COMBATTING STATC ELECTRICITY IN YOUR PLANT

Static electricity can cause serious problems within the manufacturing environments from product quality issues to worst case scenario sparks being generated risking fire and explosion.

What causes static electricity?
Static electricity is caused when two materials rub against each other. Typically, the surface of every material has both protons(+) and electrons (-), with their charges being balanced; meaning the overall object has a neutral charge. However, when two objects rub against each other, the charges are separated and an electron or proton can move from one object to the other, resulting in each object becoming either positively or negatively charged. These objects will then attract (or repel) other objects.

So why is this a problem?
If two objects with a different electric potential are placed close together and if the voltage difference is sufficiently high, a spark can occur. Sparks can cause a serious risk of fires and explosions especially in environments where there are flammable materials or in environments where there is a lot of dust or fine powders.

While the creation of a spark is the most serious result of static electricity, static electricity can also interfere with the production process in other ways such as:

  • dust contamination
  • products clinging to each other
  • contaminants getting into product
  • plastic sheets not separating properly
  • potential damage to machinery
  • shocks to operators

What factors affect the creation of static electricity?

  • The weather
    The dryer the air the greater the static build-up. Controlling the atmosphere in your production facility can reduce the risk of static electricity build-up.
  • The type of materials being used
    Some materials are more readily charged than others. For example, materials such as acetate will gain a charge very readily whilst glass will gain a charge less readily.
  • Repetition
    Repeated actions such as constant friction or separation will increase the level of charge found on a material. For example, a plastic web moving over a series of Teflon rollers will increase its surface charge after every roller.
  • Battery Effect
    The combination of many charged items can lead to extremely high charges. For instance, individual sheets of plastic with relatively low surface charges when stacked together can generate extremely high voltages.
  • Change In Temperature
    As a material cools down it can generate charge.

Controlling static electricity
While the generation of static electricity cannot be stopped, its accumulation and dispersal can be controlled through:

  • correctly designing machinery, pipes and filtration systems
  • bonding and grounding of equipment
  • humidity control
  • additives – antistatic additives can be added to liquids such as fuel to increase conductivity and reduce electrostatic build-up
  • Material, flooring and clothing – conductive flooring, shoe soles and clothing can help dissipate static charges from a person as they walk or move around
  • the introduction of Ionisers to your production line.

What are Ionisers
Air Ionisers make the air sufficiently conductive to dissipate static charge. Whatever static charge is present on objects in the work environment will be reduced and neutralised by attracting opposite polarity charges from the air. Because it uses only the air that is already present in the work environment, air ionisation may be employed even in cleanrooms where chemical sprays and some static dissipative materials are not usable.

ionisation-images

Some ionisation devices require airflow to operate properly and may incorporate fans in their design.

Static electricity is an invisible hazard in many production environments. If you would like advice on steps to protect your plant from static electricity, get in touch with the EAS team today on 07 834 0505 or [email protected]

EEHA – ELECTRICAL EQUIPMENT IN HAZARDOUS AREAS

In electrical engineering a hazardous area is a place where a fire or explosion hazard may exist due to:

  • flammable gases or vapours
  • combustible dusts or ignitable fibers

which may be present in the air in quantities sufficient to produce explosive or ignitable mixtures.

Where are hazardous areas found?
Places like oil refineries, chemical plants and sewerage treatment plants are areas where hazardous gas vapours may be present; however, many companies don’t realise dust can also create hazardous areas in places such as food and beverage manufacturers, plastics factories and recycling operations.

Typical industries with hazardous areas

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Due to the risks associated with these hazardous areas, staff accredited with an EEHA qualification need to take responsibility for installing and maintaining any electrical equipment in these areas.

EEHA qualified people can:

  • identify hazardous areas
  • understand hazardous area drawings
  • understand explosion protection techniques
  • are skilled in equipment installation in these areas
  • are familiar with procedures for breakdowns and the maintenance of equipment in hazardous areas
  • ensure all hazardous area dossiers are updated.

The electrical equipment installed in these areas must also be specifically designed and tested to ensure it doesn’t cause an explosion either due to arcing or its high surface temperature.

When installing electrical equipment in hazardous areas it is essential that:

  • Checks are done of existing hazardous area inspections and drawings.
  • A hazardous area drawing and dossier is created, if it does not already exist.
  • All electrical equipment to be installed carries ICE/Ex certificate.
  • Installation of new equipment is carried out by EEHA qualified electricians.

EAS can coordinate the whole process of maintaining and installing electrical equipment in hazardous areas for you. From inspections, drawings, installation, testing and certification. EAS can deliver you a complete turnkey solution.

If you’re planning a new equipment installation in your plant, which is classed as a hazardous area, or need to conduct maintenance on equipment in hazardous areas; get in touch with the EAS team today on 07 834 0505.

When it comes to safety precautions and installation practices in hazardous areas, our team does not cut corners.

Industrial Electrical Motors

Electric motors have been around for centuries, becoming more refined and powerful over the years. Their role is to convert electrical energy into mechanical energy used in everything from your household appliances and computers to powering mega factories around the world.

The first motors were developed as far back as the 1740’s, however due to the challenges in generating the high voltages they needed for operation, these motors were never used for any practical purposes.

DC motors made a rise through the 1830’s, running up to 600 revolutions per minute, they powered basic tools and presses.

By the 1880’s the modern AC electric motor was taking shape, able to be adapted to many applications.

motors-image

Today there is a wide variety of electric motor options for your plant. Key factors to consider when making your selection include:

  • Input power source
  • Environment – will the motor be operating in areas where it would be at risk or dust or water contamination or extreme temperatures. Is it located in a Hazardous Area?
  • Motor specifications – the weight, size, shape can all have an impact on the suitability of the motor for the job.
  • Motor performance – the speed and torque, starting/stall torque and the load profile will all impact on whether the motor is the right fit. A motor that has not been matched appropriately will cause significant damage to the machine, likely resulting in stalling or failure.

The EAS team can work with you to help take the guesswork out of choosing the right motor for your application.

To ensure the longevity of your motor, maintenance is also a key consideration. Over their lifespan of your motor, both mechanical and electrical inspections should be carried out to help identify issues such as:

  • High resistance connections – Terminal box
  • Winding contamination
  • Rotor bar faults
  • Bearing Housing
  • Motor Feet
  • Base-plate/Foundations
  • Motor Insulation

The importance of including these checks as part of your preventative maintenance plan have been proven by the Cooper Bussmann brand which found that old age was responsible for only 10% of the failure of electric motors.

The most common causes of motor failure are actually:

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Source: A.Bonnett & C. Yung

In addition to regular checks on your motors some early warning signs for motor failure may include:

  • Motors tripping circuit protection
  • Hot motor housing
  • Excess vibration noise
  • Increased operating costs
  • Reduced torque
  • Oil leakage at bearing seals
  • Rust

Ignoring these warning signs may lead to costly repairs and downtime for equipment. Getting a qualified and experienced electrician you can trust in to diagnose these issues is paramount for safety and the lifespan of your motors and equipment.

If you would like advice on the best motor selection for your machines, or if you would like maintenance or repair assistance, get in touch with the EAS team today on 07 834 0505 so we can work together to find the best solution for you.

Riddle answer – November 2021

A dictionary

EAS – Specialist Industrial Electricians

The work an Industrial Electrician does is quite different to that of a residential or commercial electrician.

While all electricians have core skills in installing light fixtures, wiring and installing outlets; Industrial Electricians require skills that allow them to work in manufacturing environments where they maintain a far more extensive range of electrical systems from micro currents to high voltage components.

The Electrical and Automation Solutions (EAS) team of specialist industrial electricians are highly skilled in this work including:

  • plant automation, specialising in dairy and food processing
  • distribution centre and coolstore electrical installation and maintenance
  • new installations and servicing of packaging equipment, conveyor belts, agitators and all other types of plant and equipment.
  • plant instrumentation installation, maintenance and calibration
  • scheduled and preventative maintenance
  • lighting design and LED upgrades
  • electrical panel design and build
  • machine breakdowns
  • switchboard repairs and upgrades
  • thermal imaging surveys
  • EV chargers supply and install.
In addition to our skills and experience working with industrial electrical systems the EAS team also carry a range of qualifications to ensure that they are ready to carry out any work at your plant including:
  • Working in Confined Spaces
  • Working at Heights
  • Elevated Work Platforms
  • Installation and Inspection of Hazardous Areas

EAS’ extensive experience working in food manufacturing environments means we understand the stringent protocols required to ensure the safety of your food manufacturing processes. Health & Safety is also a priority for our team. EAS are Prequal certified and go above and beyond to ensure that we fully understand and comply with all health and safety requirements of the sites we work on.

If you need a Specialist Industrial Electrician you can trust to deliver your projects seamlessly, get in touch with the EAS team today on 07 834 0505 or [email protected].
specialists

Referral & Sign On Bonus

Sign On Bonus

  • To be eligible for the $5,000 sign on bonus, applications must be received by Wednesday 15 September – so don’t delay apply today.
  • Bonus will be paid on the successful completion of your 90 day trial period.

 

Referral Bonus

To be eligible for the $1,000 referral bonus the following conditions must be met:

  • Referral’s must be received by 15 September.
  • EAS must employ the person you recommend.
  • The referrer must be identified in the covering email/letter sent with the job application.

Riddle answer – September newsletter

The answer is 6.

All the animals are either on the bed or flying so the only legs on the ground are yours (2) and the four legs of the bed.

WHY YOU SHOULD CONSIDER ELECTRIC VEHICLES FOR YOUR BUSINESS

From 1 July 2021, people buying new and imported EVs can get a rebate of $8,625 on new EVs, or $5,750 on new hybrids. So now may be a great time to investigate moving to Electric Vehicles for your business.

So why choose an EV?

  • They’re more cost effective to run and easier to maintain.
    A petrol car travelling 12,500km a year costs approximately $2,500 while a fully electric vehicle would cost only about $500.
  • The latest EVs have a range of at 300km – more than enough for most days. The average daily trip in New Zealand is 29km ad 90% of travel by car is less than 90Km. Plus as part of the Government’s announcement they are planning to install fast EV charges every 75km along most state highways.
  • EVs are great for the environment and your brand.
    They demonstrate that your company is future focused and care about the environment.
    Battery EVs emit 60% fewer climate-changing emissions over their full life cycle when compared to petrol vehicles. Converting to electric vehicles is one of the biggest ways that New Zealand can reduce our emissions and our reliance on fossil fuels, since transport makes up about 21% of New Zealand’s annual emissions.

    If you want to work out the total cost of ownership for EVs for your business check out genless – cost of ownership tool

EAS have the skills and experience to assist you with installing EV chargers for your fleet or staff carparks. For more information, just get in touch with the team today on 07 834 0505.

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