Mikki Larner

Mikki Larner
Vice President Sales & Marketing
Belmont, CA

Editorial January 2012

Welcome to my blog. I specialize in the use of low pressure plasma for modification of materials for the life sciences industry.

A good friend, Dyana, left on a spur of the moment trip Tuesday, January 24, to view the Aurora Borealis in Alaska. According to the Geophysical Institute’s Aurora Forecast website (http://www.gi.alaska.edu/AuroraForecast/2012/01/24) Tuesday was a level 5 “extreme” night for viewing. Dyana, an avid surfer, is always following the wave report, so found it no surprise that there are people out there following the aurora forecast. Pretty cool!

After getting over some jealousy about her special trip opportunity and spontaneous ability (thankfully, the jealousy was only a passing emotion), I remembered pressing my face against the small very cold airplane window, while standing in the rear of the plane, when flying home over Greenland this winter and seeing a fantastic green light show.

Every time I get on a plane knowing that the flight path takes the plane (and lucky passengers) over high latitudes, I wish for this opportunity. This is the first time the wish has come true. The contrast of the green glow against the pristine white ice covered mountains was indescribable and just surreal. (Thankfully most of the folks on the plane were sleeping so I had an interrupted peaceful private viewing.)

Every working day, I can also walk into our lab and watch the same spectacular light glows in our manufactured systems. The aurora is the inspiration for our company and varieties of fabulous images (thanks to Dirk at http://borealis2000.com/) are used in our marketing materials. Check out http://www.plasmatechsystems.com/default.asp for a couple of his images.

It amazes me that our entire business is based on harnessing (as our founder likes to say) “the power of plasma.”

Nature inspiring man.

Next post: Dy’s trip report and “the power of plasma” for modifying medical devices.

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Andy Stecher

Andy Stecher
President Plasmatreat USA
Elgin, IL

Editorial January 2012

I often struggle to explain what we do here.  When you spend half a day working with advanced aerospace and the other half putting a wood laminate on a plastic toilet seat, it can be difficult to cover the full spectrum of how plasma is used without glazing over a few eyes.  Quite simply put, we work on surfaces.  After that, the story becomes a bit unbelievable.

Cleaning metals?  Sure.  Activating polymers?  Of course.  Why not throw in glass-like nano-coating or restructuring oxide layers?  Already done.  The fact is; there is something plasma can do to improve the properties of almost any material when it comes to bonding.  The same tool that is providing a reliable seal on the majority of the world’s headlights is also being used (with a few tweaks) to stop corrosion ingress on Aluminium and make seamless furniture.  It is powerful and we are still finding new uses daily.

So what do we do here?  Well, we work on surfaces.  And last I checked, there was no shortage of variety.

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Tim Smith

Tim Smith
Vice President Operations
Ancaster, Ontario

Editorial

I thought I would produce a series of blog entries outlining some of the most common technical questions I receive regarding Plasmatreat equipment. 

The internal electrode in the plasma jet and the nozzle at the tip of the jet are wear items.  The plasma arc begins at the inner electrode and ends at the nozzle and because of this, over time, some material is removed from both. 

In addition to the above wear, the nozzle experiences the plasma stream blasting through the opening at end of it and this causes the nozzle orifice to increase in diameter.

The normal life of each of these components is approximately 3000-5000 hours depending upon the amount of plasma energy being used and the quality of the air being fed to the system. 

Plasmatreat has developed an ingenious method for monitoring this wear and indicating to the operator or maintenance staff that the nozzle is in need of replacement.  The air pressure developed inside of the plasma jet will drop as the diameter of the exit orifice on the nozzle increases.  By monitoring this pressure and comparing its value against predetermined limits, a warning can be displayed indicating nozzle wear. 

So by keeping the air supply to the Plasmatreat equipment clean and dry, (three stage filtering to 0.3 um is sufficient), you can obtain the maximum life out of both electrode and nozzle. And by incorporating the pressure feedback option, you can have the system indicate to you when it is time to change the nozzle. 

 

 

 

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Category: ELECTRONICS
26. January 2012   7:11 pm
Tim Smith

Tim Smith
Ancaster, Ontario

One of the most common questions I am asked, right after “what is plasma” and “how long does the surface stay activated”, (topics for future blogs), is “Does plasma treatment harm sensitive electronic devices”?

The answer to this is that it depends upon which system and nozzle you are using.  Plasmatreat has developed a special nozzle design that allows for the creation of a plasma that has zero electrical potential.  This allows for the direct treatment of fully populated printed circuit boards before over-molding, potting or conformal coating.

This system can also be used to clean gold or copper contacts to an atomic level to assist in wire bonding operations.

The ability to improve bonding without the use of harmful chemicals makes plasma treatment a welcome choice for many companies.

 

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Category: AUTOMOTIVE
23. January 2012   3:45 pm
Gerry Dziedzina

Gerry Dziedzina
Elgin, IL

Welcome to PlasmaTreat.

A frequent problem manufcturers encounter is poor adhesion of the coatings to the various substrates on a vehicle. Different coating technologies used for the different substrates can have a different appearance. The use of a PlasmaTreat System will allow for the same coating to gain proper adhesion regardless of the substrate. This reduces the number of number of coatings required while improving the overall quality and reducing associated costs.

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3. January 2012   7:09 pm
Wally Hansen

Wally Hansen
Belmont, CA

Hello Everyone,

I would like introduce myself and invite you to participate in this discussion of Aerospace applications and the role that plasma surface treatment can provide.

By introduction, I am Wally Hansen, the Aerospace Market Manager for Plasmatreat in North America. I have been involved in plasma applications and advanced composites  since the 1980s .

The extent of applications, in Aerospace, where plasma has been used, is extensive.  From microelectronics, to critical cleaning of metals and ceramics, to structural bonding of composites, plasma treatments have been qualified and used. The ability to clean materials to atomic levels and rearrange the surface chemistry for adhesion is remarkable.  To be able to do it with no solvents, abrasives or touch labor, saves money and is better for the environment.

I would like to make this blog a place for open discussion of plasma and aerospace manufacturing,  especially as it relates to cleaning, bonding,  or coating of aerospace materials.

If  you have questions or wish a private discussion, please do this through our “Ask the Expert” feature of the Plasmatreat.com website or at email me at wally.hansen@plasmatreat.com

I will be posting information, ideas and links that I hope will be of interest.  Please send your comments, questions, suggestions or interesting topics.

-Wally

 

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