All about Static Electricity

This page gives you all aspects of static-electricity, the how and why. If you need a solution to a static electricity related problem you can also ask the expert directly via Chat, email or you can give us a call. The chat is available during working hours and you can pick the right department for your question! If you want to know all details on static-electricity please continue to read and you will find the information that you need.

What is static electricity


What is static electricity

Static means not moving. Static electricity is an electrical charge that doesn’t move. All materials are made up of atoms. An atom is the smallest particle of a material that still contains the properties of the material. Each atom consists of a positively charged nucleus around which one or more negative electrons move. In an idle state, the positive charge of the nucleus is equal to the sum of the negative charge of the electrons moving around the same nucleus. Therefore the charge is neutral (see figure 1). If the nucleus loses or gains electrons, an imbalance is caused.

Figure_2An atom that has lost one or more electrons then has a positive charge, and an atom that has gained one or more electrons has a negative charge and is called an ion (see figure 2). There are only two types of charge: positive and negative. Atoms with the same type of charge repel one another, while those with the opposite type of charge attract one another.

Static electricity definition

Static electricity is the result of an imbalance between negative and positive charges in an object. These charges can build up on the surface of an object until they find a way to be released or discharged.

How is static electricity generated

Static electricity is a surface phenomenon and is generated when two or more surfaces come into contact with one another and are separated again. This causes a sort of splitting, or a transfer of negative electrons from one atom to the other. The level of charge, (the field strength) is dependent on a number of factors: the material and its physical and electrical properties, temperature, humidity, pressure and speed of separation. The greater the pressure or the speed of separation, the greater the charge (see figure 3). The level of the charge, the field strength can be measured with a field meter, the FMX-004.


The level of static electricity

The level of static charge is higher during the winter months due to low humidity in the air. When the relative humidity is high, some materials can absorb moisture, as a result of which the surface can become semiconductive and let go of some of the charge. The static charge will then remain low or even disappear entirely as a result of the (semi)conductive surface. A number of materials are indicated in the tribo-electric series (see figure 4). As a result of friction, these materials will take on a positive or negative charge depending on where you can find them in the tribo-electric scale. The magnitude and polarity of the static electricity or static charge depend on the position in the series. More about the effects on static electricity and the question:

What is static electricity can be learned during this short podcast with our technical sales manager Bennie Bel. You can listen here or you can find the podcast on the most common podcast suppliers like on Spotify

Conductive and non-conductive materials (insulators)


Conductive and non-conductive materials (insulators)

Materials can be divided into two basic groups: conductors and insulators. In a conductor, the electrons can move around freely. In principle, a conductor that is arranged in an insulated way(not connected to ground/earth) can take on a static charge. This charge can easily be eliminated by connecting the conductor to earth (see figure 5). Non-conductive material can retain static charge for a long time, even having opposite polarities in different places on the same surface and right next to each other. The electrons cannot move around freely (hence static). This explains why materials are attracted (static cling) in some zones and repelled in others. This force of repelling and/or attracting can also be used for the benefit in different processes. An example is a label that is glued with the help of static electricity to a mould. Connecting these insulators to earth(grounding) does not work because the material has non-conductive properties (see figure 6). Only active ionisation with the aid of static eliminators offers a solution to this.

In production processes, static electricity can often be a severe process disruption(examples), as it means that materials get stuck to machine parts or to each other. Operators do not like getting electric or static shock. The dust in the surrounding area is attracted by the electric charge. In explosion hazardous zones, static charge can cause a spark, which in turn can cause a fire or even an explosion.

What is the effect of static electricity


In production processes, static electricity can often be a severe process disruption(examples), as it means that materials get stuck to machine parts or to each other. Operators do not like getting electric or static shocks. The dust in the surrounding area is attracted by the electric charge. In explosionhazardous zones, static charge can cause a spark, which in turn can cause a fire or even an explosion.

How can static electricity be controlled

How can static electricity be controlled

Neutralising or eliminating the static electrical charge on nonconductors is carried out by means of active ionisation. Simco is world-renowned as a producer of ionisation equipment. The high-voltage-generator creates a high-voltage on points of this equipment, air molecules are split up into positive and negative ions. The static charge on the product attracts ions of the opposite polarity, therefore neutralising the material. Simco has a wide range of equipment to choose from depending on which type is the most suitable for certain production processes or applications. A selection of the right type of equipment is depending on many factors but mostly on the distance to the material that needs to be neutralized. However, static electricity can also be useful. Using high voltage, materials can be given a static charge so that they will stick to each other(static cling) temporarily, thus simplifying production processes. To put it simply, Simco produces equipment for measuring , eliminating and controlling static electricity. Through a unique concept, the IQ Easy Platform, up to thirty ionisation and charging devices can be connected in a network and allows full control over all parameters, fully prepared for industry 4.0 applications and integrations. All devices communicate with each other to optimize efficiency and provide optimal control. Simco-Ion has created a short video series about this topic that you can find on Youtube, a link to the first video can be found here.

How Static Charges Hinder Manufacturing Processes:

  • Converting: static charge buildup results in dust and dirt attraction to web. Material is rejected. Winder problems.
  • Packaging: static charge buildup attracts contaminants so that clear labels do not stick. Production decreases.
  • Plastics: injection molded parts attract contaminants and shock personnel during processing due to static charges. Efficiency declines.
  • Textiles: static charges cause threads to bind and break in creels and warpers. Machine downtime.
  • Nonwoven: trim collection systems clog due to increasing static electricity buildup on materials in pneumatic conveyors. Increased maintenance.
  • Printing: sheet-fed press feed and delivery is troublesome due to static. Untimely delivery, pad-printing, tampon printing.
  • Graphic Arts: static charge buildup while processing film results in costly retouching or remakes. Dissatisfied customers.
  • Medical Device Manufacturing: static charges attract contaminants to small plastic parts prior to packaging. Decreased quality.
  • Electronics: destructive electrostatic discharge (ESD) causes latent damage to board assembly. Field failure.

How SIMCO Static Control Equipment Enhances Manufacturing Processes

  • Converting: neutralized material remains free of dust and dirt during rewind. Decreased rejects.
  • Packaging: elimination of static charges on labels and/or bottles allows for successful application of product labels. Increased production.
  • Plastics: following neutralization, injection molded parts do not stick together while being conveyed. Line efficiency increases.
  • Textiles: threads run smoothly through creels and warpers run at optimum speeds without undue maintenance. No unnecessary downtime.
  • NonWovens: trim collection system runs without interruption due to static elimination of charges prior to entering cyclone. Increased production.
  • Printing: sheet-fed delivery is clean and stacked accurately-ready for bindery without adjustment. On time delivery.
  • Graphic Arts: processed film remains dust free, eliminating the need for remakes. Satisfied customers.
  • Medical Device Manufacturing: contaminant free packaging of small plastic parts due to elimination of static charges on parts and packaging materials. Increased quality.
  • Electronics and Semiconductor: protection from ESD during assembly work ensures achievement of quality assurance standards. Reduced product failure.

Would you like to know more about static electricity and the solutions we can offer you? Chat with us or send us an email or please fill in this contact form or call us on +31 (0) 573 288333


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