Category: AUTOMOTIVE
15. March 2013   1:58 pm
Tim Smith

Tim Smith
Ancaster, Ontario

Plasma treatment is usually associated with the cleaning and activation of polymers. I would like to highlight the fact that plasma is also a very effective way to clean and activate metallic surfaces.
When an adhesive or paint is applied to an aluminum surface, the bond actually happens between the adhesive and the oxide layer that is present on the aluminum. Naturally forming aluminum oxide is an unstable, and non-uniform, surface to bond to.
By using atmospheric plasma as a pre-treatment to aluminum, not only will the contaminants be removed in exactly the same way as they are on polymer surfaces, but the density and stability of aluminum oxide layer as well as its associated hydroxyl group concentration will be increased.
This resulting new layer will allow for the formation of covalent bonding of the adhesive to the aluminum.

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12. March 2013   2:44 am
Khoren Sahagian

Khoren Sahagian

 

This plasma may be reminiscent of summer or tequila sunrise, but is beautiful bright plasma always a good thing?  The unique spectral emission of a gas or vapor plasma results from the relaxation of electrons from their excited states.  Electrons form discreet orbits around the nucleus of an element or compound.  Energy is released in the form of light when an electron falls from a higher energy state to a lower energy state.  The distance the electron fell governs the wavelength of the light that is emitted.   But how important is the intensity of the glow? The more energy you put into a system the greater the intensity of the glow and the concentration of reactive species.  But this does not necessarily mean a greater degree of surface modification.  Ions generate friction and if the mean free path is not sufficiently small then heat may disrupt or reorient the polymeric surface that is being modified.  Too much energy is also responsible for ablation and fragmentation of compounds and/or larger molecules.  Too much fragmentation of a surface may leave you with a weak boundary layer.  Pulsed power and low duty cycles make for less interesting plasma.  But in a lot of situations this helps preserve the chemical structure of the matter being constructed.  Controlling the energy and energy delivery is often important when it comes to custom polymerization of ultra thin coatings.

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Category: PACKAGING
8. March 2013   9:32 pm
Andy Stecher

Andy Stecher
Elgin, IL

Hello again packaging professionals.

In this post I am going to briefly touch on the cost savings and ROI enabled by plasma treatment in the folding carton industry.

There are multiple opportunities for cost savings with the implementation of plasma treatment.   One of these is the ability to floodcoat UV coated boards and bond directly to the coated surface instead of cutting printing blankets to allow for good glue adhesion.   A facility that can save 20 blankets per month can pay for a single jet plasma system in less than 8 months on that savings alone.

Another major area of savings is adhesives.   Plasma treatment of UV coatings or poly coated boards can allow manufacturers to change from holt melt to cold glue.   In addition, less glue may be required to achieve the same results.   Implementing plasma treatment on difficult to bond jobs can also allow for the use of the same cold glue plantwide, eliminating the need for multiple adhesive types (including more expensive alternatives that were used in the past).

Plasma treatment can greatly enhance productivity as well.   It has been seen in real world trials and in current production applications that plasma treatment can help increase line speed by as much as 100%!   This is obviously a huge savings especially on large jobs where multiple millions of cartons are run through a folder-gluer.

Lastly and possibly most importantly is the increase in bonding quality that results from a plasma treatment.   As discussed in previous posts, plasma treatment allows for true chemical bonding between the substrate and adhesive.   This provides bonding strengths that have never been seen before in the industry.   Trusting the bonding of folding cartons to old methods and hoping they work is very risky business.   One rejection claim from a customer can pay for several plasma units!

In an ever more difficult manufacturing environment, plasma treatment is the natural choice that allows facilities to progress and reach their financial goals much quicker as they face more cost pressures from their clients.

That’s all for now.   My next entry will focus on food and pharmaceutical packaging applications.

Thanks for your attention.

Shaun Glogauer.

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8. March 2013   5:10 pm
Andy Stecher

Andy Stecher
Elgin, IL

We get many inquiries regarding our coating technology.  Hydrophilic, hydrophobic, insulative, protection from the elements; you name it, there is someone out there that is looking for the tailored properties I’ve mentioned and more.  All mentioned are possible with our technology, however not in all scenarios and material combinations.  Is a series of blogs I will attempt to address the typical end goals of customers and where we can help the most.

Hydrophilicity is the most common request, and we can satisfy it via a few methods.  It is a measurement of how easily water wets out across a surface which is also a measurement of how functional (receptive to bonding) that surface is.  Our standard atmospheric plasma will typically elevate the surface energy of a material to a point well in excess of 72 dynes, which is where water wets out across a surface.  Similarly, we can deposit a glass-like nano-layer and elevate it’s surface energy to above 72 dynes as well.  The reason to use this coating rather than activate the material directly is that not all materials have strong longevity of treatment or are chemically receptive to all material combinations. Softer materials or those with many additives may only hold treatment for a few minutes before observing a drop. However if you properly adhere the coating to the surface while it is freshly activated the coating will be permanently adhered.  This layer can in turn be activated and will exhibit great longevity of treatment and can provide a necessary link between dissimilar materials.

The surfaces will only stay active/clean if you keep them that way.  A highly functional surface with oil smeared on it is now an oil surface. Additionally, that oil has likely rendered the plasma treatment neutral, requiring another cleaning and functionalization (whether by coating or just standard plasma). Luckily, with plasma there is little concern with treating a part again and you can regain the desired properties with ease.

By coating the work piece you have chosen the surface you want rather than having that be dictated by your material choice.  This opens up the design process as ‘design for assembly’ often means choosing materials that are easily bonded and now that can be almost any material with a PlasmaPlus coating!

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Andy Stecher

Andy Stecher
President Plasmatreat USA
Elgin, IL

Editorial March 2013

Here at Plasmatreat we believe in creating a very specific value for our customers. At the end of the day it is not important how great the technology really is – if it does not do a job, i.e. create a distinct value for your operation, all the technology is really meaningless. In order to best assess whether our low pressure and astmospheric advanced plasma technology can be of value to you, we aim to meet with our customers, existing or potential. When we engage in personal conversations, we can discern if we get to the “No”, i.e. no we cannot help you or it does not make sense or “Yes”, we have some ideas where our technology could benefit you.

We would always prefer to meet directly and indvidually with you, preferably within your company’s operations. However we also show presence at various conferences and trade shows, here in North America, as well as all over the world. Some of the most important show and conference events that also attract many customers from North America for 2013 are part of this blog entry.

At this year’s Hannover Fair 2013 Plasmatreat and new partner efc Plasma, a company specializing in tailor-made layering processes and powder management technology, will jointly present a newly developed fine powder coating unit based on Openair® plasma on the SurfPlaNet platform of the Surface Technology show. Come and visit us at the Hannover Messe from 8-12, April, 2013!  Surface Technology, SurfPlaNet, Exhibition Hall 3, Booth F 43.

Other upcoming events in North America where you can meet us:

I recommend this interesting Read: Material Science Newsletter: Short History of Plasma

Here or wherever convenient, let us know where we can best engage with you or your team members regarding material surface challenges requiring cleaning, pre-treatment, functionalization, better adhesion.

 

 

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Mikki Larner

Mikki Larner
Vice President Sales & Marketing
Belmont, CA

Editorial March 2013

I just attended Peter Sims’s though provoking presentation, “Little bets and black sheep:  the revolution will be improvised.”  I highly recommend viewing the presentation on line.  It can be accessed via http://www.parc.com/events/forum.html.  If you are not familiar with the *FREE* PARC speaker series, register.  They are TED style talks that are 100% accessible either in person at thePalo Alto facility or via the web.  I typically view live, on-line via the Justin-TV feed.

Watch it and stay for the Q&A.   Excellent questions from our peers, about how to take the reality of what many face in large corporations and integrate with his ideas (that on paper everyone wants, but when it comes down to business, often not supported).

His main message is that investing in many small ideas may yield a higher success rate and less failure than researching and investing in one big “bet.”  It is a new telling of don’t put all your eggs in one basket:  diversify.   Learning from the failures of these small “bets” mitigates risk from one big failure.

100 small bets = 6 % success rate.

Peter writes:

“Bill Hewlett, an ardent proponent of small bets, estimated that HP would have to make about 100 small bets to get to six breakthrough ideas. Writers for the humor publication the Onion, meanwhile, estimate that to discover eighteen headlines each week requires trying about 600 possibilities, a 3 percent success rate. You learn from each little bet, so it’s hard to quantify success or failure in black and white percentage terms, but the point is, if you want to do something new, you can’t expect your first little bet to become a breakthrough. It’s a volume and iteration game. The best entrepreneurs I’ve known think of learning the way most people think of failure.”

As it relates to our plasma development programs, don’t expect that the first process out the gate will work.  Give it your “best shot” isn’t going to yield success, unless you are just super lucky.  And with the year of the Black Water Snake, need to have a lucky element of “Water” to obtain fortune this year!  If you are a fire sign, not such a lucky year for you.  Ensure this year that you invest in multiple small facilities for storage of your firecrackers versus just one.

This is the extent of my fortune telling!  Back to R&D and scientific methods.

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