Success story with TF Automation
Plasmatreat provided us with all the relevant data sheets, models and information, and was a great partner throughout the project, offering us consulting support when needed and always being on hand.
In close cooperation with Plasmatreat, the British special machine builder TF Automation has developed and manufactured two stand-alone systems with robot-controlled plasma treatment for a customer in the automotive industry. The use of plasma guarantees the long-term stable adhesion of a decorative film to plastic and enables significant increases in efficiency and performance.
As a long-standing partner of the automotive industry, Plasmatreat accompanies the industry with trend-setting innovations for more than 100 components that fully meet the high requirements for process reliability, reproducibility, quality and efficiency. The application in question involves plastic door handle recesses for vehicle interiors to which a decorative film is to be applied. To increase the surface energy of the polymer, a targeted surface activation is carried out by means of plasma treatment, thus ensuring reliable adhesion when the door handle recess is bonded to the film. This effect is based on a simple physical principle: the addition of energy causes aggregate states to change. If further energy is added to a gas, it is ionized and enters the high-energy plasma state as the fourth state of aggregation. When plasma with its high energy level comes into contact with materials, the surface properties change. During activation, for example, the organic structures on the surface of the material are specifically broken up and modified by the introduction of oxygen- and nitrogen-containing groups into the substrate. In this case, this ensures full-surface and homogeneous wettability of the door handle recesses with adhesive and also long-term stable adhesion of the decorative film.
Greatest possible flexibility when processing different component geometries
The RD1004 plasma nozzles, which Plasmatreat developed especially for thermally sensitive materials such as plastic, are used. They are mounted on a 3-axis gantry in the machines that TF Automation designed for plasma treatment of the door handle recesses in order to be able to react flexibly to the different profiles and variants. The unique rotation principle of the RD1004 nozzles distributes the plasma effect evenly over the surface of the door handle recesses. The plasma nozzle was precisely matched to the customer's requirements and treats the 150 mm x 120 mm area potential-free at a speed of 12 to 15 meters per minute. The movement pattern of the plasma jet is automatically adapted to the selected carrier variant or component. After plasma treatment, the door handle recesses can be processed immediately.
Working together for success: Teamwork ensures customer satisfaction
Plasmatreat sees itself as a "process understander" and pursues a holistic approach in all its projects. The cooperation with TF Automation was also characterized by an intensive examination of the individual requirements and manufacturing processes of the end customer as well as the machine manufacturer. This customer-oriented approach, as well as Plasmatreat's special plasma expertise and broad support, impressed TF Automation across the board.