1. May 2016   6:04 pm
Andy Stecher

Andy Stecher
Elgin, IL

It’s NBA playoff time.  Living in Chicago, I am reminded of the years where arguably one of the world’s greatest basketball players, Michael Jordan could not win a championship. Although the Bulls eventually won six titles in eight years during the 1990s success did not happen until Jordan built a strong team around him. For three straight years the Bulls battled the Detroit Pistons in the playoffs, and for three straight years they left bruised and beaten.  The Pistons were simply the better team. As Jordan himself observed “talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.”

Plasma is an all-star in the role of cleaning, activating, and coating surfaces to make them for printing, coating or bonding. But the most successful applications are often those where there is coordination and teamwork with other parts of the manufacturing process such as process  control, material handling, dispensing, or curing.

In a couple of weeks, Plasmatreat is teaming up with two other companies we have had great success with in the past; Precision Valve and Automation (PVA) and DELO Adhesives. Together we are presenting a technical webinar:


 

Fast Optical Bonding:
An Integrated Solution for Flat, Curved, and Flexible Displays
Thursday, May 12, 2016
2 PM Eastern Time
(there is no cost to attend)


 

This webinar discusses the latest trends in electronic display manufacturing such as changes in substrates, flexible and curved displays, and UV LED curing. For our part, Plasmatreat will discuss how plasma excels at cleaning and activating plastic and glass substrates for better performance.  Our partners will discuss advance s in adhesives and sealants, dispensing and curing equipment, and system integration.

But the real benefit of this initiative is in providing customers with an integrated, team-oriented, solution.  Many plant managers have learned the lesson of loyal Bulls fans – even with the best players, it often takes a team to win. Casey Stengel said, “finding good players is easy – getting them to play as a team is another story.”  Teamwork avoids the blame and finger pointing when things go wrong.  I am proud of Plasmatreat, but I am also proud that Plasmatreat has teamed up on so many occasions with leading industry suppliers to produce a successful process.

I invite you to attend this webinar. To register click on the link below:

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/7488361753958739204

Recommend
Khoren Sahagian

Khoren Sahagian
Materials Scientist

Editorial July 2014

Plasma treatments are a permanent and covalent substrate modification.  However many references note diminishing effects of plasma treatments with time.  One generalized conclusion is that the plasma modification is a temporary effect.  This conclusion is not inherently accurate or applicable to all plasma and material systems.  In truth there are many factors that govern the success and longevity of a plasma modification.  Research in plasma lacks harmonization in equipment, setup/configuration, and material selection.  These are key variables in a plasma modification.  Results from one method may not necessarily translate well to another experimental setup or class of material.  For this reason some engineering reviews of gas plasma do more to confound than to elucidate the scientific dialogue within industry.

 

Equipment design is of particular relevance in plasma industry.  This includes but is not limited to the electrode configuration, matching, RF frequency, and equipment geometry.  Many apparatus used in academia boast custom fabricated equipment or custom modification to existing tools.  Their equipment exemplifies engineering capabilities.  In my opinion the effectiveness of the equipment to a material system is specific and rarely generalizable to all materials or apparatus.

 

Plasma chemistry and substrate material should be matched correctly.  Some polymer systems may be either resistant or sensitive to specific plasma chemistry.  It is not enough to report gas, pressure, and power.   A complete characterization should understand the plasma stoichiometry and a hypothesis of the surface interaction.  Furthermore it must be accepted that many polymer systems are mobile, may swell with gas or moisture, or may undergo relaxation mechanisms.  Therefore be careful to consider pairing a material system with appropriate plasma source and plasma chemistry.

Recommend
Khoren Sahagian

Khoren Sahagian
Materials Scientist

Editorial May 2014

The current generation of consumers will eventually become displaced by the millennials.  Product development and marketing experts will be learning to cope with the new idiosyncrasies of ‘Generation Y’.  Firstly, many of these individuals do not form strong allegiances to brands.  Second, emotional connections appear to have the greatest dominance over consumer selection.  And finally, there is greater importance in first discovery.  The arising rules are reminiscent of a Japanese candy bar shelf; no consecutive month will display the same colors, cartoons, or shapes.  So what are some potential implications to the consumer manufacturing space?  Some trends are already becoming clear.

GenY Automation: versatile robotic platforms continue to be integral in production implementation.  Some of the new mechanization is more mobile, easily programmable, rapidly deployed, and cross disciplined in many different categories of operation.

GenY Materials: Whether olefin or bio-based, the custom polymer formulation could lose attractiveness.  Engineers could abandon the new design of materials with chemistry for more accessible technologies that alleviate material constraints with processing methods.

GenY Fabrication:  3D printing promises new and extremely custom fabrication that are uninhibited by classical machine tools or setup.  DIY design will empower individuals to create niche products for myriad markets.  And after this revolution 4D printing envisions the self-assembly of structures likened to proteins inside living bodies.

GenY Environment: Future consumers assert a greater demand for re-usability and a low environmental impact.  There is a less tolerance for waste in an ever shrinking planet with finite resource.

The manufacturing plants that are best adapted to the changing landscape will claim the lion’s share of consumer purchase.  The challenges will be non-trivial.  On the inside consumer products will require simple molecules that are biodegradable, easily formed, and bond-able.  And on the outside these products may take on radical forms, become regional fads, and short life-cycle.

Recommend
Do you have an offshoring or re-shoring experience to share?
14. September 2013   5:38 pm
Khoren Sahagian

Khoren Sahagian

On September 13th I asked a Product Realization Group  panel whether they shared the perspective of US manufacturing as being risk-adverse and slow to adopt new manufacturing innovations.  I was surprised as to the answers I received.

Here in the Silicon Valley and elsewhere the culture of off-shoring is changing; especially in the high technology arena.  North American manufacturing still offers better inventory control, higher yield, better performance, and stronger rate /culture for innovation.  High technology development does not just apply to the product but to all aspects of product realization.  A locally integrated and culturally aligned supply chain enables quick response and a faster pace for adopting innovative practices.

A few hidden costs of overseas manufacturing are language barriers, time zone delays, supply chain management, and breaches in intellectual property.  The later involves overseas shops as transferring engineering diagrams, tooling, and shop floor practices among direct competitors!!  Many also find a greater resistance to change in China.  Furthermore the regulated spaces there are relatively ill-defined or inconsistent.

There is also a common misconception amongst students that manufacturing jobs are not good but this is simply untrue.  The educational systems should paint new images of modern manufacturing as cool and clean which are its true colors today.  Plasmatreat and Plasma Technology Systems are glad to be a part of new manufacturing innovation.

 

PRG – product realization group: http://www.productrealizationgroup.com/index.php

/p

Recommend
27. May 2013   4:45 pm
Andy Stecher

Andy Stecher
Elgin, IL

The second installment in this series addresses the opposite of the first, creating a hydrophobic surface.  First we must ask what they are and why such a surface would be desired.  There are a number of answers but as a colleague of mine wisely says ‘Plasma is not a panacea’.

Hydrophobic surfaces are by-definition surfaces with lower energy states than the 72 mN/m (dyne) energy level at which water is attracted.  In essence, this is a surface water does not like to be on.  Droplets may form through condensation or be placed on them directly, but they will not spread.  They prefer their own level of energy and therefor contract to have the smallest contact with the surface they can muster.  This is what you see when water beads up on the freshly-waxed hood of your car.  The water may be held in place by gravity, but like a kid in the Principal’s office, they don’t want to be there.

So the first thing that comes to mind is that these coatings are designed to keep things dry.  That is the ‘How’, and here are some of the reasons why:  By repelling water on the edges of a case, you are keeping it away from damaging what is inside.  This same property can be used to divert small flows to the areas where you want them in micro-fluidic devices, such as medical test apparatus.  They will also resist water-based liquids such as paints or adhesives and minimize their ability to be permanently bonded to surfaces.  This makes a material easier to clean.

The coatings applied using our PlasmaPlus deposition system are based on the same SiOx chemistry used for hydrophilic coatings, with modifications to the process to make the surface energy as low as possible.  In most cases this is not below the as-molded surface energy of less expensive polymers such at polypropylene or HDPE, but it is much lower than the energy levels of most metals.  For this reason, the hydrophobic properties of these coatings are best used to inhibit corrosion.  They can resist the accumulation of physi-adsorbed water which can be a driver for corrosion.  Due to it’s other bonding characteristics, this same layer can act to promote adhesion in non-water-based systems.  The end result is a water-repellent bondline that is also chemically bonded by adhesive used.  This can be used to seal metal surfaces with much greater reliability than just cleaning and adhesive, thus extending part life dramatically!

Recommend
Andy Stecher

Andy Stecher
President Plasmatreat USA
Elgin, IL

Editorial April 2012

America and Canada are a truly great countries. Both regions are characterized by truly freedom loving people, both feature strong democracies despite the daily stalemates and political quabbles.  While their economies in general are powerful and have created some of the largest wealth per capita in the world, the recent 10-15 years have been marked by, in my view, myopic activities in industry: Manufacturing was given up on. With China achieving first “most favored nation status” and then later gaining access to the WTO, thus allowing for tax and duty favored imports, many manufacturing companies started to believe that they could not compete with China as well as other countries in the SE Asia region with their low wages and other low operating costs. Comprehensive new supply chain systems were set up, new operating and trading relationships were established, more and more company managers became ex-patriates. Some companies that wanted to continue producing product in North America were forced by large retailers such as WalMart to move their operations to a China location. The common crede became: Operating our production in China is the better way, there is no such future in North America.  

I disagreed from the Get-Go. I always believed that America needs manufacturing. One needs to build things to create value. Our countries cannot simply be service and consumption oriented societies. We saw what happened if when relied on the finance/banking sector alone. It created huge wealth only for a very few and when it all went wrong, we were all asked to pay the bill.

Manufacturing creates jobs at all levels, stimulates personal and professional creativity, helps shape products and processes and let us focus on the future by taking direct control. Plasmatreat works with manufacturers all over the world creating better and more productive operating environments. Here in Canada and the USA we have the potential to reclaim a top spot in the global arena of manufacturers. Designing and building product creates not only possibilities domestically but also sets the stage for successful exports. The USA in particular has been suffering from a negative trade deficit for several decades now. We need to think about reversing the flow of dollars into America not away from America. We need to support the Reindustrialization of America – we need to believe again in manufacturing. Plasmatreat together with our many industrial partners continuously are presenting ideas how to create competitive operating environments right here in North America. Our projects reach into various markets such as Solar, Medical, Packaging, Automotive and Electronics. We look foward to mastering the challenge to compete with low cost production countries, but we believe we can. Do you, too?

Till next time,

Andy

 

 

Recommend
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.

 

Recommend