Well That’s Shocking: How to Neutralize Static in Packaging

Plastic, and many other insulators, can build up a static charge creating numerous inefficiencies for manufacturers. If not taken care of, static electricity can cause small particles to adhere to packaged goods, causing sealing and contamination problems during the packaging or labeling process. The best way to continue to maintain productivity is to ensure that the static (and subsequently the small particles) is removed before the packaging or labeling occurs.

To fully do this we need to understand what static is and how it is caused. Static is caused by an imbalance in molecular attraction of non-conductive insulators (plastic, paper, glass, etc.) In a normal state, the positive and negative charges are equal, creating a neutral charge. However, in an unbalanced, or static, state the charges sway either negatively or positively. This is what creates the static charge and is common during the manufacturing process when friction is greater. So, the real question, how do we help reduce the effects of static?

The best way to reduce static is to use ionization. By using an ionizing bar and air knife you can reduce or eliminate the buildup of highly charged static. The ionizing bar reduces the static charge because it creates positive and negative ions that are attracted to the unbalanced material. The compressed air knife helps to distribute the ionized air onto the product ensuring that it gets the mass exposure necessary to minimize the static and blows off the contaminants.

A Midwest food and packaging equipment manufacturer experiences these problems with their polyurethane film packaging machines. The small particles were resulting in numerous batches of scrapped product and required constant inspections. This caused them to slow production and invest more in quality assurance, costing them time and money. Vortec worked with this company to design a solution that utilized our air knives and ionizing bars to drastically reduce the amount of static that was produced in the packaging process. This allowed them to improve cycle time, improve production quality and save the company money. What shocking stories do you have about neutralizing static?

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