Static electricity is one of those invisible problems that often goes undiagnosed and causes manufacturers costly headaches in terms of lost production and product rejects.
And it's an issue that will only get worse as winter sets in and temperatures continue to plummet. Because cold air holds less water vapour, it means it is less conductive therefore encouraging static electrical conditions.
However, there are simple and effective remedies to cure static electricity thanks to SMC's Ionizer range. The products on offer deliver measurement, control and removal solutions for static electricity leading to reduced production costs, improved performance, increased efficiency and improved safety.
Such a solution from the Ionizer range was successfully implemented for an SMC customer that specialises in water bottle manufacturing.
Plastic, along with rubber, glass or pitch have a tendency to produce static electricity as they act as insulators and can hold a charge rather than act as conductors of electricity. In this instance, plastic bottles were charged with static electricity during the fabrication process, causing costly problems for the manufacturer once they joined the transport line. The static charge being stored in the surface of the bottles caused them to repel each other and lose their vertical positioning, leading to the production line being shut down while the bottles were manually re-aligned.
Although the customer did have a static removing device in place, it wasn't capable of removing the static charge in the time set by the production process, which requires a high speed transport system. SMC was able to step in and provide a solution with its market leading bar type ionizer, the IZS31, which has a proven track record of removing static electricity extremely quickly. In this case, the IZS31 had no problem neutralising the static charge within the time set by the application.
The result has transformed the water bottling plant's production efficiency, removing disruption to the process and the need for human intervention.
But it's not just the plastics industry that suffers from the side effects of static electricity; industries from packaging, food & beverage, medical & pharmaceutical, electronic & semiconductor, general automation and manufacturing are all affected. Side effects vary from dust particles damaging print finishes to fibres or sheets sticking to each other, a fault usually associated with automated processes.
Another growing issue, due to ever tighter health and safety regulations, is the problem of static electric shocks. Although usually harmless, there are extreme cases where sparks can start a fire or cause an explosion in hazardous areas.
For the electronics industry, electrostatic discharge of as low as 5 volts could cause component failure or field failure, which is not only damaging to the bottom line but can harm reputations too.
To counter these issues, SMC offers effective solutions through its Ionizer range. The IZS31 is ideal for large scale workpieces and sensitive to heavy metal contamination. The compact nozzle IZN10 is ideal for partial electrostatic removal of small workpieces or total removal when used in a confined space. The latest to join the range has been the fan type ionizer. It is compact and lightweight and without the need of a compressed air supply, it is suitable for a wide range of applications such as workbench mounting. The performance of the SMC Ionizer range can be fully automated with the use of feedback and auto-balance sensors. For simple checks, the handheld meter is a perfect solution.
So don't let the winter chill also freeze your profitability and find out more about SMC's Ionizer range by visiting www.smc.eu.