EPDM rubber is commonly used in the automotive industry to make several parts of vehicles including the seals of doors, the trunk, the hood, and the windows. It is also used for other purposes such as temperature controlling because of its insulating properties. Practical uses of EPDM rubber include cold rooms, radiators, garden appliances and electrical insulators, tubes and hoses, washers, solar panels, speakers, and headphones.
EPDM rubber can either be conductive or non-conductive which is why plasma treatment is needed to activate it and to achieve a strong bond between the rubber and the adhesive during the flocking process. It is also needed to wet the rubber in the slip coating stage to obtain the desired properties for adhesion. Plasma treatment is used as a replacement of chemical treatments as chemicals are generally dangerous, low yielding, and high in cost.
With the use of plasma treatments in the manufacturing of seals, the treatment of rubber has become more economical and convenient. The benefits of EPDM profile treatments using plasma are:
1) It resolves bonding issues
To manufacture high quality seals, it is necessary that the adhesive and the rubber are bonded properly. Not only do plasma treatments activate the rubber’s surface to ensure it bonds well with the adhesive, but it also makes way for optimum adhesive properties that are necessary for high quality seals.
2) Environmentally Friendly
Plasma can be produced from the recycling of waste products – even sometimes using hazardous chemical waste. This means plasma treatments use a clean, renewable energy to get the job done, thereby decreasing industrial pollution and contamination of rivers and seas by the industrial discharge of chemical waste.
3) There is no risk of fire
Plasma does not support combustion, making it a safer material to work with when compared to flammable and corrosive chemicals.
4) Plasma treatments save time
Plasma has lots of energy in the form of free electrons and so its reaction time is very fast. This saves time which can be used for other tasks.
5) Reduced energy consumption
Some plasma treatments require the presence of oxygen while others take place on their own in the presence of air and at reasonably low temperatures. This is in comparison to the chemicals used in the industrial treatment of materials which require very high temperatures.
6) Produces less waste
Now that plasma treatments have replaced chemical treatments for EPDM in a majority of industries, there is a lower production of industrial waste. Also, since its inflammable, plasma does not add to the carbon footprint.