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. Read more
To work with materials and unleash their true potential, almost every industry needs to activate their surface to make them more reactive. The increase in the material’s reactivity makes it easier to work with and allows it to be used more effectively. Plasma is the fourth state of matter and is used in almost all industries as plasma technology is one of the most economical methods of surface treatment.
How does plasma activate surfaces?
Plasma state is achieved when additional energy is added to gaseous ions. When plasma comes into contact with the surfaces of polymers, it alters the surface by attaching functional or polar groups to it. The addition of polar or functional groups makes the materials reactive as these groups easily combine and react with other chemical groups. Once the properties of the material are altered, they can be used for a variety of different purposes.
The activation process primarily uses oxygen as a catalyst; however, some materials can react with plasma in open air, without the need of providing additional oxygen for the reaction.
What are the common types of plasma driven surface treatments?
Plasma surface treatments can be used for the following industrial treatments of materials:
Plasma Driven Surface Activation: Plasma treatments used to activate surfaces
Plasma Cleaning: Plasma is used to clean and prepare surfaces for various manufacturing processes
Plasma Bonding: Plasma is used to lower the energy needed to bond two materials together.
Plasma Surface Modifications: Plasma treatments can be used to generate new properties of materials by activation, conditioning, and functionalization.
Plasma Ashing: Plasma ashing is the removal of carbon from products during manufacturing or cleaning processes.
Reactive Ion Etching: In this process, plasma treatments etch the surfaces which have already been treated.
Plasma Functionalization: This process improves the functions of materials, especially adhesiveness, bonding, and printing.
What makes plasma ideal for surface treatment?
There are several factors that make plasma ideal for surface treatments. For one, it works on a wide range of materials which means that it can be used on multiple materials for multiple purposes. It also works uniformly on all surfaces and efficiently gives high quality results.
Apart from that, it is cheaper to use, store and maintain and has a fast treatment time, so plasma driven surface treatments are useful in the sense that they work well, and save both time and money.
Since its invention, atmospheric plasma treatment has continually remained in use for improving the surface energy levels of various materials. The process involves treatment of surfaces on a level of pressure that’s equal to the surrounding pressure i.e. normal pressure. Generally, atmospheric plasma treatment is used for pretreatment on a local level on different surfaces e.g. metal, polymers, glass, ceramics, and hybrid materials etc.
Among the most evident reasons for atmospheric plasma treatment’s popularity, efficiency is a prominent factor. The difference between Corona and Plasma is that the Corona treatment takes place at normal air pressure i.e. without the use of compressed air (as Atmospheric plasma) or by the use of vacuum. Adhesive customers are continuously looking forward for an increase in bond reliability without being subjected to process difficulties . Surface preparation that involves vacuum plasma is a bit more difficult as it involves the transportation of items from in and out of a vacuum chamber. Read more
Atmospheric plasma treatment is used for a multitude of reasons such as treatment of parts prior to the bonding process, surface activation, and fine cleaning etc. The treatment presents a technique that is friendly for the environment and dry. Atmospheric plasma is also high quality plasma that could efficiently reduce operational costs and used locally.
One of the many advantages of air plasma treatment is its ability to treat difficult surfaces on higher levels. Plasma treatment is a feasible substitute for treating a variety of substrates that do not respond to the corona treatment process. For example, the corona treatment is in effective on materials made from fluoropolymers like Teflon® etc.
Plasma treatments are also beneficial for increasing life treatments to a considerable point. Substrates subjected to this treatment tend to retain their treated forms much longer than surfaces that have been exposed to corona. A lasting treatment will ensure an increase in inventory life along with providing the manufacturing sector with the much needed flexibility. This can also enable converters to gain advantage over scale economies during production.
Atmospheric plasma treatment is ideal for handling thicker substances. Usually, substrates which are thicker than the average diameter of .125” are unable to respond positively to the process of corona. These may include foams, metals, films, powders, fibers, non-woven and many other materials. And these surfaces can be actively treated by plasma.
Read more about PlasmaTec, the Atmospheric Plasma Generator. The PlasmaTEC system provides an economical solution for effective surface treatment of a large number of materials.
Deutsch: Das PlasmaTEC Atmosphärisches Plasma Behandlungssystem ist eine einfache und effiziente Lösung zur Vorbehandlung unterschiedlichster Materialien und Formen.