Protect Your Personnel from Static and Nuisance Shocks

With nonconductive types of materials, static electricity can become a big nuisance.  A blow-molding plant was making 2-liter milk containers.  The containers would move from the blow-molding machine to packaging within a confined conveyor.  At the end, it would align the milk containers in a three by eight matrix.  The stacking station would then push the lot into a large rack.   The cycle would then repeat itself.  The problem that they had was when a milk container would fall out of the rack.  When an operator would retrieve the container, a spark would jump out and shock the operator.  Ouch, that hurts!  Also, if any operator would stand too close to the rack of milk containers, they would also feel the strong zap of static.  Static can jump 1” (25mm) for every 10,000 volts.  Since it was a safety issue, they contacted EXAIR to find a solution. 

Stacking Station

Knowing that non-conductive materials can generate static from rubbing, sliding, and trimming; we wanted to focus on the best area for eliminating the static as it can regenerate.  With this application, we wanted to remove the static just before the milk containers reached the stacking station.  The milk containers were 9” (23cm) tall, and I recommend two pieces of the model 112009 Gen4 Super Ion Air knives and one piece of the model 7960 Gen4 Power Supply.  I recommended for them to place one Super Ion Air Knife on each side of the container to remove the static from the entire surface.  One of the great features about our Gen4 Static Eliminators is the power supplies.  EXAIR offers a 2 port and a 4 port Gen4 Power Supply.  So, you can operate more than one Gen4 Static Eliminator with one power supply.  With the model 7960, a 2-port Gen4 Power Supply, the customer could operate both Super Ion Air Knives with one power supply saving them money. 

112009

When it comes to eliminating static, EXAIR Gen4 Static Eliminators create both positive and negative ions to remove any type of static.  This will eliminate misalignments, jamming, surface debris, and shock to personnel.  As for the containers above, they passed between the Super Ion Air Knives, and the surface was now neutralized.  The stacking station aligned the milk containers and pushed the group into the racks.  Now, if a container did fall out, the operator was able to handle the container without getting shocked.  And for the racks that were sitting in storage, the static “monster” was eliminated to protect the passersby. 

Static

Being that the winter months are approaching, you may want to evaluate some of your processes.  If you are working with non-conductive materials like plastic, paper, rubber, textile; EXAIR has a variety of Gen4 Static Eliminators that can remove the static nuisance.  This will help your company with increased production rates, clean surfaces, and protection from personnel shock.  With our customer above, static was a safety concern, and EXAIR was able to provide a solution.  If you would to discuss your plastic applications and potential static issues, you can contact an Application Engineer at EXAIR.  We will be happy to help. 

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

The NFL (USA Football) and Static Electricity: What Do They Have in Common?

Just this week we embarked on the dreaded end of summer task of closing our pool. While it isn’t as nice to look at once the winter cover comes on, it sure beats skimming leaves out for an hour every day when the water temperature drops below a comfortable swimming temperature. However, as an avid Cincinnati Bengals fan and love for all things football-related, this time of year also brings with it excitement and optimism as we gear up for another NFL season. Times have been rough for Bengals fans (and all Cincinnati sports for that matter), but things are looking up for us in the football world with the arrival of the newfound hope that comes with a 3-1 record.

So, what do Cincinnati Bengals football and static have in common? Both share the same seasons, fall and winter. This time of the year it is not uncommon to feel a slight shock after walking across a carpeted surface and touching a door knob. This little “jolt” is a result of fast-moving electrons leaping from your body to the door knob, or vice versa. As your feet shuffle across the surface of a rug or carpet, your body will either gain or lose electrons. Touching a conductive surface then causes these electrons to leap from one place to another.

If you notice, this happens to occur much more often during colder winter months. The reason that you experience static shocks more frequently during winter is due to the relative humidity. At colder temperatures, air does not hold as much moisture as it does when it’s warm. Even though you’re heating your house to a similar temperature, the air that is being drawn into your home and heated is still the dry cold air containing less moisture.

The amount of moisture in the air is expressed as relative humidity. This value is given as a percentage of water vapor in the air, compared to how much it could hold at that temperature. In conditions of lower relative humidity, static charges build up much easier. When the relative humidity is high, there’s a higher concentration of water molecules present in the air. These water molecules “coat” the surface of the material, allowing electrons to move more freely and form a layer over the material. This layer of water molecules acts like a lubricant, reducing the forces that cause static to generate. There are many applications that static may only pose an issue once the climate changes. 

Regardless of the nature of the application, if you’ve got a static problem, EXAIR has a solution!

To combat static electricity in your processes, EXAIR manufactures a complete line of Static Eliminators. Any of them are available to ship same day from stock to customers in the U.S. with an order placed by 2:00 ET (1:00 ET for same day shipments to Canada). We’re all tired by now of receiving the extremely long lead times for seemingly everything we try to order. That’s not the case here at EXAIR, if you need a solution and FAST give us a call!

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

Video Blog: Eliminating Static in the Printing Industry

While we’re still dealing with the high humidity and heat of summer in much of the US, cooler temperatures and lower humidity is right around the corner. Your home energy bill will certainly thank you as the less humid conditions allow you to turn off your A/C. While that’s great for lowering your bills, it creates a favorable environment for the generation of static electricity.

When the relative humidity is high, there’s a higher concentration of water molecules present in the air. These water molecules “coat” the surface of the material, allowing electrons to move more freely and form a layer over the material. This layer of water molecules acts like a lubricant, reducing the forces that cause static to generate. There are many applications that static may only pose an issue once the climate changes.

Anyone who works in the printing industry is sure to be aware of the types of problems associated with static electricity. One common application for EXAIR’s Static Eliminators is the neutralization of static in sheet-feeding processes.

Check out this demonstration depicting how the Super Ion Air Knife can be used to “float” a stack of material and saturate it with static eliminating ions. The SIAK can be operated at very low pressures to prevent disturbing the process, while still maintaining the effectiveness required to neutralize any static present on the surface of your parts or material.

As we begin to approach fall and winter, make sure you’re prepared to handle any static by speaking with one of our Application Engineers. With a whole line of products designed for neutralizing static, we have a solution available to ship from stock to ensure you’re prepared this year!

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

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