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Your Ultimate Guide to Static Control

What Is Static Electricity?

Have you ever felt a tiny electric shock when you touch your car door or another metal doorknob?

If so, you’re probably familiar with the release of static electricity, otherwise known as electrostatic discharge. 

Electrostatic discharge (ESD) is the release of static electricity when two items touch. The jolt we get when we shuffle over our carpet and the static electricity we experience after drying clothes in a dryer are two common instances of ESD. Lightning is a more extreme example of ESD in action.

An electric charge that has accumulated on an object’s surface is known as static electricity. The loss or gain of electrons results in an imbalance between the negative and positive charges, which produces this type of electricity.

Surface separation and contact generate static electricity. This means that static charge can occur in powders, webs, sheets, rollers, and conveyors. The type of material, speed, and contact pressure all affect how intense the charge is.

While most ESD events are harmless, they can be an expensive problem in many industrial environments. We’ll learn more about static control in industrial environments in this article.

Electrostatic Discharge and Devices

An electrostatic charge must initially accumulate for ESD to take place. When two unique materials brush against one another, the materials change their charges so that one is positively charged and the other is negatively charged. An electrostatic charge has formed on the positively charged substance.

The charge is transferred when that charge makes contact with the appropriate substance. The heat from this energy transfer is super hot — in some cases up to 50,000 °F!!! — but we do not feel the heat from the ESD event when we are shocked. The extreme heat from the charge can melt or evaporate the microscopic portions of expansion cards or other parts when the charge is released onto an electrical device. As a result, the device breaks.

A device may occasionally keep working even after a negative ESD event. Such damage is known as a latent flaw, which is hard to find and drastically reduces the device’s lifespan.

Many pieces of electronic equipment may experience low-voltage ESD incidents. Hard drive components, for instance, are sensitive to 10 volts. Due to this, producers of electronic products take precautions to stop ESD incidents during all stages of production, including testing, shipping, and handling. 

Production and Static Electricity

We now know that ESD can affect electronic devices and lead to latent defects. So, how exactly does ESD play out in production?

In industrial environments, static electricity can cause:

  • Production jams
  • Attraction of particulate
  • Disruption of microprocessor controls
  • Fires and explosions

Not surprisingly, these accidents are a costly waste of time. 

To make matters worse, ESD accidents don’t just affect equipment — they can sometimes directly affect employees that work in manufacturing settings.

According to the United States Department of Labor, one 39-year-old employee received a static electric shock after she contacted a plastic film roll line on which static electricity had built up and was not dissipated prior to contact.

Another ESD event occurred at Barton Solvents during the filling of a steel tank with ethyl acetate (a flammable solvent), resulting in several minor injuries. According to CSB Chairman and CEO John Bresland, “These accidents show the need for companies to address the hazards associated with static electricity and flammable liquid transfer. They should apply good practice guidelines…to determine if facilities are properly designed and safely operated.”

Now that you have been properly warned, it’s time to learn more about the products that can prevent these kinds of ESD-induced mishaps.

Static Control Products — An Overview

In the making of electronics and other industrial processes, manufacturers use static control solutions to reduce electrostatic discharge. Some businesses utilize anti-static shoe straps, wrist straps or cords, gloves, and other personal grounding devices.

Others employ comprehensive static control systems or static electricity control equipment. Some examples of static control products include:

  • Static control mats
  • Static control bars or ionizer bars
  • Aprons, wrist straps, and mats
  • Bi-polar ionization generator
  • Static meters

When working with devices, an employee may choose to wear a wrist strap, wear ESD control footwear, or work on an ESD floor mat, which causes the electrostatic charge to go into the ground rather than the object being handled. Rubber or vinyl anti-static mats are typically utilized on floors, countertops, or tabletops. Depending on the application, a static control mat may be either conductive or dissipative. 

By generating both positively and negatively charged ions, a static control bar or ionizer bar can be used to eliminate static energy that has already built up.

Sensitive equipment can be packaged in materials that protect it from an electric charge. Because insulators like plastics prevent electrons from moving, grounding will not cause static electricity to dissipate.

Static electricity can be eliminated with a bi-polar ionization generator, which creates both positive and negative ions. The ions are drawn to the substrate’s static charge, which draws them and cancels them out. The ions are no longer drawn to the substance once the charge has been neutralized.

Static meters are a great tool for troubleshooting a potential static electricity problem because they measure static electricity on your material. They are also a useful tool to check how well ionizers work with your material.

Static Bars v Blowers

Static bars must be inches from the target in order to work. The bar’s close proximity to the target allows for the neutralization of speedier targets due to more ions in the web. 

How does this work? The charge of the static bar’s emitter pin has air ions that carry charge to the target. Opposite charges are attracted to one another.

Blowers operate on the same principle, but instead of only using the attraction of particles with opposite charges to drive ions, they use forced air. Because of this, blowers are effective at removing static from bigger areas, slower-moving webs, and three-dimensional objects. 

Blowers work best in industrial situations in which the manufacturing setup does not leave room for bars. For instance, moving machinery parts can make a blower that controls static from a distance seem more practical. Over a nozzle or air assist bar, a blower has the advantage of not requiring pressurized air.

After outlining the foundations, let’s think about the best product option for the application. Since bars are most effective when they are a few inches or less from the web, they typically operate well when there is space around them. Bars can couple to the target’s charge because of how close they are to the web. They become more efficient on fast web sites as a result.

Discharging 3D parts is a perfect application for the blower because it can release ions that cover an object’s surface. Any neutralized trash is also displaced by the same air that is utilized to move ions. For procedures like preparing vehicle parts for paint, this is very effective.

Simco & ISC What to Buy

Fixing problems brought on by static can seem like a difficult task. The good news is that Simco-Ion produces tools to assist you in finding the answers to these crucial concerns. Simco-Ion manufactures some of the most cutting-edge static electricity monitoring systems available today. 

An FMX is one piece of equipment that practically all sales representatives have. This portable tool for on-the-go static monitoring is a terrific way for operators to check numerous locations or lines. However, if you want to keep an eye on a line for a while, there are other options. 

Long-term line monitoring is done with the IQ Power Sensor Bar and its HL Bar brother, which is designed for hazardous areas. These two sensors can be placed over any line to give the operator useful data. This data is displayed on an IQ Power Control Station, which can also log data for review. 

The IQ Easy Bar, IQ Power Nozzle, IQ Power Fantom Wide-Format Blower, and other neutralizing products are connected to sensors. This means that the Control Station is monitoring the condition of your web in real time and using that knowledge to modify the output of your static neutralizing goods. The outcome is the best static neutralization that is possible in an industrial setting.

Whether you’re new to static control or a seasoned pro searching for more knowledge about the systems you manage, Simco is for you! Contact your local sales representative right now if you’d like to find out more about static monitoring or if you want to buy any of the goods mentioned above.





Still unsure which static control solution is best for your needs? Static control needs vary from application to application, it can be hard to determine what will work best. But you’re in luck! The staff at ISC Sales is very knowledgeable, able to answer any of your questions, and will ensure that you get the most efficient product for your business. Contact Us today and have the solution that’s perfect for you tomorrow.

Call ISC Sales today at 877.585.1141 to get a free quote or to ask about our lineup of industrial equipment. You can also request a quote online, HERE.

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