10. November 2015   7:46 pm
Wally Hansen

Wally Hansen
Belmont, CA

Cleaning, wetting, and surface activation is necessary to guarantee robust and reliable adhesive bonding of plastic and composite materials.

In a previous post, We Have a Water Problem, liquid cleaning was shown to be an inferior choice due to consumable costs, process control issues, and energy required to clean and dry the parts or components. The old adage of, “You are only as clean as your last rinse,” is really true.

For bonding preparation of low-surface-energy plastics, adhesion promoters and primers are well known and have been a common choice for decades. The adhesive providers have done a good job in making these primers work for a wide variety of materials and applications. There are many approaches and chemistries offered, including aggressive acid or alkali etching and some aqueous systems.

However, the most common priming systems for plastics contain high percentages of solvents, such as toluene, acetone or methanol, with the addition of highly profitable “Pixie Dust” chemistry additives. These liquid solvents typically attack (solvate) the plastic surface leaving the “Pixie Dust” chemistry on the surface.

Keep in mind that when you purchase a consumable primer, you are mostly buying solvents, with their associated hazards and process inefficiencies. You own that chemical for its entire life cycle, from the receiving dock to emissions and hazardous waste streams. Again and again.

Other undesirable attributes of a wet priming process are application issues such as mixing and masking, and energy costs to apply and cure the primer.

Time to apply and cure the primer may be the worst deficiency of wet primers. I have detailed some of these issues directly from the MSDS and Data sheets of typical and popular liquid primers for plastics.

TEN REASONS TO AVOID LIQUID PRIMING

  1. HANDLING AND STORAGE – Store in cool, dark place preferably between 60-75 degrees, away from sparks, flames and sources of ignition. Storage conditions can adversely affect properties.
  2. HEALTH HAZARDS – EYES: Can cause severe irritation, redness and tearing.
  3. HEALTH HAZARDS – SKIN: Prolonged contact can cause severe irritation and rash.
  4. HEALTH HAZARDS – INHALATION: Can cause nasal and respiratory irritation dizziness, weakness, fatigue and nausea. Also can causes kidney damage, liver damage in lab animals with chronic expos.
  5. FIRE/EXPLOSION HAZARDS: Vapors are heavier than air & may travel along ground and be ignited by pilot lights, other flames or sparks.
  6. SPILLS: Eliminate all possible sources of ignition such as pilot lights and flames. Absorb liquid. Stop spill at source.
  7. STABILITY/MATERIALS TO AVOID: Avoid contact with strong oxidizing agents. May form toxic materials such as carbon monoxide, various hydrogens and nitrogen compounds.
  8. WASTE DISPOSAL: Destroy by liquid incineration or dispose in approved landfill in accordance with local, state, and federal regulations.
  9. TIME: Apply and cure per instructions. Wait and watch it dry. Do you really have the time to prime?
  10. THERE IS A BETTER WAY: Plasmatreat’s Openair® Atmospheric Plasma cleaning and activation can replace wet primers. Using only compressed air and electricity, Openair® priming activation is fast, touchless and dry.

Save Time

Stay Dry

-Wally Hansen

Recommend
Wally Hansen

Wally Hansen
Business Development Manager
Belmont, CA

Editorial April 2015

whirlpool-waves

Water is everywhere…just not always where we want it. This past winter, the Eastern U.S. was inundated with snow and ice, while California and the Western U.S. are suffering from extreme drought. Availability of water is a growing concern around the world as it is a vital resource for the seven billion (and counting) people on Earth.

While representing only a small fraction of water usage as compared to that used in agriculture and for energy production, industrial use of water is on the rise. A staggering 18.2 billion gallons of fresh water are used every day for industrial use in the U.S. – about 4% of the total water used for all purposes.

Manufacturing one ton of automotive steel requires about 75,000 gallons of water. Actual manufacture of the vehicle itself requires an additional 39,000 gallons. Two and a half gallons of water are needed to produce a gallon of gasoline – and 20 gallons are needed to produce a pint of beer!

Critical part cleaning, for adhesion-related applications, represents a significant portion of industrial water use. Since the replacement of Freon and other solvent cleaning processes starting in the 1980s, U.S. industrial use of aqueous cleaning processes has become the norm.

But aqueous cleaning is a cost-intensive process, whether you’re looking at it from an environmental standpoint, a dollars-and-cents standpoint, or a labor standpoint.

Water needs to be delivered; detergents, surfactants and other chemicals are added and need to be kept in balance to control the washing process; additional processing is required to treat the waste water for recycling or disposal. Rinse water must also be clean and controlled. There is an old saying that “You are only as clean as your last rinse.”

Even after the part has been washed, it is still not ready for bonding, coating, painting, or printing. It needs to be dried, requiring additional energy costs, equipment footprint, time, and labor.

Furthermore, as mentioned above, water tends to not always go where we want it. Even with the best washing and drying processes, water’s influence remains at the molecular surface where adhesion occurs, interfering with a strong bond.

Molecular water resides in the oxides of aluminum and other metals. Water is absorbed and bonded within many polymers such as ABS and nylon. However, water molecules are not usually well-bonded and do not provide a robust bonding surface.

What if there was a better way for critical cleaning of organic contaminants? What if a process did not use water or other liquids but instead actually removed water from the molecular surface while vaporizing organic contaminants? It would be even better if this nano cleaning could be accomplished without touching the part and a chemical activation could occur to chemically bond to the adhesive, coating paint, or printing ink.

Save Water

Stay Dry

Plasma Clean

Recommend
Category: SOLAR
2. April 2013   1:07 am
Wally Hansen

Wally Hansen
Belmont, CA

A recent material society meeting was a real eye opener.  Dr. Ripudaman Malhotra, energy scientist at SRI International, and co-author of the above titled book, presented a fascinating lecture regarding our energy future.

Energy is measured in so many ways that it is difficult to evaluate actual demand and consumption. We have Btu, tons of coal, barrels of oil, and KWh, mostly measured in kilo, mega and giga-huge terms. A new measurement was needed that could be visualized.

Current world use of Oil is about 1 Cubic Mile in volume.  If we compare other energy sources, in equivalents of cubic miles of oil (CMO), we have a current world consumption of about 3 CMO primarily from Oil, Coal and Natural Gas. By comparison, current Solar and Wind renewables contribute a miniscule 0.03%.

At the rate of world growth, there will be a demand for between 6 and 9 CMO in 50 years.  There is currently plenty of fossil fuels remaining but they are from less conventional sources (shale, tar sands) and will be needed while we switch to new sources. A huge task!

 

Producing 1 CMO/ year from alternate technologies will require:

Hydroelectric:                 200 dams – 4 per year for 50 years

Nuclear:                           2,500 plants – 1 a week for 50 years

Windmills:                       3 million – 1,200 a week for 50 years

Solar CSP                       7,700 solar plants – 3 a week for 50 years

Solar roofs                      4.2 billion – 250,000 roofs a day for 50 years.

 

The good news: The sun offers 23,000 CMO/year as heat, wind, photovoltaic and biomass.  The raw material is available. It is time to go to work.

I would like to thank Dr. Ripudaman Malhotra for the use of this data from an extremely interesting lecture.

I recommend the book,  A Cubic Mile of Oil: Realities and Options for Averting the Looming Global Energy Crisis by Crane, Kinderman and Malhotra.

As always, your comments and questions are welcomed.

Regards,

Wally Hansen

 

Recommend
Category: SOLAR
17. July 2012   1:33 am
Wally Hansen

Wally Hansen
Belmont, CA

The recent turmoil in world-wide solar module manufacturing recalls a parallel situation in the early American Automotive Industry.

The Ford Motor Company introduced the Model T in 1908 at a price of $895. Due to part standardization and assembly line production, Ford was able to relentlessly cut costs year after year.

By 1923, Ford had reduced the price to $250, had put millions of Americans behind the wheel and was making over 50% of the cars in the world. The Model T was a successful design that had worked well for many years. In 1918 there were over 400 automobile manufactures in the US. By 1923 there were only 42.

Current photo voltaic manufacturing is following a similar pattern. With high demand driven by government incentives, large manufacturing capacity has been introduced. With economies of scale and competition for market share, the result has been massive oversupply and huge cost reduction of modules.

For 2012, there is approximately twice the production capacity as module demand. Crystalline Silicon, and specifically Chinese cSi modules, the Model T of solar, comprise over 50% of world production. While other approaches such as CIGS and CdTe thin films have been developed and commercialized, they cannot compete with proven cSi in today’s market.  As a result, there have been many production reductions and recent business failures.

Back to the Model T…Everything was looking great for Ford in 1923.  However by 1927, and even at a further reduced price to $200, the Model T had become hopelessly out of date. People wanted better comfort and features such as electrical starters. After over 15 million Model Ts were manufactured and sold, Model T production was halted. Ford never recaptured its dominant position.

Back to PV… Things will change. The advantages of solar energy are compelling. The current capacity/demand equation will change and become more balanced. At that point, there will be opportunities for something better. Better cost. Better efficiency. Better reliability. Better than the current Model T.

***

Whether you are manufacturing a Model T, a Tesla or cSi, thin film or concentrated PV, you need precision cleaning, sealing and adhesion to insure reliability. We can help.

As always, please contact me with questions or comments.

Wally Hansen
510 862 2581
wally.hansen@plasmatreat.com

Recommend
Category: SOLAR
15. May 2012   4:28 am
Wally Hansen

Wally Hansen
Belmont, CA

First Solar has announced a $250 million warranty charge for defective panels.  For about a year  First Solar had a “Manufacturing Excursion” that resulted in a 4%-8% field failure rate after only a couple of years of service.

First Solar has not commented on the exact nature of the “Excursion.”  Since it occurred over a period of a year and at three different  manufacturing facilities, I would not call this an “Excursion” but a misunderstanding of acceptable process tolerances or allowables.

This is especially troubling because First Solar is the largest and most successful US solar manufacturer.  They have the best equipment, the smartest  scientists and engineers, and probably the best understanding of their products.

“We thought everything was OK.  Our modeling was good.  Our in-process controls were good.  Our accelerated testing and certifications indicated no problems. We  inspected 100% of the modules. Everything is OK.” ……Followed several years later by, ”I think we may have a problem. We didn’t know,” You could hear some upset engineer or scientist say.

Solar modules are exposed to the harshest environmental conditions and are warranted to reliably produce power for decades. Solar materials, can continue to react and degrade with heat over time. Wind and structural loads mechanically stress  panels. Sealing and prevention of moisture ingression into the module is a key factor in preventing field failure. Understanding and improving environmental reliability was a manufacturing issue. Now it is a real financial issue.

I think that we can help. Plasmatreat’s Openair technology and production treatment systems have become an important tool for automated, reliable solar product manufacture.

  • Openair® Cleaning of glass and metal surfaces for reliable J-box attach, rail bonding and edge sealing
  • Openair® Activation of plastic junction boxes for critical and long-lasting potting adhesion
  • AntiCorr® Coatings for corrosion protection and adhesion promotion.

Avoid the Excursions and stay on the path.  Keep the water out and the smoke in.

As always, comments, opinions and ideas are welcome.

-Wally

Recommend
6. February 2012   1:01 am
Wally Hansen

Wally Hansen
Belmont, CA

 Before and After – A picture is worth a thousand words.

 

Recommend
Category: SOLAR
6. February 2012   12:17 am
Wally Hansen

Wally Hansen
Belmont, CA

Hello Everyone,

I would like introduce myself and invite you to participate in this discussion of solar product manufacturing and the role that plasma surface treatment is providing.

By introduction, I am Wally Hansen, the Solar Market Manager for Plasmatreat in North America.  I live and work in the San Francisco Bay area.  As a Californian, I am an avid outdoorsman, sailor, environmentalist and lover of the sun.

For several decades, I have worked in the field of plasma surface treatments for critical manufacturing applications. Plasma cleaning and activation has become common in solar product manufacturing. The ability to clean materials to atomic levels and rearrange the surface chemistry for adhesion is remarkable.  To do it in-line, 24/7, without chemicals, emissions or touching the surface is amazing.

We in the solar manufacturing world, are facing amazing opportunities and challenges.  Sometimes, it is hard to see the good we do when today’s pressure is performance, yield,  and cost cost cost . We are asked for long-term performance and environmental guarantees on our products that have rarely been done before.  How well would your car perform after sitting in a field for 25 years? How long would your flat screen television last if attached to your roof?

I would like to make this blog a place for open discussion of plasma and solar manufacturing,  especially as it relates to cleaning, bonding, sealing or environmental protection.  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 related to solar manufacturing and the role of plasma surface treatments on solar materials.  I would think that those of you involved in solar R&D, engineering, manufacturing and reliability may have an interest in participation.  I would love to invite the materials community as well. Please join me with your comments, questions, suggestions and interesting topics.

-Wally

 

 

Recommend
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

 

Recommend