Static control

1 July 2014

Even very low static charges can cause a problem in processing film for high-tech products. Erwin van ‘t Hul, marketing manager at Simco-Ion, speaks with Converting Today about some solutions to these challenges.

Converting Today: What do your customers need for the future to ensure a static-free and high quality, high output production?

Erwin van 't Hul: The demands from our customers are increasingly higher with regards to control and efficiency of antistatic equipment. Their end customer expects a very high quality product with very little, or no, static charge. These customers produce, for example, high quality film for electronics, medical applications or food packaging.

How will Simco-Ion meet these demands?

Simco-Ion has recently introduced a completely new range of anti-static and static charging equipment that is capable of producing high efficiency ionisation to ensure optimal neutralisation called the IQ Easy platform.

The heart of the system is the Manager IQ Easy, which is a dedicated small industrial PC complete with touchscreen. The system enables communication between all connected devices.

This means that the operator has full control over the devices and can monitor and optimise all system and device parameters.

This all still sounds a bit vague, can you give a specific example?

Yes, conventional anti-static equipment does a very good job up to a certain level. Optimal neutralisation results are dependent on a number of external conditions. These include mounting distance, web speed, thickness of the material, upstream static charge, optimum settings of the anti-static device, output voltage, frequency and ionisation balance.

The intelligent IQ Easy devices take a lot of these factors into account and will provide optimum settings for the device to ensure maximum neutralisation efficiency.

One of these features is the auto tune mode. Conventional anti-static equipment gives out an equal amount of positive and negative ions. However, at a certain distance and speed the balance will not be equal, resulting in an incomplete neutralisation or charging of the web.

The auto tune mode enables the anti-static bar to look at the upstream static charge on the web and calculate the optimum settings for the anti-static bar. It is capable of varying the level of the output voltage, the frequency and the pulse width.

A negative charge on the web can be neutralised very rapidly by temporarily setting the positive output voltage to a higher level and making the negative pulse smaller and at the same time increasing the positive pulse width.

And this is all automatic?

Yes, one can add a Sensor IQ Easy bar that monitors the residual web charge across the web with up to 16 measuring sections. This will enable the anti-static devices to read the measured data and optimise the settings to reach the desired static level.

Is there a way to even make it more monkey proof?

I think the future is very much focused on introducing complete families of products that are interconnectable with the master unit, so, there will be more integration and more flexibility. It is going to be less about choosing a single item for a specific job, and more about having a complete family of products that are compatible and can communicate together.

Slitting and winding made Easy

A typical application for the combination of an anti-static bar with a sensor is the winding section. Customers that use the film demand more and more film with virtually no static charge.

This can only be achieved by adding a Sensor IQ Easy in combination with the Perfomax IQ Easy anti-static bar and the Manager IQ Easy which will form a closed loop system, constantly adapting the ionisation efficiency to the downstream charge level. This will also make it possible to efficiently neutralise the static even when a lay-on roller is creating new static charge after the anti-static bar.

Which other functions does it provide to make the operator's life easier?

A lot, they are:

¦ Cleaning indication

¦ Efficiency indication

¦ Colour coded system information

¦ Data logging

¦ Event logging

¦ Plug and play

¦ Universal mounting

¦ No cable spaghetti

¦ Upstream static level

¦ Downstream static level (with Sensor IQ Easy)

Can you provide more details about specific features?

Take the universal mounting as an example. Simco-Ion has redesigned all new 24V anti-static bars and charging bars so they can be mounted with our universal mounting brackets. The brackets provide 3 ways of mounting with the possibility of easily sliding the bars out of their brackets for cleaning or replacement. All devices are connected with one standardised cable to the Manager IQ Easy. Installation is easy and eliminates cable spaghetti, separate power units and communication boxes.

Colour coded system information is a unique feature that enables the operator to view all device status information even from a large distance. Large coloured buttons provide direct information about the device whether it is in running, standby, warning or alarm mode.

Event logging gives information at a glance about events that have taken place, devices that have been set to standby, warnings and alarms. This enables easy fault finding. Data logging is available for all devices. The data is stored in the manager and can be collected via the Ethernet port.

What interfaces are available?

Almost all that you can imagine:

¦ Human interface via touchscreen

¦ Standard analogue and digital I/O ports

¦ Fieldbus, eg, ProfiBus

¦ Ethernet with HTML server


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