Surface activation with plasma technology is the key to conducting many industrial operations on a large range of materials

Atmospheric pressure plasma treatment facilitates surface preparation operations prior to bonding, painting, varnishing or cleaning steps – a boost that rapidly spread in all industrial sectors.

Here below are some examples.

AcXys Technologies has the expertise and experience to offer solutions that will smoothly integrate your production lines and meet your specific requirements.

Main applications for atmospheric pressure plasma treatment

Plasma treatment will not only remove organic residues on the material surface, but also bring new chemical functions that will drastically increase surface wettability for glues, inks, paints and varnishes.
The treatment is also a smart way to reduce the use of chemical compounds – more than often sources of environmental pollution (COVs).

The materials suitable for an efficient plasma treatment are incredibly various: metals, glass, papier, cardboard, polymers (Polypropylene, polycarbonate, polyethylene, PVC…), composite materials…

Surface cleaning and decontamination

A treatment with atmospheric plasma is an efficient and effective way to finish clean materials’ surface as it removes thin layers of organic or oil-based molecules.

For example, water-soluble oil residues found on aluminium surfaces can be removed within seconds thanks to plasma cleaning. Treated parts are almost immediately available for the next steps.

Copper oxide reduction

Plasma activation prior to bonding

Plasma treatment enhances bonding capacities to meet industrial requirements – with no use of a primer..

This surface treatment will change the nature of the interface failure : from adhesive, the sealing becomes cohesive hence reaching high breaking strengths.

Left: easy adhesive failure
Right: cohesive failure

Plasma activation prior to injection molding

In order to reach its full potential and technical objectives, operating injection molding on a material requires a flawless adhesion of the upper layer onto the under layer.

Because a treatment with atmospheric pressure plasma brings flexibility and an extraordinary ability to be applied on various shapes and materials – this simple solution is highly compatible with running production lines and overmolding procedures.

ULD plasma activation on aluminium prior to an overmolding procedure

Plasma activation prior to marking and decorating steps

While playing on wettability and increasing adhesive capacities, a plasma treatment is key to improving printing quality, and reducing both ink use and embellishing substances used on glass or polymer.

Microscope view of a drop on paper before and after plasma treatment

Plasma treatment prior to painting or varnishing operations

Plasma treatment will alter the surface of materials to be painted or varnished, hence increasing adherence of applied products but also drastically enhancing the final output.

Variation of the contact angle of a drop on polyethylene before and after treatment

Thin layers deposit

Injecting a carefully picked precursor into plasma will lead to the influx of a homogeneous thin layer that will deposit onto the treated surfaces.

When carried out in an atmospheric pressure environment, the CVD (chemical vapor deposition) will be generated at low, or room temperature – on any material.
Atmospheric plasma process enables material deposits on plastic, composite, metal or glass surfaces.

Applications for this process are vast – and sometimes remain unexplored. Deposited layers onto materials open new areas for enhanced functionalities.
Silicium deposits (SiOx) is now a well-known and attractive process to consider for the following applications:

  • Apply an amines-based primer layer (NH2)
  • Add optical features
  • Add anticorrosive layer on metallic surfaces

Plasma trusting Industries

Atmospheric pressure plasma has become vital for the current automotive industry.
Auto parts are made of polymers, glass, metals or sometimes composite – at some point of the manufacturing process, all require excellent adhesive or wettability capacities.

Plasma on automotive parts is used when :

  • Treating the instrument panel
  • Treating outer panels prior to bonding
  • Painting composite or plastic parts
  • Treating EPDM profiles
  • Activating a bonding line prior to press step

Automotive

Aerospace and defence

Aerospace and defence are enthusiastic users of high performing materials: technical polymers, ceramics, metals or high properties composites.
These materials require top-notch surface treatment with high specific features. Atmospheric pressure plasma treatment provides a reliable and highly efficient alternative to traditional processes, while drastically reducing the impact on the environment.

Producing various types of packaging items requires technologies that can adapt to large scale manufacturing. Bonding, printing, varnishing or laminating are crucial and demanding steps – they require an excellent surface preparation to guarantee a reliable product output: this especially applies to paper, cardboard, glass or plastic.
Atmospheric plasma technologies provide highly effective solutions when it comes to productivity, efficiency and environment-friendly.

Some examples :

  • Cardboard treatment prior to folding and laminating
  • Cork or end caps marking
  • Polymer or aluminium packaging embellishing

Packaging industry

Electrical and electronics industries

Protecting surfaces and ensuring high quality connections is a major issue for the manufacturing processes of electrical or electronic systems.

Applications for micro-technologies include:

  • Circuit cleaning prior to coating
  • Pre-potting treatment
  • Cable manufacturing applications

Surface treatment by atmospheric plasma is highly suitable for these industries as they deal with complex, miniaturized parts made of various materials and where the quest for the highest manufacturing quality is at stake.

Some examples:

  • Treatment of inner watch parts or dial parts /li>
  • Watch glass treatment
  • Bonding of miniaturized parts
  • Precision cleaning

High-end industries, jewellery and watch-making industries

Medical and pharmaceutical industries

Manufacturing pharmaceutical and medical devices requires highly performing solutions as of cleaning, assembling or marking operations: these steps must comply with traceability requirements pertaining to specific manufacturing processes as applicable in those industries.
Atmospheric pressure plasma treatment technologies comply with most materials and shapes as encountered in these industries. They fully meet their specific requirements.

For example:

  • Syringes treatment
  • Ophthalmic lenses treatment
  • Implantable devices treatment
  • Micro-fluid systems
  • Catheters

Textile and polymer or composite foils feature new mechanical properties such as mechanical strength, soft properties or surface features (water or oil repellent). These features are premiums to meet specific industries’ demands – such as packaging, medical of technical clothing.

To prep these new textiles prior to dyeing, printing or laminating operations, an atmospheric plasma surface treatment – carried out in dry conditions – is the best alternative to using solvents.

Textile industry

Research Labs

The technology for atmospheric plasma surface treatment is spreading: many research labs and institutes specializing in fundamental or applied research support and back up its expansion.

Because plasma surface treatment is environmental-friendly, universities and private sector work are highly committed on working together on applied research projects – the purpose of which is to upgrade existing surface treatment processes as well as developing new materials and analysing their properties.