Ionisers the answer to static electricity problems

Static electricity can wreak havoc in a production plant. The experts at SMC Corporation Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) have seen it time-and-time again, and now in the thick of winter, static electricity is everywhere.

Ming Liu, head of product department for SMC Corporation ANZ says that many manufacturers fall prey to high rejection rates, low-quality final product, machine operators suffering from shocks, dust sticking to workpieces and even labels being misaligned.

“Static electricity problem can be costly. It is largely overlooked in the manufacturing process and it generally affects the final product. From dealing with the nuisance of products clinging to each other, plastic sheets not separating property to managing possible damage to electrical products etc.”

Combatting Static
“It’s an unseen source of highly visible nasty production problems. Luckily, static can be solved in a quick, easy, and efficient way: with a quality ioniser. Over the years, SMC has continued to innovate beyond pneumatics and its range of bar, nozzle and fan ionisers bears testament to this. We have looked at the production process (as a whole) to determine where we can add the most value. Today, SMC has transitioned into ‘one supplier for all your automation needs,’” Liu said.

The SMC ioniser applies high voltage to a needle shaped electrode and generates corona discharge between the opposite polarity electrode to ionise air molecules. When the applied voltage is negative, it generates negative ions.  When the applied voltage is positive, it generates positive ions.

According to Liu, there are various options and types of ionizers on offer, depending on the application and the environment. “The bar type (IZS40/41/42 Series) is ideal for flat and/or remote surfaces, its equipped with nozzles to generate ions, and air then blows ions onto the workpieces. This could work in a PET environment for example. It would also be suitable for lamination and web printing.”

The bar type varies in length and performance options. The nozzles can be equipped with condition monitoring sensors for easy maintenance and the replacement of the cartridge.

The fan type ioniser (IZF10/21/31 series) neutralise static  on the workpiece  in a case where there is no air supply available. “These units are compact and easy to transport. They neutralise static in just 0.5 seconds and our latest model offers an air flow adjustment function.

Rounding off the range is the nozzle type ionizer (IZN10 series). “This is great for areas with space issues or for those requiring a more ‘focused approach’ to static removal. It is slim, lightweight and offers an offset voltage of +/-10V. It comes with nozzle variations and an intermittent control timer,” said Liu.

Another key feature is centered around the maintenance of this ioniser. It can be easily dissembled into three parts. In addition, it’s equipped with a maintenance function warning.

The nozzle type ionizer is ideal for neutralising static on plastic bottles and it prevents parts from clogging in a feeder.

One of the latest ionisers from SMC is the IZT40, 41 and 42, complete with a separate controller. This ioniser answers to the market demand for a thinner bar (compared to the IZS series) with just one controller to control many bars.

“This compact solution is ideal for small spaces, in fact, it is up to 60 per cent smaller and more light weight than its predecessor. One controller can control up to four bars; the controller can also be installed in a separate location, allowing the control of bars to be fitted inside equipment, and being available for a centralized management.”

Liu also noted that the IZT series is the first SMC product to make use of high-voltage cable.  “We have introduced both integrated and remote configurations for the controller and high-voltage supply. These can be installed separately but using them in an integrated configuration allows for a simple installation of the controller.

“Forget about product rejections, futile maintenance hours and machine downtime caused by static electricity.  Our ionisers generate results straight away to help optimize the quality of your processes, ensure a safe working environment and improve your output quality,” Liu said.