For a high-performance, eco-reponsible and easy-to-integrate surface treatment
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are the answers to questions that you could possibly be asking yourselves :
1. Which technologies can be replaced by plasma ?
2. How does plasma treatment work ?
3. How long does a plasma treatment last ?
4. What materials can be treated with plasma and how are they affected ?
5. How to install the plasma equipment ?
6. How do plasma equipment work ?
7. What are the risks linked to plasma treatment ?
8. What effect does plasma treatment have on the environment ?
Which technologies can be replaced by plasma?
Please follow the link where we compare plasma to flaming, corona, sandblasting, and other technologies : Click here
How does plasma treatment work?
To what depth is the material chemically modified by the plasma ?
Chemical modification occurs on an extreme surface of 0.1 nm.
Physical modification is possible on some thermal materials.
What chemical functions are added to the surface of the material ?
The chemical functions added depend on the nature of the material and the plasma gas used.
The use of compressed air allows the grafting of nitrogenous functions such as amino, and oxygenated functions such as alcohol because of its composition (approximately 80% N2 and 20% O2).
One of the strengths of our technologies is to be able to control the type of chemical functions that are created in order to have a synergy between your material and the plasma adhesive treatment.
How long does a plasma treatment last ?
What is the treatment’s speed ?
The efficiency of plasma treatment depends on the speed at which the parts pass under the plasma but this is not the only parameter to be considered. Other parameters must be taken into account, such as the power of the nozzle/plasma, the distance between the nozzle and the surface, and the nature of the gas used.
These parameters do not stop other production constraints. Speeds may sometimes exceed 100 m/min, or adapt to existing linespeeds. Regardless of the speed of your line, the plasma equipment can be sized accordingly.
Some examples of applications with their cycle time and processing speed:
– Automotive dashboard treatment before bonding => 750 pieces/day (40s per cycle)
– Treatment of PP tube/vials before screen printing => 2000 pieces/h
How long does the plasma activation treatment last ?
The lifespan of plasma activation treatment is limited. Only thin-film deposits provide a stable treatment. If you activate a surface with plasma only, it is difficult to answer this question precisely because the lifespan of the treatment depends directly on the material and the storage conditions of the different parts (dust, moisture level, UV).
The effectiveness of the treatment is greater just after it has been carried out. It then decreases until it reaches a plateau which is usually above the initial state of the material. For some materials such as aluminium or silicone, the efficacy of the treatment will drop rapidly (a few hours), while for other materials the decrease will be smaller and remain stable for several months. However, for most of our customers this is not a problem because the step following the plasma surface preparation is carried out directly after the plasma treatment on the same process line. When the surface has undergone the next operation, the product of the reaction is stable.
What materials can be treated with plasma and how are they affected ?
Can sensitive materials be treated electrically ?
Yes, our plasma technologies allow sensitive materials to be treated electrically because the plasma at the outlet of the nozzle is electrically neutral. Treatment is not done in the electric discharge itself but post-discharge. In addition, we do not have any electronic influence that could affect the surface structure. The IEC611340 standard sets the maximum permissible electric field for an electronic component at 10.000 V/m.
Measurements made show electric fields far below this value.
What materials can I process with your plasma systems ?
Any of them. There are no technical restrictions on the processing of materials. We have already treated – among others – the following materials : plastics, composites, elastomers, metals, synthetic and natural textiles, glass and ceramics, and so on and so forth.
Does the plasma change the properties of the material ?
Plasma processing only changes the chemistry of the extreme surface, the first nanometers, by cleaning and making the surface functional by adding reactive polar chemical functions. The basic properties of the material, such as appearance or mechanical properties, are not affected.
How to install the plasma equipment ?
What do I need to install a plasma equipment ?
You need 3 simple things :
- Compressed air (or nitrogen)
- Connection to power supply 230V/400V
- Aspiration/extraction (with processing cell)
And depending on the context :
- – Mounting system for the torch
- – A means of moving the plasma source along the surface to be treated or the surface to be treated in relation to the plasma source
- – An enclosure to confine the treatment area and protect operators from noise, gas emissions and hot surfaces
- – A remote control system
- – A system for the acquisition of processing data
Can I treat my pieces by hand ?
Yes, for certain applications; plasma activation can be achieved by using the hand-held “ULS Handy”. However, this solution is not generally recommended. In most cases, the nozzle-surface distance and the processing speed are the parameters that need to be perfectly controlled: manual activation does not guarantee perfectly reproducible activation. For industrial applications, automated surface activation is the preferred method.
How do plasma equipment work ?
Can I have the plasma communicate with my other machines ?
Yes, the plasma system can link with other machines using all-or-nothing signals or digital messages. It is possible to control the plasma, set and monitor key process parameters (flow, power, state).
Can I integrate a plasma system into my emergency shutdown loop ?
Yes, it is possible to integrate safety loop sharing with a machine (E-STOP contacts, opening and closing of the safety relays, relays status).
Can I use gases other than compressed air ?
Yes, you can use nitrogen or other gases upon consultation with AcXys.
What are the risks linked to plasma treatment ?
NO : The discharge used to form the plasma is contained in the torch and is isolated from the outside. The external metallic surfaces of the plasma equipment are completely grounded, including the torch, and are therefore not accessible from the outside. So, no electrical risk.
YES : containment of the treatment area or wearing PPE
Gaseous effluents (ozone, NOx > lower values than the VLEP asn VME) or residual cleaning vapours ?
YES : extraction required
Source and plasma temperature ?
Prevent the operator from touching the torch (pictogram or containment)
Are there any electromagnetic risks ?
Our equipment is designed to comply with EU electrical regulations. They use a power factor correction device (PFC) that limits the disturbances to the power grid. The generator frame of the ULS consists of metal panels connected to earth to avoid electromagnetic interference. Even though the electric discharge is carried out inside the nozzle, a small electric field may be measured near the axis of the nozzle, where the electric discharge is visible. The measured value of the field is 1.4 to 1.9 kV/m at a processing distance of 2 cm
What effect does plasma treatment have on the environment ?
Used in industrial sectors such as automobile, aerospace, and textiles, plasma is the most environmentally friendly pre-treatment process available on the market.
Indeed, the gases that are used in this process are clean : hydrogen, nitrogen, etc.
Thereby eliminating the need for dangerous chemicals such as solvents.