Exclusive surface finishes with low reject rates and high process flexibility

All the surfaces of plastic parts to be installed in car interiors are coated to improve both their feel and their acoustic performance. In car interiors, it is common to find many different painted components - especially in the premium and luxury car segments. Consumers expect these parts to look beautiful over the lifetime of the car while delivering high performance. Meeting these expectations can be difficult for injection molded components made of PC and ABS. These low-cost plastics are coated to achieve a high cosmetic appearance, but the finish can be contaminated by particles adhering to the part surface.

In addition, painting around gate marks at the melt delivery points can often reveal flaws caused by internal material stresses. The result is often a high gloss finish such as a pristine piano black coating but with an undesirable "orange peel" effect.

Plasma treatment can effectively reduce both of these phenomena:

  • Particle adhesion is reduced by removing organic radicals that are responsible for the adhesion. The component is thus absolutely clean on entering the paint process. The reduction in reject rates as a result of this surface conditioning step can typically reach 20%.
  • Mechanical stress, particularly on the part surface are reduced by the heat introduced during the plasma treatment.

Plasmatreat has extensive experience in using both atmospheric Openair® Plasma and installing the low-pressure Aurora process.

Complete inline process with fully automatic plasma treatment. As the parts move along on the conveyor, an industrial robot with part-specific programming scans the areas to be lacquered.

Plasma pretreatment for manufacturing car interior parts with VOC-free coating systems

Furthermore does the automobile industry face the major challenge of drastically reducing VOC emissions from solvent-based materials in car interiors. Consequently, preference is given to coatings based on polyurethane (PU) or to UV coatings. However, these VOC-free coating systems require the substrate to have a high surface tension, which can only be achieved through efficient and uniform pretreatment.

The selectively operating plasma beam eliminates masking, i.e. before coating a steering wheel trim.

Plasma treatment is a simple and effective way of activating these surfaces. A unit consisting of robots and rotating Openair® plasma jets is integrated directly in the production line. The time required for pretreatment with plasma – before coating of steering wheel trim, for example – is less than 10 seconds per part.

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