November 2017 Special Advertiser Q&A on Static Control
18 years with the company
What’s new with your company when it comes to static control? Did your company introduce any new products at PACK EXPO or one of the other fall trade shows?
Clark: At the 2017 International Converting Expo (ICE), TAKK Industries unveiled its leading-edge NEOS Reactive Intelligence Static Eliminator technology. The NEOS is an evolution in static control, providing ultra-high performance for the most demanding machinery and critical production processes. It combats static electricity by continuously monitoring electrostatic charges, delivering the right power and ionization output to successfully eliminate static electricity problems, excelling in overcoming static electricity in varying processes, substrates and environmental factors.
The NEOS is a fully integrated static control technology with three models to meet the most challenging static problems. All models incorporate robust built-in power supplies, “clean me” remote diagnostics, shockless operation, powered via 24 volt DC using optional AC-DC transformers or connectivity to program logic controllers (PLCs). Its high-tech features also include models capable of static elimination of ultra-fast webs up to 4,500 feet per minute while other models have ultra-long range, providing static elimination up to a distance of 60 inches away.
Other than having an unhappy customer after a roll is delivered, what are some of the tell-tale signs that a converter’s static control equipment may not be up to snuff?
Clark: Clear signs that static control equipment is no longer delivering solid results are varied, but some key indicators are electrical discharge from materials and parts of the machinery, sometimes accompanied by audible or even visible electrical arcs. And more significantly, these same electrical discharges can result in shocks to personnel. The latter sometimes is accepted as business as usual. But it should not be, due to the significant and costly impacts created by avoidable staff injuries and discomfort. Other signs, such as web mishandling and excessive airborne contamination being attracted to the roll or sheet stocks, would be common indications.
Is there a particular season where static control is more prevalent in converting operations? If so, do converters need to do anything different during these periods?
Clark: Static electricity can have a detrimental impact on productivity and safety year-long for many of today’s unique packaging materials and production processes. However, it’s true that as the seasons change, bringing cooler, dryer weather, and as facility humidity levels decrease, the severity and degree of static electricity is likely to worsen, leading to production-related problems.
The step to take before static electricity problems really take hold is to consult with a knowledgeable, experienced static control specialist who can advise on topics, such as evaluating sources for static electricity occurring in the process, review of existing static controls and the introduction of new technologies that can ensure static electricity does not take a bite out of valuable productivity and profits.
How has static control equipment become “smarter” over the years?
Clark: There is a definite move to intelligent static control technologies in recent years. An important element to this trend that benefits the packaging industry is that static eliminators increasingly include sensing and operational status features. A prime example of this trend is TAKK’s line of NEOS static eliminator bars with reactive intelligence that senses the polarity and magnitude of a static charge, auto adjusting both power and ionization polarity output to most efficiently eliminate the static charge. Also, the NEOS can provide local or remote data of the static eliminator’s status indicating whether it is operating correctly, needs to be cleaned or has a fault condition requiring operator attention. These cutting-edge features allow companies to focus more on operations with minimal time allocated to monitoring their static controls, thus adding to their overall productivity.
What’s something that a lot of converters might not know, but should know, about static control?
Clark: Proper application of static control technologies can be challenging without solid technical expertise and know-how to strategically apply the right solutions to achieve optimal results. In some applications, static electricity may only pose a significant problem if it is not eliminated at specific points in the process, while in other instances static electricity can wreak havoc on operations throughout the entire process and create hazards or discomfort to personnel leading to waste of unsaleable product, supply materials and creating obstacles for staffers to deliver their best productivity.
It’s important to identify how and where static electricity causes problems for an operation. A static control evaluation will lead to greater understanding of trouble areas ultimately resulting to fewer rejects and material loss, increased employee and customer satisfaction and, ultimately, greater profits.
Is there anything else you’d care to share about static control?
Clark: There is an abundance of excellent static elimination tools available to the industry, including numerous static eliminator bars, blowers, guns and static detection devices. It is important to match the right equipment to the application for the proper solution at the right cost.
For example, with the advent of more powerful and sophisticated static elimination equipment, it is now possible to more easily handle high-speed processes or applications where large areas need to be controlled with a single static eliminator, such as large roll wind or unwind processes. Acceptable levels of static control also come into play. Bringing static levels in a manufacturing process to a near zero-charge level practically never occurs because of regeneration and other factors. Successful static control is controlling static levels to a point where the manufacturing problems associated with the static go away.