Andy Stecher

Andy Stecher
President Plasmatreat USA
Elgin, IL

Editorial June 2012

Recently I visited an upstart company in two of their
locations, Detroit and San Francisco. TechShop is an organization that allows
for young inventors and aspiring entrepreneurs to draft, design, and build
prototypes of their fledgling creations. Their respective ~20,000 sqft
facilities offer original, full scale equipment in the areas of CAD design,
stitching, weaving, sawing, milling, lathing, drilling, painting, coating allowing
the work with all kinds of substrates such as woven, nonwoven, wood, metals,
plastics, glass and other materials. TechShop started in Menlo Park and San
Jose about 5 years ago and is now expanding all over the country. New locations
will open up soon in a town near you.

TechShop opens an amazing avenue to gain excess to the most
intricate machines and to operate within one’s own little factory with all
necessary process steps all for very little money. In Detroit I met the builder
of a full scale contrabass, an immigrant from Europe who came to this country thinking
that he would have to give up his trade in light of lack of funds to build
these beautiful instruments. Now he builds about 5 per year in TechShop and
sells them successfully. There are other successful examples including one
company that has recently received valuations of up to $1bn for a product first
designed and built at TechShop.

TechShop has the ability to be one of the mosaic pieces (albeit
small)  of rebuilding America to become once
again an advanced manufacturing region of the world. It starts with an idea,
gets converted into an actual product and once proven and accepted will
hopefully lead to new manufacturing start-ups over the years to come all over
the country – Exciting!

What is next? TechShop will now incorporate our Openair
plasma into their locations. Plasmatreat’s Openair plasma will allow these
aspiring inventors and creators to surfacetreat different materials in a safe,
efficient and very environmentally friendly way to achieve a better bond,
better look (ink, paint), stronger coating results.  TechShop and Openair plasma have one thing in
common – an idea which time has come!

Till next time,

Andy

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27. February 2012   1:00 am
Andy Stecher

Andy Stecher
Elgin, IL

Dear Reader,
 
One of the most impressive aspect about atmospheric plasma technology is the breadth of the available applications. From Whirlpool to Boeing, from Mercedes to Siemens, the customers, markets and product applications are really quite enthralling. One of the latest technological moves that helps “pushing the envelope” in this particular industry is the seamless edge or zero bondline for furniture makers. For years furniture manufacturers have struggled finding a good, clean and efficient way to attach the edgeband to veneer furniture. Of course, in a perfect world, a final work piece of veneer based furniture such as table tops, shelf pieces or wall elements for wall units or armoirs, could rival the look of all wood furniture with the distinct advantage of even better accomodating the customers’ wishes if the wood-only look does not suffice.
The holy grail in creating top quality furniture panels is producing secure edges with seamless edges or, as some people call it, zero bondlines. In any case, after adhering the polymer based edgeband, the edge seam should not be visible. Furniture edgebands are usually are joined in edgebanding machines after a hot melt adhesive was applied to the panel. Hot melt is a messy affair. It works but clean up is no fun. Also every so often, the glue has to be replaced as sitting in the glue pot all day, it tends to get crusty and becomes less effective and less efficient.
After conclusion of this process customers will often experience glue joint darkening. Often if the edgeband is not tightly adhered to the board, moisture can penetrate and cause the particle board under the veneer to bubble up. For higher quality furniture makers this is an unacceptable product result.
 
Newer processes rely on laser technology, but integrating that can pose safety-related complications, require elaborate equipment engineering, require speciality trained staff members, tends to be very costly.  Plasmatreat instead has developed an innovative atmospheric plasma based  solution to create a seamlesss and tight sealing edge. This plasma based edge works without applying an extra adhesive in the machine. A previously applied functional polymer layer replaces the former hot melt glue. All of a sudden the glue pot is gone, the messiness has disappeared, the material costs for glue and clean-up costs are vanished and the furniture manufacturer and their customers can admire a seamless edgeband product with strong adhesion to the board.
  • The resulting joint is no longer visible with the naked eye;
  • No glue joint so it is permanently colorfast and age resistant; and
  • Highly resistant to peeling, with great thermal stability
After implementing several dozen such applications in Europe, Plasmatreat is now in  partnership with a industry leading edgeband supplier in the United States to offer this leading edge technology (no pun intended) right here in North America. 
 
Consider this cool aspect: Simple and cost-effective integration, including into existing equipment!  In contrast to laser technology, Openair Plasma can be added to existing equipment very easily and without major expense, including to existing edge gluing systems. Plasma technology is suitable for equipping or retrofitting all categories of machinery – from the manual workstation, through simple through-feed machines, to high-speed equipment and two-dimensional machining centers. The result:
  • Less expensive edge band material since no expensive laser inhibitors are required;
  • Lower investment expenses, in particular when retrofitting existing systems;
  • Lower operating costs; and
  • Simple maintenance without expensive technical staff.

Interested? Questions? Shoot me a line, would love to tell you more about it.

Till next time

Andy

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Jeff Leighty

Jeff Leighty
Elgin, IL

Dear Reader,

Hello and welcome to the new PlasmaBlog! As the curtain goes up on our new blog we look forward to interacting with you–our readers. Whether you are an existing customer, future customer, partner supplier or just someone interesting in learning about this exciting technology we want to hear from you. Have a question? Possible application? Bonding, printing, painting or sealing problem? Let’s talk!

Each member of our team has specific experience to share. Medical devices, building products and consumer goods applications are my main areas of focus. I came to Plasmatreat from the chemical side of surface finishing so I’ve seen the negative operational and environmental impact that harsh chemicals and manual operations can have. It didn’t take long to realize the huge benefits that plasma surface treatment can bring to the party. It’s pretty amazing what you can do with compressed air and less than 25 cents for an hour’s worth of electricity!

In future “conversations” we want to hear from you. Your comments and questions will bring to light challenges and issues that are shared by owners, engineers and quality managers across a wide range of industries and applications. We can all learn from each other:  How can you eliminate the need for primer in bonding applications. Why Openair plasma is the most environmentally friendly solution of its kind. Who else is using this process.  How plasma can widen your range of substrate and consumables options.

Check back for regular updates.  We look forward to your feedback, questions and challenges.

Until Next Time,

Jeff Leighty
Plasmatreat, Elgin, IL

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