NFL is Back! But So is Static……

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View of Paul Brown Stadium

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.

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Automotive parts after painting

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!!

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Model 8193 Gen4 Ion Air Gun

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!

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

 

Bengals photo courtesy of  Nunya Biz via Flickr Creative Commons License

Eliminating Static On An Automatic Stretch Film Machine

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.

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Automatic Packaging Machine

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.

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Gen4 Ion Bars without compressed air requirement

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!

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

Static, Dirt, and Plastic Tubes

Plastic Tube Blow-off, old method. 

A facility was manufacturing plastic laminated tubes used for packaging that was roughly 1” (25mm) in diameter by 6” (152mm) long.   At the end of the process before bulk packaging their tubes for customers, they would have to blow out the tubes to remove any dirt and debris.  (Reference photo above).  They were having issues with cleaning the tubes completely.

In their process, an operator would stack the plastic tubes into a form that held roughly 750 tubes.  Once filled, the operator would use a 6mm plastic tube on the end of an air hose to blow compressed air into each tube.   They noticed that some remnants still remained inside the tubes.  They tried increasing the air pressure, but they still had rejects for debris.  They contacted EXAIR to see if we could help.

When you speak about plastic components, static can be a real nuisance.  Static can be generated by sliding, stacking, rubbing parts together.  Once static starts to build, dust and debris like to stick to the surface; and depending on the strength of the static voltage, the force can be very strong.  Even by blowing compressed air to clean, the debris can still cling to edges or even “jump” to another location.  If the static can be removed, the particles will no longer be able to “stick” to the surface from static charges.

EXAIR offers a variety of Gen4 Static Eliminators that are compressed air assisted.  For this application, I recommended the model 8493 Gen4 Ion Air Gun Kit.   It combines a static-removal ionizer with an ergonomically-designed compressed air gun.  The kit also includes a power supply, filter and regulator.  The power supply is able to create both positive and negative ions inside the Ion Air Gun.  This can eliminate any type of static.  The efficient design of the Ion Air Gun allows for a 5:1 amplification ratio; minimizing compressed air usage while maximizing ionized airflow.  Together, the ionized airflow eliminates the static from the plastic surfaces, and the air stream will remove the dirt and debris.  With a regulator, you can control the force from a “breeze” to a “blast”, and with the filter, you can keep the supply of compressed air clean.  They replaced their 6mm blow-off device with the EXAIR Gen4 Ion Air Gun, and their process improved immensely.  While being able to remove the dirt and debris from the tubes more efficiently, the Gen4 Ion Air Gun was able to use less compressed air by 50% (saving money), lower the noise level by 10 dBA (no PPE required), and reduce the cycle time from 20 minutes to 7 minutes.

EXAIR has a variety of Gen4 Static Eliminators that can save you from getting headaches, losing money, and saving time.  If you use plastic component in your application, static will be a potential issue.  If you would like to eliminate it, please contact an Application Engineer at EXAIR.

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

Out with the Old, in with the NEW!

Like many of us, my household is in the full swing of outdoor projects and tasks. Entering into our second summer at our new house, we still have quite the laundry list of things we’d like to accomplish this year. Currently, I’m working on replacing an old privacy fence in my backyard and also having a new driveway poured. The old fence has been up since the house was built in 1973 and the driveway has without a doubt seen better days.

Last year we introduced the last few products within our NEW Gen4 Static Eliminator product line.

EXAIR PR Hero Images

Some features of the new Gen4 Static Eliminator include:

  • UR recognized power supply and products. The unit is constructed of UL Recognized components that have been independently tested to meet safety standards set forth by UL
  • CE Compliance available for both the power supplies and all ionizers. The previous rendition of Static Eliminators included CE Compliance for the Power Supply only.
  • Single-wire, integrated ground design on the high voltage cable. The grounding is integrated into the steel conduit, protecting the inner cable.
  • Stainless steel connectors on the Power Supply. This replaces the previous plastic connections and dramatically enhances durability.
  • Replaceable parts on the Power Supply: An integrated fuse (0.1 amp 240V, fast blow), power switch, and modular power cable.
  • Power Supply voltage selection: With the turn of a switch, the Power Supply is now suitable for use with either 115 or 230 VAC.
  • Armored high voltage cable, built to withstand tough industrial environments and resist cuts and abrasions.
  • Enhanced performance, Ion Bars are now capable of eliminating a static charge at a distance 2x that of the older versions without a compressed air supply.

No matter the application, EXAIR has a Static Eliminator ready to tackle the job! If you have an older model Static Eliminator, be prepared to make the upgrade to the new Gen4 Static Eliminators. With the increased durability and enhanced performance that the Gen4 models offer, it’s time to bid adieu to the old-style Ionizers. Give us a call and upgrade your Static Eliminators today!

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

Gen4 Super Ion Air Knife Removes Fibrous Material from Conveyor Belt

Conveying System

A factory was having some issues in losing plastic material underneath and around their conveyor system.   The conveyor moved plastic fibers from an extrusion process into a hopper.   The conveyor belt was made of a rubber material that was 17” wide, and the plastic fiber was made from HDPE.  As the conveyor went around the end to dump the fibers into the hopper, some of it would stick to belt and sides of the conveying system.  Some fiber material would fall onto the ground which would require cleaning and loss of material.  They attempted to place a brush flap against the conveyor belt to knock the material off, but it was not very effective.  The brush flap actually generated more static as well as created wear marks on the belt from contact.  The customer sent a picture of the problem and wondered if EXAIR could help them with this application.

Gen4 Super Ion Air Knife Kit

With plastic fibrous material and rubber belts, the two non-conductive surfaces will generate static.  Static can have a strong force that will cause the material to “stick” to surfaces.  The higher the static voltage, the stronger the force.  As you can see in the photo, the material is sticking to the belt as well as to the sides.  For this application,  I recommended the model 112224 Gen4 Super Ion Air Knife Kit.  The Gen4 Super Ion Air Knife is uniquely designed to have two functions in this application.  The Super Ion Air Knife uses 40 parts of ambient air with every one part of compressed air, making it very efficient.  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 to remove any type of static charge.  With this combination, it becomes a very effective non-contact scraper to remove the fibers and not wear on the conveyor belt.  The model 112224 kit includes the 24” (610 mm) long Super Air Knife with a Gen4 Ionizing Bar attached; power supply, filter, regulator, and a shim set.

The reason for the 24” (610 mm) extended length was to keep the fibers from collecting to the outside area of the conveyor (as shown in the photo above).  With the compact and lightweight design, it could easily be positioned below the conveyor.  As the fiber material would come around the conveyor, the ions carried by the air stream would neutralize the static as well as remove the material from the belt and the sides.  When the customer mounted the Gen4 Super Ion Air Knife in place, the plastic fibers dropped into the hopper and not onto the floor underneath.

Spillage is wasteful, costly, and time consuming to cleanup.  If you have excess waste from your conveying system, EXAIR will have the product to help you.  For the customer above, the Gen4 Super Ion Air Knife made it possible to claim more material, removed the hazard from buildup on the floor, and reduced cleaning time.  You can contact an Application Engineer to review your application.

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

 

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”.

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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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Levitating Spoons – is it Magic or Static Electricity?

I remember as a young lad watching a magician making a dollar bill disappear or a paper clip levitate.  The power of illusions.

An injection molding company was having issues in removing their parts from a tool.  This company made plastic spoons in a multi-cavity tool.  During the start of the operation, they noticed that some of the spoons (reference photo below)  were “sticking” to the mold surface.  Some spoons looked like they spoon were “defying gravity” .  It was not an illusion of levitation, but static.

Static charges can dramatically slow down production rates with plastic materials.  In this instance, the operator had to remove the spoons manually prior to restarting another cycle on the machine.  They measured roughly 30% of the time that they would have to stop their operation.  To counteract the parts sticking, they attempted to mount a pipe with drill holes above the tool.  They tried to use the force from the compressed air to remove any stragglers that remained in the tool.  This is a simple and easy-to-do method; but with this type of blow-off, it is very loud, inefficient and not real effective.

They only saw a slight improvement in part removal as they still had to stop roughly 28% of the time.  The bottom portion of the cavities still had spoons remaining in the tool.  With the amount of money being lost from slow production rates and the possibility of tool damage, they decided to contact EXAIR.

Spoon not falling from tool

In today’s injection molding market, tool coatings are commonly used to extend tool life and increase lubricity.  When a buffer is placed between plastic parts and the tool surface, static can be generated and become a real issue.  With the company above, the spoons were sticking in different areas of the tool depending on the static buildup.  If they can neutralize the static charges, then the spoons cannot defy gravity.

I recommended our model 112212 Gen4 Super Ion Air Knife Kit.  The Gen4 Super Ion Air Knife is designed to efficiently blow air and to carry both positive and negative ions to remove any kind of static charge.  For this model, it comes with a 12” (30.5 cm) long Super Air Knife with a Gen4 Ionizing Bar attached.  With the compact and lightweight design, it could easily be positioned above the tool to operate.  The kit also includes a power supply to power the ionizer, a filter to clean the compressed air, a regulator to control the force, and a shim set to modify force changes.  This complete kit had everything required to begin operations to remove static.

The customer only had to attach the unit to a compressed air source.  Once they started using the Gen4 Super Ion Air Knife, the removal rate of parts went to 100%.  As an added benefit, when the drilled pipe was replaced, the noise level dropped as well as the compressed air usage reduced.  By adding an EXAIR Gen4 Super Ion Air Knife to their process, the production rate was now maximized.

Model 112212 Gen4 Super Ion Air Knife

Static within injection molding processes can cause crushed parts, slower production rates, and even more costly; tool damage.  If you believe that static is causing things to “defy gravity”, EXAIR has a great range of Gen4 Static Eliminator products to remove that “magic” force.  And, for the company above, they didn’t have to continually watch their money “disappear”.

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

 

Photo by: Magic Hat by KCADRCCreative Commons CC0.