Surface modification by plasma treatment, which produces advantageous material properties on different surfaces, has long attracted the interest of industry. Today, state-of-the-art processes allow plasma production and application to be controlled, made more precise and the processes to be reproduced. This makes it possible to clean surfaces on a large scale by direct plasma action and to change their structure and resulting properties. Users have a variety of plasma processes at their disposal:
A plasma process for the industrial pretreatment of components that has been available on the market for some time is vacuum or low-pressure plasma, which is generated between two electrodes by electromagnetic high-frequency fields. These plasmas are generated in closed chambers under vacuum (10-3 to 10-9 bar).
For this purpose, the relevant components are treated in a separate pressure chamber from the production line. In the vacuum chamber, the gases or gas mixtures contained in the chamber are ionised by the application of electromagnetic fields and thus converted into the highly reactive plasma state.
The surface properties of the inserted components are specifically changed by the choice of gas composition (air, nitrogen, oxygen, etc.) and the type of energy coupling (DC, kHz, MHz or GHz).
In the low-pressure plasma process, the inserted components are treated over a large area. A waiting time is required before further processing. This makes the process very time-consuming, especially in the industrial treatment of substrates in larger quantities.
Find an overview over Plasmatreat's low pressure plasma systems here.
Atmospheric pressure plasma pretreatment is one of the most efficient plasma processes for cleaning, activating or coating plastics, metals, (e.g., aluminum), glass, recycled materials and composite materials.
Compared to low-pressure plasma technology, Openair-Plasma® technology does not require a special chamber system. Why is that? Because only Openair-Plasma® enables the use of state-of-the-art surface modification technology under atmospheric pressure conditions.
Due to this unique feature, this plasma surface treatment technology can be integrated directly into the production line with robot control at low cost. The wide range of applications for Openair-Plasma® makes it a key technology for innovative surface pre-treatment.
Treatment with atmospheric pressure plasma is thus particularly economical and widely used as an alternative to low-pressure plasma and corona processes.
Find an overview over Plasmatreat's atmospheric pressure plasma systems here.
The high intensity of Openair-Plasma® treatment makes it possible to significantly streamline the entire process.
Atmospheric plasma is generated under normal pressure. Therefore, no low-pressure chambers are required for this process. Thanks to the patented Openair-Plasma® nozzle technology, it has been possible to integrate a very effective yet gentle, potential-free plasma under normal pressure conditions directly into manufacturing processes. This inline capability of atmospheric plasma allows easy integration into existing production lines.
The Openair-Plasma® uses compressed air to modify the surfaces to be treated. For this purpose, Plasmatreat has developed nozzles with which the plasma jet is applied to the substrate with pinpoint accuracy. The nozzle heads used as well as the optimum parameters, such as intensity and distance of the plasma jet, are individually adapted to the respective application, taking into account the conditions on site, such as the speed of component transport; one of Plasmatreat's core competencies.
This innovative plasma technology can be applied to all types of surfaces and results in microfine cleaning and high activation of the substrate.
Read more about Openair-Plasma® systems for different processes.
Openair-Plasma® technology compared to other pretreatment processes:
- High process reliability: Openair-Plasma® technology is distinguished by high fail-safety and process reliability.
- High cost-effectiveness: High process speed, even in multi-shift operation, and lower scrap rates provide high process efficiency. Because it allows for flexible material selection, the Openair-Plasma® process also facilitates the use of more advantageous materials.
- High degree of activation: Unlike corona treatment, Openair-Plasma® permits a high degree of activation of the surfaces to be treated.
- Large process window: Openair-Plasma® permits a large process window: The danger of thermal component damage is extremely low in comparison to flaming.
- Easy to integrate: In contrast to mechanical processes, like roughening and sand or aluminum oxide blasting, Openair-Plasma® can easily be integrated inline in existing processes.
- Environmentally friendly: The Openair-Plasma® process makes it possible to treat surfaces with solvent-free and VOC-free methods. Unlike electrochemical processes, such as galvanizing or galvanically-supported pickling and chrome plating, wet chemistry is not required.