Plast Eurasia Istanbul 2018 got off to a flying start in December with over 1000 exhibitors and company representatives from 44 countries. For several years this fair has been considered one of the most important events for the plastics processing industry in the Eurasian region. As supplier of one of the most progressive pretreatment methods for plastic surfaces currently available, Plasmatreat made its 10th appearance at the show, where it met with great success.
All plastic components exhibited by Plasmatreat at Plast Eurasia – be it circuit boards prior to conformal coating, plastic housings prior to bonding, smartcards prior to printing, CFRP components prior to painting or interior automotive components – had one thing in common: With their surface energy too low to achieve homogenous wettability, they required an effective pretreatment. "Difficult" plastics such as polypropylenes require activation in addition to ultrafine cleaning. In other words, their surface energy must be increased to achieve complete wettability and thus ensure the subsequent, long-term adhesion of an adhesive bond or coating. Wet-chemical detergents and adhesion promoters are typically used in the industry to perform this type of pretreatment. Visitors to the Plasmatreat booth were delighted to discover that it could also be done in seconds in an environmentally friendly, dry process using Openair-Plasma® technology.
"To understand the dual effect of plasma, you have to experience it live", says Hakan Sağkal, President Plasmatreat MEA, Turkey as he describes what fascinates visitors to his booth when they first witness the plasma pretreatment of materials.
Together with his team, the plasma specialist demonstrated to a specialist audience the efficacy of Openair-Plasma® in a water spray test. First the surface energy of a non-polar plastic surface is measured in the untreated state. Then part of the surface is cleaned to a microfine level and simultaneously activated in a high-speed operation. After that, the entire surface is sprayed with water. The effect is immediate: Droplets of water in the untreated area, compared with a homogenous film of water (100% wetting) in the plasma-treated area. Subsequent measurement showed that the surface energy of the polypropylene tested at Plast Eurasia had increased from 30 mJ/m2 (untreated) to 72 mJ/m2 (plasma-treated).
Experiencing the new PTU plasma cell in action was a further highlight for visitors to the show, who were thrilled to watch the KUKA robot-controlled RD2004 plasma jet in action as it cleaned, activated and nanocoated different sample parts. This demonstrated particularly clearly the effectiveness of the rotating plasma beam – even for treating complex component geometries such as tiny recesses and undercuts. The system integration platform for KUKA robots enables Plasmatreat to offer an automated solution which allows their knowledge of industrial applications for the atmospheric plasma pretreatment of material surfaces to be integrated into production processes in a simple, standardized manner. Here, the robot's high-precision motion sequence and the respective plasma process are controlled by processors in close communication.
"We were particularly delighted to receive visitors from very varied sectors of industry, such as the automotive industry, household appliances and even the packaging industry", Sağkal concluded. "The feedback was very positive and we are extremely satisfied with the outcome."