January 16, 2023

How to prevent static electricity with humidification

Static electricity

Consequences of static electricity

Static electricity occurs more frequently during winter time, but it is an all-season problem for many production sites. Even a small level of static electricity barely felt by a human (less than 1KV) can cause serious issues and damages at a production site. Below are some examples of the different issues which can be caused in various industries.


Static elecrticity related issues

Why does static electricity occur?

The factors can roughly be divided into three categories:

  1. Abrasion charging: Charges by rubbing objects.
  2. Peeling electrification: Charging by peeling / separating the object in contact.
  3. Inductive charging: When the charged object approaches the conductor, the polarity on the conductor, with an opposite charge to the polarity of the charged object, gathers on the surface of the conductor, thereby charging.


Static electricity

How to prevent static electricity

Humidification control is the best measure to prevent static electricity within a production site. When talking about the right humidity level, we distinguish between two different terms:

  • Relative humidity
  • Absolute humidity

When we hear “Humidity 0%”, it actually represents the “relative humidity”. And the “absolute humidity” is the amount of water contained in the air. As an indication, it is often said that “If you set the humidity to 50% or higher, it will be a countermeasure against static electricity”. But 50% of humidity means 50% of relative humidity. Even if the humidity is 50%, the amount of moisture (absolute humidity) contained in the air varies greatly depending on the temperature at that time (see table below).

relative versus absolute humidity and static electricity

In other words, what is really important for countermeasures against static electricity is “the amount of moisture contained in the air”, that is, “absolute humidity”. This means you need to correlate “temperature and relative humidity”.

There are cases in which static electricity countermeasures can be successful with a relative humidity of 40%. And in some other cases, static electricity countermeasures are not working even at a relative humidity of 60%.

SMT line with dry fog humidification to prevent static electricity

Prevent static electricity with our Dry Fog AKIMist® E solution

Steam humidification used to be the conventional humidification system on production site in order to easily control and stabilize humidity level. However, as heat generated from production machines is getting bigger, the number of sites that need to be cooled down all year long increased. Since steam humidification itself is also a source of heat, it became necessary to generate extra cooling. In addition, since steam humidification is dependent on crude oil and consumes a lot of energy, other humidification technologies started to become more popular.

Therefore, switching to a water spray humidification system, with a combines cooling and humidification and only 20% of the energy use, got quickly accepted.


The “Dry fog” trend spreading worldwide

The biggest disadvantage of water spray humidification was “water drops” and “nozzle clogging”. Dry Fog humidification has solved these issues and have thus become the best choice in water spray humidification. The humidifier AKIMist® “E” from IKEUCHI generates a fine dry fog, which replicates the natural hazy mist you can experience in the nature. The mist is so fine that it does not wet the environment and the surrounding objects. Thus, it also does not clog the nozzle and is practically maintenance free.

It is a total humidification system which can control the precise humidity level wanted with the installation of a sensor to the control panel.


Advantages of AKIMist® E 

  • Humidifying with water without wedding equipment (no water drops)
  • Prevents static electricity at production site
  • Easy installation by adding on to existing HVAC
  • Easily adaptable to changes in the floor layout
  • Its double advantage of cooling while humidifying
  • Reducing product loss and scrap
  • Improving product quality
  • Highly energy efficient
  • Low maintenance


Read more about static electricity: explosion due to electrostatic discharge