Removing Static From Diaper Absorbent Material

This is where the absorbent material inside a disposable diaper is made

The image above shows one step in the process of disposable diaper manufacturing.  In this step of the process, the absorbent material is ground through a mill on the top of the “bunker” where it falls down a shaft and onto a mesh screen.  Once on the mesh screen, the material is repressed into the proper size and shape for placing into the diapers.

This manufacturer contacted one of our Russian distributors about the application because the milling of the absorbent material was creating static.  This static caused the material to adhere to the walls of the bunker chute and to unevenly distribute onto the mesh.  This unevenness leads to holes in the pressed/shaped absorbent material which translates to a reject rate of ~1 out of every 20 diapers.

An EXAIR Ion Bar

The ideal solution in this case needed to eliminate the static within the chute to allow for proper distribution on the mesh below and proper material placement into the diapers.  An Ion Bar was originally desired by the customer, but material accumulation on the emitter points was a concern so this solution was removed from consideration.

An EXAIR Ion Air Cannon

An Ion Air Cannon, however, was able to provide the desired solution by mounting outside of the chute and feeding a low volume of ionized air to remove the static.  The ionized airflow from the Ion Air Cannon is strong enough to permeate the full volume of the application, but low enough to not disturb the absorbent material within the process. Using an Ion Air Cannon allowed this manufacturer to eliminate defects and wasted materials, increase their throughput, and improve the quality of their products.  Defects dropped from 1/20 diapers to less than 1/1000.

If you have a similar application or similar needs, contact an EXAIR Application Engineer.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer
LeeEvans@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_LE

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

Send me an email
Find us on the Web 
Like us on Facebook
Twitter: @EXAIR_BB

Ion Air Jet Keeps Laser Scanner Lens Clean, Eliminates False Reads

An automobile manufacturer was looking for a solution to keep their laser scanner lens clean in their body welding process. The Automatic Guided Vehicles or “AGV’s” are equipped with a laser safety scanner mounted on the front and back of each vehicle, used to detect any foreign objects in it’s travel path. The scanners are fitted with a polycarbonate protective lens and as the vehicles travel through the system, the lens can build up a static charge, attracting airborne dust and particulate, which results in false readings, shutting down the line.

The current cleaning method involves an operator using a microfiber cloth to manually wipe the lenses clean, and while this does work, with the scanners being mounted roughly 4″ above the floor, this poses some ergonomic concerns for their workers. The customer found EXAIR after looking on the internet for static elimination products and it turns out, they are currently using several of our products in their facility, but he was unsure which product would be suit their needs so he reached out for assistance.

After further reviewing the application with the customer, they explained that each vehicle makes several “scheduled” stops along the route and one of these areas would be selected as the install point. I suggested the customer use (2) of our Ion Air Jet Kits, to clean the lenses. The Ion Air Jet produces a high volume of ionized airflow that can be focused right at the lenses to eliminate the static charge and carry the fines away. The kit includes a filter separator which is going to remove any condensate and/or dirt in the air supply, as well as a pressure regulator. The pressure regulator will allow them to easily adjust the supply pressure to control the outlet flow and velocity so they don’t disrupt other areas in the process.

Additionally, I suggested they use (2) of our EFC – Electronic Flow Control, which features a timing controlled (0.10 seconds to 120 hours) photoelectric sensor as a means to control air usage. As the vehicle enters the blow off area, the sensor will “see” the vehicle, signaling the solenoid valve to open the air line to the jet to blow off the lens. As the vehicle then exits the area, the sensor would again send a signal to close the air supply, so compressed air is only used when needed, reducing operating cost and further automating the process.

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Ion Air Jet Kit, Model # 8494 – includes the Ion Air Jet, Power Supply, Filter and Regulator

If you are experiencing static issues in your process or to see how we might be able to help with your automated system, contact an application engineer for assistance.

Justin Nicholl
Application Engineer
justinnicholl@exair.com
@EXAIR_JN

 

 

Solving Static Problems with an Ion Point

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An Ion Point can provide static elimination with a small footprint and easy installation

I came into the office today to find an interesting application in my inbox.  A small plastic parts manufacturer was facing a problem when sealing their items inside of plastic bags.  The problem arose from an inability to properly place a small strip of glue on the bags, resulting in unwanted glue on the parts and, at times, the exterior of the bags.  What should have been a small strip of glue ended up as a random spread of adhesive due to a static charge on the plastic bags. So, they contacted EXAIR for a static solution.

In this application the first important parameter to check was the type of glue in use.  Some glues are flammable and the vapors from them can be potentially ignitable, so making sure there was no risk for explosion was our first priority as our products are not recommended for use in potentially flammable or combustible applications.

After determining there was no risk for explosion, we then considered the application in more detail.  The static solution needed to be small, effective, and there was an important aspect for this application – the solution could not have any airflow.  The parts which are placed into these bags have low weights, and even a small airflow could remove them from the bags.  So, we needed an airless solution that was compact and effective.

The solution was an Ion Point.

An Ion Point creates a small ionizing “zone” of approximately 2” x 2” (51mm x 51mm) without any airflow.  At this distance, the static elimination from an Ion Point can dissipate a 5kV charge in 0.24 seconds.  The small footprint and airless operation of the Ion Point made it an ideal candidate for this application.

By installing an Ion Point between the bag opener and the glue applicator, the static charge was eliminated and the process disturbance was removed.  We were able to solve this problem, offering a readily available solution (from stock) that fit the specifics of the application.

As the temperature and humidity in the northern hemisphere drop, static problems become more prevalent.  (Click here or here to read about why this happens.)  If static problems arise in your facilities, consider an EXAIR solution.  We’re available to discuss applications and solutions M-F, 8-5 EST.

 

Lee Evans
Application Engineer
LeeEvans@EXAIR.com
@EXAIR_LE

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.

Ion Bar

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

Send me an email
Find us on the Web
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Twitter: @EXAIR_BB

Static Electricity – What is it?

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?

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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.

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Super Ion Air Wipe

To discuss your static elimination concerns , feel free to contact EXAIR and one our  Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.

Brian Bergmann
Application Engineer

Send me an email
Find us on the Web
Like us on Facebook
Twitter: @EXAIR_BB

Spark Photo Credit – Eric Skiff – via Creative Commons License

Super Ion Air Knife Removes Dust From Yogurt Cups

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A yogurt cup

Part of the due diligence in discussing applications with our customers is gathering an understanding of their application process and needs.  In emails, phone calls, or online chats, we determine the parameters and constraints of the application to be sure that we have a proper solution to offer.  And, if we don’t, we explore custom solutions or help find something available outside of EXAIR.

In a recent email exchange with a yogurt manufacturer I received the photo below showing the filling process for their yogurt cups.  The adage goes that “a picture is worth a thousand words”, and it certainly holds true here.  The full process is shown, with labels and dimensions.  What more could you ask for to understand the flow of the application?

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The filling process for yogurt cups in this application

In this system, small dust particles were adhering to the internal walls of the yogurt cups.  When the cups would pass through the vacuum unit, the station designed to remove any dust or debris, static cling would prevent the system from removing all the dust.  Then, in the filling station, yogurt would be fed into insufficiently cleaned cups, resulting in defects and wasted product.

This customer contacted EXAIR in search of a solution to remove the static on the inside of the cups, and to help facilitate removal of the dust, if possible.  What they found was a perfect solution in our Super Ion Air Knife.

When the cups exit the feeder and enter the conveyor, they are placed in the same orientation with (6) cups across the conveyor over a width of 580mm (22.8”).  By installing a static eliminating solution over the conveyor at this point, we can remove the static before the cups enter into the vacuum cleaning station.  And, if we can provide a blowoff source as well, we can remove the dust particles before the cups are cleaned again via the vacuuming system.

The solution for this application was the stock model 111024 24” Super Ion Air Knife along with model 7907 Power Supply.  This Super Ion Air Knife provides a fully laminar and consistent sheet of static eliminating air, removing both the static and debris from inside the yogurt cups.  Operating at a low pressure (~20 psig), these units are also quiet and consume low volumes of compressed air.

By installing the Super Ion Air Knife into this application, this customer found a solution to remove both static and debris from the product.  In doing so, defects were eliminated and output was increased.

If you have a similar application in need of a similar solution, give us a call.  We’ll be happy to help.

Lee Evans
Application Engineer
LeeEvans@exair.com
@EXAIR_LE

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