Static Beat | How To Solve Static Problems Quickly

Annual static training is a good way to gain knowledge to prevent problems or solve them fast.

“It’s like déjà vu all over again.” Yogi Berra got that one right! How many times have we had to solve the same problems again and again? Annual static training is one good way to provide knowledge and expertise to our teams so that we can solve new problems quickly—and maybe even prevent the same old problems from happening again.

In our annual static training, we’ll take a few minutes to review the basics of static electricity, talk about previous static problems, and the steps that we took to solve the problem.

 

Table I. Annual Static Training Agenda

1. 
5 minutes Static Control is important.
1.1 Sparks can ignite fires and explosions.
1.2 Static shocks can injure employees.
1.3 Static causes product quality problems including product defects and material jams in customer applications.
2. 
10 minutes Where does static come from? How do we measure it?
2.1 Paper and polymer web become charged when they touch a different material, such as rubber nip roller.
2.2 Corona treaters can deposit large amounts of static on treated webs.
3.3 Measure static using a hand-held static meter. Demonstrate using your static meter.
3. 
10 minutes Control static using static dissipators.
3.1 Passive dissipators (tinsel, ionzing cord) need to be clean and grounded to operate properly.
3.2 Active Dissipators (static bars, ionizing fans) need to be clean and energized to operate properly.
3.3 Show examples of dissipators used in your operations: a tinsel/ionizing cord, a static bar, and an ionizing fan.
4. 
20 minutes Review our static control.
4.1 Standard work, procedures, checklists, verification measurements.
4.2 Review recent static problems and solutions.
5. 
5 minutes Summarize. Q&A.

 

Let’s start with the agenda in Table I. Of course, we can edit, revise, and change this 50-minute agenda in any way needed so that it serves our needs. For example, for a 30-minute Static Awareness Training session, skip Section 2 on basic static electricity and shorten Section 3 on static dissipators.

Begin with a simple statement that static control is important. The message is that we should take a few minutes to learn about static for at least three reasons.

  • First, this knowledge helps prevent fires and explosions that might injure employees. Also, having a manufacturing line out of service for repair hurts our business.
  • Second, shocks can injure employees. Static shocks have caused lost time incidents in our industry and perhaps even at your site. Static control systems are designed to prevent these shocks. Encourage employees to alert supervisors when they receive a shock or when they “feel static.” These are indicators that our static control system should be improved or restored to the designed performance.
  • Finally, static causes product quality problems. Sparks can damage printed images and thin coated layers such as release coatings. And, static cling causes material jams in customer applications such as die-cutting, sheeting, bagging, and labeling operations. Keeping static levels low improves product quality.

The introduction motivates our brief review of where static comes from and how we can measure it. For many people, static is a mystery. Replacing mystery with engineering basics helps enable learning and understanding. While static electricity is complex and variable, making it seem mysterious, static is governed by engineering principles. And, these principles enable sound measurement techniques.

During this annual training session, have your hand-held static meter ready. Demonstrate measuring static electricity using a piece of a static prone material.

Now that we’ve covered how materials become charged, and how to measure the charge, talk about how to control static using dissipators. Static dissipators are either passive or active. Passive dissipators like tinsel strands, ionizing cords, static brushes, or needle bars need to be grounded to operate. Show an example of a passive dissipator used in your operations.

Active dissipators like static bars and ionizing fans have high voltage power supplies that need power to operate. Again, show an example of an ionizing fan or static bar with its power supply.

Now, we reach the main purpose of our training; controlling static in our operations. A good transition is to remind folks that all static dissipators need to be clean to operate properly. Cleaning dissipators is a great example of standard work implemented in our operations. You’ll need to fill in the rest of the topics in this session. You might talk about using a “static wand” to treat incoming rolls before loading them onto the unwind turret, checklists showing the locations of static dissipators, static performance verification when lines are accredited for operation after being down for maintenance, or management of change procedures to help ensure good static performance in our constantly evolving manufacturing environment. Static control is the combination of good design and standard work that maintains performance.

Finally, take time to talk about recent static problems and how they were solved. This is especially important if an employee was injured or if there was a “near miss,” such as a static fire where there were no injuries. Everyone should understand just what happened so that there is no misunderstanding. And, reviewing recent incidents motivates our static control efforts.

End with a brief summary and invite questions. Controlling static is standard work based on sound engineering principles. Maintaining good static control contributes to a safe work environment and high product quality. Achieving good static control is just one of the many things we do that makes our business successful.

I invite you to ask questions about this column and to suggest future topics. My email address is: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Static control expert Dr. Kelly Robinson, president of Electrostatic Answers, has 27+ years of experience in problem-solving and consulting. Kelly writes PFFC's Static Beat column and the Kelly on Static blog. Contact him at 585-425-8158; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; www.electrostaticanswers.com.

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