A common fact is that in manufacturing environments static build-up often causes productivity reduction, a drop in the quality of a product, besides safety issues due to uncontrolled sparks and also equipments physical damage, especially PCBs and electronics. These static problems are customary in industries such as printing, packaging, electronics, paper, textiles, plastics, pharmaceuticals and automotive manufacturing.
There is one effective way of eliminating this static electricity build-up in the manufacturing environments and it is the humidification system. Maintaining the humidity moisture content at 55% RH of the air represents a natural conductor and it earths potential static charge. For a friction to generate static charge the air should be less than 45% RH. Thus, the fact is that the build-up of static is between 45-55% RH at reduced level. At this time it leaks to the ground owing to the moisture content present in the air. The air that is kept at more than 55% RH ascertains there is no static build-up.
There is a rapid increase of industrial humidifiers in most industries and this is due to the modern high speed techniques employed in production that also increases the loads of internal plant heat resulting in humidity levels better control in the plant environment. Adding to this, other factors affecting the levels of humidity are upgrading manufacturing equipments that reduces the humidity in plans as these are places the modern machines produce more heat.
The fact is that many industries experience indoor stringent air quality standards. There is a need to meet the required standards so that more outside air is received into the plant. Regardless of whether the outside air is cold or dry, the result is certain to be much lower in comparison to the indoor humidity levels. Generally, the existing humidification system in the plant meets the increased demands, but when more capacity is added, the humidification systems become inefficient.
Maintenance of Humidification system
Humidification system that is well maintained, designed as per requirement and installed operates for many years, ensuring trouble-free operation. However, if operational issues arise, go through the troubleshooting guide of the humidifier and also consider HVAC issues affecting the humidifier performance, airflow or temperature. Here are the guidelines of maintenance:
- Regular maintenance and inspection is recommended. The requirements vary as per the humidifier and also the water type that may be softened, naturally soft, hard or demineralized. These systems need inspection once in three month to determine the future maintenance and inspection requirements.
- A humidification system operated for that it is designed and is within parameters ensure smooth running of systems. Generally the supply water type causes the impact requiring maintenance. The tap untreated water has magnesium, iron and calcium making it hard water. Systems using processed demineralized water have no issues of supply water maintenance.
- Start with simple maintenance, check and tighten electrical connections such as fuses, contactors and sensors. Check steam generators as it may accumulate minerals thereby reduce output and cause failure. However, the humidifier controller on mineral accumulation reaching a predefined level will give a ‘change cylinder’ message.