Jim Patterson, President of Static Clean & Bob Fraser, Managing Director of Fraser Anti-Static shook hands on a deal that gives each company broader coverage and depth of products in static neutralization, static generating and particulate control in their respective markets.
Both companies have a long history of manufacturing its own products for the static industry. Static Clean has also been manufacturing one of the Fraser 24vdc static bars in the US for more than a year and the plan is to expand into manufacturing other Fraser products in the first quarter of 2019. The plan also includes Static Clean becoming Fraser’s major distributor in the Americas for its 24vdc ionizers. The Fraser products helps Static Clean gain a strong position in the Plastics and Converting markets.
Over the past 15 years, Static Clean has developed a unique line of static eliminating, particle source-capturing systems for the Medical Device sector. With medical device manufacturing growing in Europe and beyond, Fraser Anti-Static Techniques looks to include Static Clean products to serve these emerging market opp
Let’s face it, the Medical Device Manufacturers have come under scrutiny, not only from their customers, but also from the FDA in an effort to create a manufacturing environment that has less particulate which can impact quality. Static Clean International manufactures static control and particle source-capturing products that aid in this effort by reducing particles at critical points in the process. Three of the most critical areas in the process are at the molding, assembly, and packaging stages of these medical devices. Packaging is the primary source of foreign particles in the process. Remember, these packages are going to house a medical device that eventually ends up at a hospital or a clinic for use on patients where “clean” is critical.
Medical Clean Room Test Environment
Customers ask us how well our Medical Cleaning Systems work and to what level our “Clean and Pack” system helps to reduce contaminants. In an effort to guarantee success, Static Clean International recently installed a brand new ISO Class 7 Clean Room that is fully equipped with products that are designed to reduce particles, lower rejects and improve yields. Customers are invited to visit our facility, bring their trays or devices into our clean room, and learn first-hand the value that Static Clean and its products bring to the Medical Industry.
How do you know if your Thanksgiving stuffing is actually clean?
As we approach the Thanksgiving Holiday in the United States of America – it got me to thinking of how static electricity and contamination might affect my holiday food & meal preparations. I know you probably say, “Who thinks of that and why?” but it’s the nature of my job and our company, so it’s always in the back of my mind.
When you unwrap packaged food (turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, yams, pie crust, etc.) – how do you know that the package your food comes in is clean? The simple answer is that the normal person doesn’t know. That question of cleanliness is just assumed by the consumer, but the normal person doesn’t really think about whether or not the package their food is in is uncontaminated. The FDA tries to setup requirements and mandates but they are so small in comparison to regulate it that companies fall between the cracks and it’s not until you read or hear about it on the news. By that time it’s too late. There is an interest read on the FDA website about the requirements and steps required to package food.
Contamination in the food packaging industry
In the food packaging industry – static & contamination can be a huge problem. In particular – plastic packaging. All the rage these days is for packaging to say, “BPA Free”, right? Bisphenol A (BPA) is an omnipresent compound found in plastics. It is a fundamental ingredient of plastics from polycarbonate to polyester. An article in Scientific American (*www.scientificamerican.com) says, “BPA is routinely used to line cans to prevent corrosion and food contamination; it also makes plastic cups and baby and other bottles transparent and shatterproof.” Insert your shocked face here! No wonder why plastic and packaging companies are working so hard to provide us with “BPA Free” packaging and products. Makes you wonder what your canned yams and cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving are packaged in, doesn’t it? The second point regarding plastic packaging is that particulates tend to stick on plastic materials if the plastic has not been static neutralized. If the plastic packaging has not been static neutralized – particulates – usually loose, dry contaminates (and food; i.e. your stuffing) will attract to the plastic. Prior to packaging – you may have contaminates that stick to the plastic or bag – so that is an issue. Also, if the plastic is sticking to itself and not opening up enough during the filling process, then the product being packaged (i.e. stuffing) will stick to the sides as well as the outside or top of the plastic PRIOR to it being heat sealed shut. That is why static & contamination control is an integral part of the packaging industry.
This year – I am THANKFUL for static control and contamination control products manufactured and sold by Static Clean to packaging companies. Without such technology that allows us to neutralize and control static and particulates in the packaging process – I may be eating stuffing a la mystery meat. It gives entirely new meaning to “Stuffing” doesn’t it?
The Opposing Force
Weaponry and the delivery systems used today are far more diverse and sophisticated than those used in World War I and World War II. The battles of these Great Wars, especially on the Western Front during World War I, was more about trench warfare when armies of millions of men faced each other in a line of trenches extending from the Belgian coast through northeastern France to Switzerland. Both opposing sides sitting in a dirty hole in proximity to each other, but with little movement. There was no way around the trenches, and the armor and protective gear worn back then was devastatingly inferior to the equipment used today by the most modern fighting machine in the world; the US Military.
The Static Concept
Static generally refers to stationary. Wikipedia states that in a “static battle” both sides suffer heavy casualties and battle lines move so slowly that the result is “static” – a lack of change.
Who doesn’t remember hearing about the Christmas truce? It was the time of ceasefires along the Western Front at Christmas 1914, when German and British soldiers crossed the trenches to exchange seasonal greetings and chat. They even allowed time to bury their fallen, and in some cases they held joint burial services.
On this Memorial Day, let us all remember those who have sacrificed on our behalf. For those of us at Static Clean, the word “static” has taken on a new meaning and it will always help us to remember not only our fallen soldiers who fought in the trenches of the Great Wars, but in every conflict that called our military personnel to duty.
Tribo-Charging, Who Really Discovered Electricity?
The relationship between static electricity and particle attraction has been long known. The Ancient Greeks when polishing their jade and precious stones noticed that straw, chafe and other particles were attracted to the exact things they were trying to clean, the family jewels. This phenomena became known as “Tribo-charging”. Simply stated it was the contact and friction that generated an electrostatic field around the parts that attracted the debris.
The Plastic Attraction
In the Life Sciences Industry of today most companies use plastics in their process. Whether it is to replace body parts, catheters, injection systems, pumps, blood separators or their packing, plastics are here to stay. Not only are they here to stay, but plastic is being used in this process at an increasing rate. Most of these engineered plastics are for a specific need but the premise is the same, they generate huge amounts of static that causes Foreign Matter (FM) to be attracted to the products and the process.
Medical Device Manufacturers most often individually package each medical device and they are subjected to 100% inspection. When the inspector sees a speck of debris (FM), which could be in the form of plastic bits, fuzz balls from clothing, or even human hair, the package is then ripped open and put aside for repackaging. These units are tracked in what is generally called “the tear down rate”. In almost every case, the root cause was the forces of static electricity pulling unwanted particles onto the product and the packaging materials. In addition to the packaging level there are various stages in the assembly process where FM causes rejects. Some of those stages include Injection Molding, Coating, Ultrasonic Welding, Bonding/Gluing, Forming, and handling during the assembly processes. These are also key functions that need to be addressed. The common denominator being that contact and separation (tribo-charging) occurs, static is generated and FM comes into play to contaminate products that could end up inside the human body or blood stream. The FM could also potentially block injection or fluid systems clogging pathways designed to deliver medicine.
Gains are Being Made, Reducing FM
The front line of defense is a properly maintained clean room, but that doesn’t address process problems at the local level, aka the workstation or cell. How does static control reduce particles via ionization in the fight to reduce FM? Static Clean did a job last year for a major medical device company that was experiencing a very high tear down rate. They approached us to come up with a system where they could pass their products thru a blow-off, ionized, vacuum table. The results of this first system allowed them to run 50,000 parts without a single tear-down.
While not all medical device manufacturers have identical assembly lines, let’s take a look at the types of static controls are that implemented for specific reasons or points in the process.
Room Ionization: In this installation, ionizers are mounted in the ceilings and the preferred method is to locate the ionizer right under the Fan Filter Unit. (FFU) to take advantage of the clean air being delivered into the room.
Local Ionization: is another method of static control. These ionizers could be in the form of an ionizing air gun or nozzle, static bars, specific ionizing fans at the work bench or a two or three fan overhead ionizing air blower when bench space is at a premium.
The Increasingly popular approach has been to use source capturing methods in conjunction with ionizing air tools. Recent gains have been made in the development of customized medical cleaning workstations that meet clean room protocol and are tailor engineered to a specific product or package.
For more information on Static Clean products please visit our website at www.staticclean.com
Stereotyping Our Expressions
People always feel the need to say something when they greet people, so they usually say things like, “it’s a beautiful day”, “they’re calling for rain”, “it’s a bit cloudy” or some other reference to the weather. Let’s face it we all do it. It seems that every time we watch the news or talk shows, they all say the same old clichés, but the one that seems to be getting most people’s attention and disdain is the over-used and abused, “At the end of the day”.
The Cliche Commonplace
There are more attractive ways to say the same thing, including “when all is said and done”, “the fact of the matter”, and “in the final analysis”. A friend of mine from Carmel, Indiana was a big Pink Floyd fan who put together a compilation album of their hits and he had a clever title for the CD. He called it “The Animals Wish You Were Here on the Dark Side of the Wall. It was his way of getting four separate albums under one creative name. If you know the group Pink Floyd, you already know the creative genius behind the band, but you will also recognize the creative liberty that my friend took in coming up with his title.
A Rose by Another Name
When it comes to being creative and trying not to be so cliché, coming up with names for newly developed products, can be as hard as trying to pick a name for a new baby. Watch for new products from Static Clean in the coming weeks with names like Particle Trap Mini, Tempest, and the APSC-5 Nozzle. Let’s face it, when all is said and done, at the end of the day, the fact of the matter is that in the final analysis, you can always find something new at www.staticclean.com