Success Story with Miele

Openair-Plasma enables two-component bonding of oven control panels.

Reinhard Ostholt

Dosing Technology Project Manager Industrial Engineering department Miele & Cie. KG

Our production process has benefitted in particular from the high process capability and availability of the plasma unit. The plasma unit’s integrated process control is a further plus point. This makes it possible to operate the system without having to depend on the presence of specific employees.

- Reinhard Ostholt, Dosing Technology Project Manager Industrial Engineering department Miele & Cie. KG

Miele has been a leading manufacturer of household appliances for over 100 years. The company from East-Westphalia is renowned for its innovative, user-friendly and long-lasting products. To guarantee consistent quality, production processes are continually reviewed and optimized, especially with regard to health and safety and environmental protection. The Miele factory in Oelde produces around 800 different models and over 300,000 individual appliances a year, mainly for the European and North American market.

Customers can choose their appliance from a variety of ranges. One very popular design of control panel features a stainless steel panel combined with black glass. This version accounts for around 80 percent of total production.

Requirements for surface quality are extremely high 
The challenge of manufacturing the control panels is that the quality of the bond between the glass and stainless steel cannot be tested during the production process without damaging, or indeed destroying, the panel. Consequently all possible errors must be excluded during the production phase, which places very stringent demands on the quality of the surfaces to be bonded (in terms of cleanliness and wettability, for instance). 

After testing different processes, Miele decided to use Openair-Plasma® technology from Plasmatreat to ensure optimum two-component bonding. At this time the company had long been using this technology with great success for manufacturing washer-dryers. Openair-Plasma® technology not only facilitates the reliable pretreatment of the stainless steel surfaces of the oven control panels, it can also be seamlessly integrated into the entire production process.

Environmental impact significantly reduced 
But process optimization aside, it was the improvement in quality afforded by the use of Openair-Plasma® that really made this technology stand out. Thanks to plasma pretreatment, the composite bond satisfies all the requirements, for example in terms of thermal resilience, long-term stability and strength. 

By switching to the dry Openair-Plasma® process, Miele can also dispense with the pretreatments previously used – flaming, chemical precleaning and adhesive primers. This eliminates time-consuming manual steps, avoids harmful substances and effectively reduces VOC emissions such as solvent fumes in the workplace.

Discover more application examples of plasma technology in industrial processes: