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

When to Use a Receiver Tank for a Compressed Air Application

Recently, I worked with a production engineer at a Tier 1 supplier for the auto industry.  An upcoming project was in the works to install a new line to produce headlight lenses.  As a part of the process, there was to be a “De-static / Blow-off” station, where a shuttle system would bring a pair of the parts to a station where they would be blown off and any static removed prior to being transferred to a painting fixture and sent off for painting.  For best results, the lenses were to be dust and lint free and have no static charge, ensuring a perfect paint result.

The customer installed a pair of 18″ Gen4 Super Ion Air Knives, to provide coverage of the widest 16″ lens assembly, that were staged in pairs.

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The Super Ion Air Knife Kit, and Everything that is Included.

The customer was limited in compressed air supply volume in the area of the plant where this process was to occur. 50 SCFM of 80 PSIG was the expected air availability at peak use times, which posed a problem –  the Super Ion Air Knives would need up to 105 SCFM if operated at 80 PSIG.  A further review of the design parameters for the process revealed that the system needed to blow air for only 4 seconds and would be off for 25 seconds to meet the target throughput.

This scenario lends itself perfectly to the use of a Receiver Tank.  Running all of the design numbers into the calculations, showed that the 60 Gallon Receiver Tank we offer, would allow for a 20 second run-time, and require 13.1 seconds to refill.  These figures were well within the requires times, and would allow for the system to work as needed, without having to do anything to the compressed air supply system.

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60 Gallon Receiver Tank

The moral of the story is – if you have a process that is intermittent, and the times for and between blow-off, drying, or cooling allows, a Receiver Tank can be used to allow you to get the most of your available compressed air system.

Note – Lee Evans wrote an easy to follow blog that details the principle and calculations of Receiver Tanks, and it is worth your time to read here.

If you would like to talk about any of the EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air® Products, feel free to contact EXAIR and myself or one of our Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.

Brian Bergmann
Application Engineer

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Twitter: @EXAIR_BB

Basics of Static Electricity

Here in the Northern Hemisphere, we are in the middle of winter and that means extremely dry air, and frequent shocks when reaching for a door knob after walking across a carpeted surface.  While a shock is mildly uncomfortable and can be annoying to us, the presence of static electricity in an industrial manufacturing process can be much more problematic.

Problems that static cause range from operator discomfort to increased downtime to quality issues.  Dust can cling to product, product can cling to itself, rollers, frames, or conveyors. Materials may tear, jam, curl and sheet fed items can stick and mis-feed. Hazardous sparks and shocks can occur, possibly damaging sensitive electronics.

EXAIR has put together a useful tool, the Basics of Static Electricity white paper with Interactive Regions to help a person learn more about static.

Basics of Static Electricity

 

Topics covered include Electron Theory, Causes of Static Electricity, Triboelectric Series chart, and Types of Static Generation.  Also, the white paper covers the areas of How to Control Static Charge Buildup, Determining the Source of the Static Buildup, Eliminating or Minimizing the Source Causing the Buildup, and Treating Static Buildup.

The Treating Static Buildup is a comprehensive review of the EXAIR Static Elimination products and how each technology is best applied to different processes and applications.

To receive your copy of the Basics of Static Electricity white paper, click the photo above or the link here.

If you would like to talk about static electricity or any of the EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air® Products, feel free to contact EXAIR and myself or one of our Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.

Brian Bergmann
Application Engineer

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Twitter: @EXAIR_BB

EXAIR’s Super Ion Air Knife Eliminates Static

One of the best ways, in industry, to generate a static charge is to roll or unroll non-conductive materials such as polymer films, plastic sheet, etc. It’s common to see static charges well in excess of 10,000 volts in such operations, like the one I discussed with a customer recently.

The separation of the non-conductive surfaces (like when this plastic film is unrolled) is capable of generating an incredible amount of static charge. Here are two examples showing 12,400 and 16,900 volts.

One of the best ways, in industry, to dissipate a static charge is to use ionized air.  There are different methods of doing this; one of the most popular is to effect a Corona discharge, via a high voltage, low amperage electric current.  This is precisely what EXAIR’s Static Eliminators provide: a Corona discharge produces a bulk of both (+) and (-) ions in the enormous volume of high velocity air flow generated.  When these (+) and (-) ions flow onto a surface charged with (-) and (+) ions, they cancel each other out, leaving a net neutral charge.  Static, eliminated!

THE best way to accomplish this is the EXAIR Super Ion Air Knife.

From small bottles to wide films, EXAIR Super Ion Air Knives come in a variety of lengths to meet the needs of most any static dissipation application.

By combining an Ionizing Bar with a Super Air Knife, as Super Ion Air Knife provides rapid static elimination AND blow off of any dust, chips, or debris that was being statically held.  The laminar curtain of ionized air not only maximizes the rate of static dissipation, but is also ideal for stripping/sweeping away any debris, leaving a clean, static-free surface.  No more jamming, tearing, nuisance shocks to operators, dust attraction, or any of the other host of problems associated with static electricity.

The ionized air flow can be precisely regulated to whatever level it takes to get the job done.  At 100psig, the powerful, high velocity blast will dissipate 5,000 volts of static charge in 0.18 seconds.  If the material is fragile, or if that kind of air flow might disrupt the process, it’s not a big deal…even at 5psig supply pressure, that same 5,000 volts is dissipated in 0.40 seconds.  That’s how it works on the plastic roll above – with just a whisper of ionized air flow from a Super Ion Air Knife, they consistently reduce the resultant static charge to less than 400 volts…far below the threshold for the nuisance shocks they wanted to avoid.

They’re on the shelf in lengths from 3 inches to 9 feet long, and we can make custom lengths in three days after receipt of an order.  The 115/230VAC GEN4 Power Supplies are available with 2 or 4 outlets, to energize any 2 or 4 EXAIR GEN4 Static Eliminators.

Versatile. Efficient. Effective. Quiet. Safe.  And, readily available.  If you’d like to discuss a static problem, give me a call.

Calibration – Keep Your Meters True

EXAIR offers meters to measure the level of physical parameters such as sound and static. Each meter has sensitive electrical circuitry and a periodic calibration is recommended to ensure the meter readings are tried and true.

The model 9104 Digital Sound Level Meter is an easy to use instrument that measures and monitors the sound level pressure in a wide variety of industrial environments. The source of loud noises can be quickly identified so that corrective measures can be taken to keep sound levels at or below OSHA maximum allowable exposure limits.

The sound meter comes from the factory with an NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) certificate of accuracy and calibration.  As a good practice, EXAIR recommends a yearly calibration of the instrument, and we offer a service that calibrates the unit to the same NIST standards and provide a written report of the calibration.

The model 7905 Static Meter allows easy one-hand static measurements.  It is useful in both locating sources of high static charge and checking the reduction of static after treatment with an EXAIR Static Elimination product.  The unit is sensitive and responsive, and indicates the the surface polarity of objects up to +/- 20 kV when measured from 1″ away.

It is also recommended that the Static Meter be calibrated on a yearly basis.  EXAIR offers (3) levels of calibration service.  The first two provide calibration in accordance with MIL Standards using accepted procedures and standards traceable to NIST.  The third calibration service conforms to the same Mil Standard, as well as ISO/IEC standards.

Annual calibration service of your EXAIR Digital Sound and Static Meter, along with proper care and storage, will keep your meter performing tried and true for many years, providing accurate and useful measurements.

To initiate a calibration service, give us a call and an Application Engineer will issue an Returned Good number, and provide instructions on how to ship the meter to EXAIR.

If you have questions regarding calibration services for your meters or would like to talk about any EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air® Product, feel free to contact EXAIR and myself or one of our Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.

Brian Bergmann
Application Engineer

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Stretch Wrap Static Solution

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.

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Stretch Wrap Operation

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.

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Ionizing Bars Treating Top and Bottom Surfaces

The Ionizing Bar quickly dissipates a strong static charge as shown in the chart below.

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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.

Brian Bergmann
Application Engineer

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Find us on the Web
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Twitter: @EXAIR_BB

Static Can Become A Big Issue With Winter Approaching

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.

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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.

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