Microfine cleaning and coating of polycarbonate headlight covers

In order to protect the headlamps from stone-chipping, polycarbonate (PC, PMMA) headlight lenses need to have high surface hardness. For this reason, headlamp surfaces are usually coated with a scratch-proof, UV-cured paint (often using an acrylic polymer).  These protective scratch-proof coatings offer up to 40 times more resistance against physical impact compared with uncoated lenses.

Microfine cleaning with Openair® Plasma prior to paint finishes

The use of Openair® Plasma rotary jets enables efficient and gentle microcleaning of polycarbonate headlight covers prior to coating them with paint finishes.

Plasma cleaning removes particles (dust, pigments, etc.) still adhering to the surface after the injection molding process. At the same time, it ensures that the lens is electrostatically discharged. Anti-static blowers are no longer required.

The specific and uniform surface tension achieved results in optimal distribution and uniform thickness of the subsequently applied coating layer. Openair® Plasma thus significantly decreases reject rates.

Full-surface plasma cleaning and surface activation of PC lenses.
Openair® plasma activates the entire surface and creates ideal conditions for subsequent coating.

Long-term scratch-proof coating with the low-pressure plasma method

As an alternative to hard-coat painting, scratch-proof and long-term plasma coatings can be applied on the lenses. Applying these coatings using low-pressure plasma (i.e., a chamber plasma process) provides added durability to these hard surface coatings on polycarbonate. The low-pressure plasma causes functional chemical groups to become embedded into the surface, resulting in a more highly crosslinked coating. The Plasmatreat low-pressure plasma treatment can improve surface hardness by as much as a factor of 100X for some popular materials.

Features of Plasma Coatings

  • Nano-scale coatings
  • Excellent optical characteristics
  • More Stable
  • Highly durable
  • Easy-to-clean
  • Surfaces many times harder than glass

 

 

Hella Australia Pty Ltd.

Quality assurance with Openair® plasma

In 1995, Openair® plasma technology was used for the first time in standard production of automobile headlamp housings in Germany. Today, it has become an established part of applications around the world. At HELLA, Australia, the high process safety of the plasma process is especially valued.

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