Luckily, EXAIR has a wide-range of Static Eliminators that are designed specifically to address static issues in a wide variety of industries and conditions. Materials such as paper, plastic, or textiles will normally contain an equal number of both positive and negative ions. When subjected to friction, this balance can be disturbed if the atoms gain or lose an electron.

The static charge will then exert a force on nearby charged objects or grounded conductors (including personnel). These issues can also manifest in the form of dust clinging to product, product clinging to itself, rollers, machine beds or frames, materials jamming, and sheet feeding problems. Our Gen4 Static Eliminators have undergone independent laboratory tests to certify that they meet the rigorous safety, health, and environmental standards of the USA, European Union and Canada that are required to attain the CE and UL marks.

EXAIR manufactures two products in our Static Eliminator line that do not require any compressed air to operate, the Ionizing Point and the Ionizing Bar. Our Gen4 Ionizing Point is a compact, single point ionizer ideal for a range of winding, rewinding, or slitting operations. It can also be mounted through a duct to neutralize static charges due to moving air or materials.

The shockless Gen4 Ionizing Point delivers a high concentration of positive and negative ions for rapid static decay. It is capable of neutralizing static on the surface of your part or material within 2”. In this image below, a series of Gen4 Ionizing Points are being used to neutralize static from a playing card slitting operation.

The Ionizing Point is just one of our many Static Eliminators available from stock. If you’re experiencing static in any of your applications or processes, EXAIR has a solution available ready to ship. Give us a call and we’ll be happy to help point you in the right direction.

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