Meech International has been designing and manufacturing static control solutions for over 40 years. Its systems are installed throughout the world, with over 7,000 companies using its innovative products to improve productivity, quality and ultimately profitability. As part of its product development process, Meech looks at key market areas and ensures that its customers are provided with the systems they need to carry out their specific applications. So, Jetstream was born " />

Issue: Apr 2008


Jetstream at Honda - Driving Quality Forward



by Steve Barclay

Meech International has been designing and manufacturing static control solutions for over 40 years. Its systems are installed throughout the world, with over 7,000 companies using its innovative products to improve productivity, quality and ultimately profitability. As part of its product development process, Meech looks at key market areas and ensures that its customers are provided with the systems they need to carry out their specific applications. So, Jetstream was born for the automotive industry.

Jetstream is a unique, ionising air knife system designed primarily for contamination removal. Within the automotive industry, applications are focused to improve paint quality on plastic components and increase first time pass rates. Throughout the industry, Jetstream ionising air knife systems are used prior to the painting of the car, van and truck bodies, as well as components such as wing mirrors and spoiler and in Honda of the UK Manufacturing Limited (HUM) case, bumpers.

In order for the best possible paint finish to be achieved, HUM needs to ensure that after arriving from the injection moulding line, that bumpers are thoroughly cleaned and neutralised before they undergo the primer application stage. This cleaning process will remove the particles and other manufacturing deposits left over from the injection moulding cycle and neutralise any static charge that is inherent in the plastic products. The static charge causes more dirt to be attracted to the surface and unsatisfactory cleaning will result in a poor paint finish and the bumpers would not pass the stringent quality control procedure in place at the factory.

HUM wanted to find a system that would seamlessly integrate into the bumper paint line and produce clean, static-free bumpers ready for painting.

Unique Design Guarantees Results

Combining Meech’s expertise in static control and air technology, Jetstream is a unique system that provides ultimate performance together with outstanding energy efficiency. The modular Jetstream system is tailored to meet the customer’s specific requirements but comprises essential components that serve to blow high pressure ionised air over the target substrate. The airflow is generated by a powerful blower and a specially developed ionising air knife.

The basis of operation of the Jetstream system is that high-pressure air is generated at the fan unit and is delivered to the air knives through ducting. The air is then discharged at velocities of up to 100 metres per second. As it leaves the manifold, the air passes between two integral ionising bars. This ionised air, aimed the components to be cleaned, will break electrostatic bonds holding contaminants to the surface, enabling effective removal and preventing re-attraction.

Ensuring Quality and Saving Money

Both high air pressure and high air volume are key factors in the cleaning performance. Compressed air systems provide high pressure but insufficient volume to remove contamination efficiently. Blower control on the Jetstream can be a simple on/off button or an inverter for energy saving and more accurate regulation of airflow.

The unique ‘tear drop’ designed manifold of Jetstream also delivers a balanced, continuous blade of ionised air for consistent performance, avoiding the ‘striping’ problems that are seen with the nozzles used on most compressed air system. The result of significant R&D effort, this tear drop design also minimises the entrainment of potentially "dirty" ambient air so ensuring only clean air is blown out of the system.

At the HUM plant, the system has been configured so that the air knives move through a number of preset positions to provide optimum dust removal. The unique design of Jetstream includes a closed re-circulating extraction system ensuring that dirt does not re-circulate and re-contaminate the painted bumpers.

Payback Time

Although the initial investment in a Jetstream system maybe higher, the lifetime cost of ownership is substantially lower. Energy savings, often up to 80%, and productivity improvements deliver a payback, in many instances less than 12 months. Meech’ s system is also less expensive in terms of both capital expenditure and running costs than equivalent ostrich feather systems.

Jetstream At Honda

Even with its demanding workload, Jetstream has lived up to its reputation. "Reliability has never been an issue." says the Plastics Operations Manager. " The Jetstream system always runs smoothly and does its job, ensuring our ability to build high quality bumpers."



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