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.
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.
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.
Recently a customer called in to EXAIR to discuss a static issue in a stretch wrap process in the plant. Stretch wrap is a highly stretchable plastic film. The elastic recovery keeps the wrapped load tightly bound. The most common stretch wrap material is a linear low-density polyethylene or LLDPE. The combination of the stretching of the plastic film and the sliding of the film on the cardboard boxes as it is being wrapped causes a build up of static. This static can cause serious havoc and issues in the process including personnel shocks, zapping counters and other sensors causing failures, and preventing marking systems from delivering good information on to the stratch wrap.
The discussion started with minimum and maximum load sizes and how to design a system that would work with all configurations and be as flexible as possible. We spoke of dimensions and where we could we could mount on 3 sides, and so forth.
Then came the question that we invariably get to and that is ‘what issue does the static cause and how does it affect the rest of the process?’ The answer here simple, ‘an operator has to write a code number on the side and affix a label, and in doing so, receives a shock.’ When it was determined that only a small section of one side of the load needed to be treated, the solution was simple. We proposed an 18″ Ionizing Bar and Power Supply. Because the machine had a fixed datum, all loads would pass within 1-2″ of a vertically installed Ionizing Bar, so no adjustment is needed for different load sizes.
The Ionizing Bar quickly dissipates a strong static charge as shown in the chart below.
EXAIR offers many systems for total static control. When static is a problem on moving webs, sheet stock, three dimensional parts, extrusions or packaging, EXAIR has a solution.
To discuss your application and how an EXAIR Static Eliminator would help out, feel free to contact EXAIR and one our Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.
Many automotive parts are made of plastic, and with nonconductive materials, static electricity can become a big problem, especially in cooler climates.
A customer with whom I spoke recently assembles instrumentation clusters for vehicles. The assembly process started by using a regular compressed air gun to blow the surfaces clean before assembly. The operator would place a polycarbonate applique onto a lighting fixture. Then a clear polycarbonate cover would go over both parts. To complete the cluster assembly, an ultrasonic welder would weld the plastic studs around the outside edge and seal the parts together. This completed the assembly process. However, during inspection, they started to notice more visual defects after the welding process. The cause was debris that became lodged between the applique and the clear cover. The debris was still present even after blowing. If the debris wasn’t cleared prior to welding, the entire assembly would have to be scrapped due to the visual defect. The customer knew about EXAIR from previous projects and so decided to get help from us again to solve this expensive reject situation.
Initially, blowing the plastic components with regular compressed air before assembling and welding worked well, but then they started seeing an increase in the reject rate. I came to find out that they were located in Michigan. So I asked the customer about the weather there recently. They indicated that was getting cooler as we begin to head into Fall and Winter. As cooler weather is among us, static can be generated much easier because cool air cannot hold as much moisture. And with less moisture, which aids to eliminate a static charge, the likelihood that static will generate goes up. Once static is generated on plastic components, dust and debris likes to stick to the surface. Static charges are very strong, and even with blowing compressed air, the debris can still cling to edges or even “jump” to another location. This was a manual operation and they needed to remove the static from the surface in order to eliminate the debris from the assembly.
I recommended the model 8493 Ion Air Gun Kit. It combines static removal capability with a blowing force that one would normally associate with a compressed air blowgun. The kit includes the Ion Air Gun, power supply, filter and regulator. The Ion Air Gun is designed with a 5:1 amplification ratio; minimizing compressed air usage and maximizing ionized airflow. With the regulator, you can control the force from a “blast” to a “breeze”. The ionized airflow eliminates the static from the plastic surfaces, allowing the airstream to remove any dirt and debris. They replaced their current air gun with the EXAIR Ion Air Gun, and the rejection rate decreased to the acceptable levels that they were seeing in the summer months.
Being that the winter months are approaching, you may want to re-evaluate your processes. If you are working with non-conductive materials like plastic, wood, glass, or textiles, EXAIR has a variety of Static Eliminators that can save you from getting headaches, losing money, and saving time. With our customer above, they weren’t able to get ahead of the static issue, and it created many problems until they investigated using EXAIR Static Eliminators. Get rid of your static headaches by using an EXAIR Static Eliminator today.
Now that the air is cooling and the humidity is dropping, you may often experience the phenomena of static electricity, and the resultant shock when touching something metal. As a child, you may have learned about static electricity by rubbing a balloon on your head and then seeing it stick to the wall. What is the science behind static electricity?
All materials are made up of atoms, which have a positively charged core called the nucleus surrounded by a cloud of negatively charged electrons. Each material is different, and in some types of materials the positive nucleus has a very strong pull on the electrons while in other materials the pull is very weak. If we were to put a strong pull material in contact with a weaker pull material, atoms from the weak pull material will migrate, and when the materials are separated, additional electrons will remain with the strong pull material. Due to the overall increase in electron quantity, the material becomes negatively charged and the other material becomes positively charged. If the materials are rubbed together, the opportunities for the electron migration increases, and thus more electrons are exchanged.
Electrons build up more easily in dry conditions. When the air has humidity, static build up is less common because a very thin layer of water molecules coat most surfaces, which allows the electrons to move more freely and make most materials conductive and static free.
In some cases, static electricity can be a good thing – laser printers and photocopiers use static electricity to transfer ink from the drum to the paper. Also, some power plants and chemical factories use static electricity to remove pollutants in a process that takes place within the smokestack.
But generally when EXAIR gets involved, it is because the static electricity is causing an unwanted build up of static charge that affects a manufacturing process. The results of a static charge imbalance can result in a shock to an operator, materials sticking together, poor print quality, sensor or counter malfunctions, bad surface finish, or any number of other problems.
EXAIR offers systems for total static control, such as the Super Ion Air Knife and Ionizing Bars for wide applications such as paper, film and plastic webs, the Super Ion Air Wipe for narrow, continuously moving materials such as wire, tube, or extrusions. Also offered are the handheld Ion Air Gun for use on three dimensional parts prior to assembly, packaging painting or finishing. Other options include the Ion Air Cannon for limited space or remote mounting applications, Ion Air Jet for tight spaces and concentrated airflow, and the Ionizing Point to provide close distance and accurate static removal.
To discuss your static elimination concerns , feel free to contact EXAIR and one our Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.
There is an interesting poem by American writer and poet, James Whitcomb Riley that paints a great picture of what fall feels and looks like on the farm. Following is just the first paragraph of his poem but it conveys his message with such elegance:
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock,
And you hear the kyouck and gobble of the struttin’ turkey-cock.
And the clackin’ of the guineys, and the cluckin’ of the hens,
And the rooster’s hallylooyer as he tiptoes on the fence;
O, It’s then’s the times a feller is a-feelin’ at his best,
With the risin’ sun to greet him from a night of peaceful rest,
As he leaves the house, bareheaded, and goes out to feed the stock,
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder’s in the shock.
In Cincinnati, they are predicting frost on the pumpkin this week. That’s a sure sign that colder temps are coming and with the colder climate returning, so does our old friend static electricity. And with static comes all the production problems that are associated with it. Static electricity will discharge to operators which makes them quite un-comfortable and can be dangerous. Discharges to sensors and computers cause malfunction. Jamming of feed mechanisms is never fun and neither is a label machine that refuses to cooperate.
So, if you are in the Northern Hemisphere like we are, get ready for the cold weather and the low humidity by placing EXAIR Static Eliminators into your processes.
The Ion Air Gun is a great all around performer for applications that require a hand manipulation to get the job done.
The Super Ion Air Knife is better for applications that need a wide area to be static free from a mountable solution.
The Ion Air Cannon is a wonderful, utility static eliminator that has great flexibility to be mounted in any position.
The Super Ion Air Wipe is a great way to eliminate static on the outside surfaces of any hose, wire or cable before ink jet printing such as date codes.
The Ionizing Point is a great way to eliminate static build up within airflows moving through duct work, conveyors and similar closed systems with air movement.
If you want your fall and winter to be as pleasant as the description in Mr. Riley’s poem, consider EXAIR Static Eliminators. You won’t be disappointed.
Winter is coming. The humidity will drop. Electrostatic discharges will rise. We will all be shocked again, and again – it’s a reality of manufacturing processes in the winter and can cause such a nuisance.
Static Electricity is created by materials such as paper, plastic or textiles rubbing, peeling, or sliding across a surface. Materials normally contain and equal number of positive and negative charges. As the two surfaces come into contact electrons will transfer from one material to another. If these surfaces are not electrically grounded, they will gather a charge. For instance, if you rub your sock across the carpeted floor before you reach out and touch your kid sister over the holidays, you may be able to shock her enough to take her eyes off of Instagram. This is the same phenomenon that you can also see in lightning storms on a meteorological scale.
Electrostatic discharges may only be a nuisance to you and me as we climb in and out of cars, open door knobs, or touch our computers, but for a number of industries the rise in static will make producing quality products in a timely manner significantly more difficult. Printing, packaging and slitting operations can be stopped or ruined by static. Some of these applications require a very long static eliminators between 60 and 108 inches.
For wide web applications EXAIR builds Long Ion Bars up to 108″ in length. These bars can clean up printing errors caused by static in large inkjet printers. They can eliminate static before or after a slitting operation. Also, they can eliminating static before painting or staining. These bars will be invaluable to the paper, textile, film or plastic industry as winter continues to lower the humidity.
I recently spoke with one of my colleagues at our Finland distribution partner, Projecta Oy. He had an application for static elimination on a large paper producing machine. He has applied our Ion Bar to paper machines in the past to eliminate static. In this case though, the line speed was more than double that of his previous application at about 1450 meters per minute. He was not sure if he could apply EXAIR Static Eliminator to the affected machine or not, simply due to the line speed.
Actually, use of a Super Ion Air Knife, or rather a few of them (due to machine width) is right in line with what is recommended. When the application involves a high-speed, moving web there is the issue of a boundary layer of air that moves along adjacent to the web which can affect the static elimination result if not approached properly. The boundary layer can prevent static eliminating ions from reaching the surface of the statically charged web and must be overcome to be effective.
A Super Ion Air Knife, with it’s powerful laminar air flow, is the right choice on a web-based application like this one. Setting the unit up so that it blows parallel to the web but in the direction opposite the web travel creates a counter airflow which disrupts the boundary layer and allows the static eliminating ions to come into contact with the moving web to neutralize the charges present.
There is also a secondary benefit in that the Super Ion Air Knife, by being mounted in such a way, enables a much longer time in contact between the ions and the charged surface. This has the net effect of being able to reduce the static charge down to a much lower level before the web passes this area. Since slowing the web speed down is not an option in these cases, the only way you can effectively create dwell time within the ionized airflow is to extend the distance over which the web is treated and using the Super Ion Air Knives in this way allows the user to do that.