Tag Archives: surface treatment
The competitive nature of the automotive industry requires manufacturers to engineer the ideal product; failures, no matter how small, are unacceptable and can bring heavy consequences.
A particular problem that plagues automobiles is condensation collecting on the inside of headlights. High performance automotives must not only perform well mechanically but must also maintain an exceptional aesthetic. Water droplets condensing on the insides of headlights are unappealing and unacceptable to consumers.
In order to prevent that condensation, manufacturers use an invisible coating on the inside of polycarbonate headlight lenses called anti-fog.
This coating is applied via spray application which can be difficult and inconsistent due to several variables: low energy mold releases left on the surface; environmental contaminants; contaminants from handling; uneven spray application; and incorrect coating solutions.
Teflon is a household name that commonly invokes images of eggs sizzling on a skillet, spatulas flipping pancakes, or rice steaming in a pan.
But, there is much more to this magical non-stick coating.
Teflon, a brand name for PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene), prohibits food from sticking to pots and pans because of its hydrophobic properties.
As a low-energy, fluorocarbon solid neither water nor water containing substances can influence the surface. This means that nothing will stick to the surface or penetrate it.
Today, Teflon has improved culinary pursuits and made cooking more accessible, but that isn’t the only field PTFE has influenced.
The medical device industry would not be what it is today without PTFE. As medical devices work intimately with the human body, they must be completely sanitary, inert, and harmless.
With its lubriciousness and impenetrable properties, PTFE is used to coat a variety of medical devices such as catheters, surgical equipment, balloons, bladders, and implants.
But, PTFE only works when the coating itself sticks to the surface. This requires proper surface preparation which can be challenging in any manufacturing floor. It’s especially difficult in medical device manufacturing as specifications are so high and there is no room for failure. …Read More
Plastics manufacturers are all too familiar with the challenges of bonding thermoplastics. Last week, BTG Labs successfully hosted a webinar with Plastics Technology to discuss improving bonding of thermoplastics. The webinar, entitled “Understanding Surface Energy: How to Measure and Control the Surface Properties of Thermoplastics to Maximize Adhesion,” brought in almost 400 registrants.
Presented byBTG Labs’ Chief Scientist Dr. Giles Dillingham who discussed the surface characteristics of thermoplastics. Dr. Dillingham also explored surface treatment processes such as flame, corona, and plasma, and ways to monitor and verify those processes. The ability to understand and measure the surface precisely is the key to successfully bonding thermoplastics.
Flame treatment is a surface treatment process used to chemically modify a surface for better adhesion. This process is typically used on low energy surfaces that can be difficult to adhere to, such as plastics and composites. The treatment is also very gentle, posing low risk to the material. Flame treatment uses a carefully controlled blend of natural gas and air to create a hot, oxygen rich plasma. First, the heat removes contaminants. Then, after contaminant removal, the oxygen rich plasma activates the surface by partial oxidation. The result is a clean, high energy surface that is an excellent state for printing, painting, coating, or bonding.
Flame treatment is used in a wide array of industries including film and flexible packaging, consumer goods, automotive, textile, medical device, and even aerospace. Flame treatment may be used on a web or a smaller, specific part. It is especially useful for its uniform treatment and ability to treat diverse materials from cardboard to composites.
A major application for flame treatment is in the treatment of TPO (thermoplastic olefin) automotive parts such as bumper fascia and interior components. Another large application is in the treatment of appliance components and golf balls prior to coating and printing. It is also used extensively on film prior to printing and laminating.
BTG Labs excitedly anticipates Plasmatreat’s Open House and Surface TechDays. Held March 30 & 31 in Hayward, California. The 2-day event brings together leaders in the industries of electronics, automotive, and medical device. The Open House will showcase Plasmatreat’s new R&D Center and Plasma Laboratories.
The Surface TechDays will include technical talks and demonstrations of the latest in surface treatment advances. BTG Labs, along with other Plasmatreat partners will present on technical surface topics.
BTG Labs’ President Tom McLean will present on the “Four Critical Control Points for Managing Surface Performance.” Tom McLean will discuss the Surface Analyst™ and its use to verify plasma treatment and its ability optimize the plasma treatment process.
Please confirm your attendance no later than March 24th, 2017 to:
[email protected] or call (855) 4TH-STATE or (855) 484-7828.
Ask for Melissa.
Open House, Demonstrations & Technical Presentations
Thursday, March 30, 2017, 11:00am – 8:00pm
Friday, March 31, 2017, 8:30am – 3:30pm
Plasmatreat USA, Inc.
30695 Huntwood Avenue
Hayward, CA 94544
Smarter Surface Processes
For over a decade, manufacturers and suppliers have spoken the language of dyne when dealing with surface preparation and treatment verification. Because the process of dyne analysis requires users to interpret the way the ink spreads on a surface, it is highly subjective, making the language of dyne precarious. Even so, what could read as a 42 to one user, could mean a 45 or even a 39 to another user. The varying measurement from one user to another is problematic for data collection and analysis. And, training a user is often very time consuming. Another threat to dyne’s accuracy is the fact that when a dyne pen is applied to a surface, the pen tip itself absorbs any contaminants on the test surface and spreads it to other surfaces, thus rendering the ink even more inaccurate over time.
The Language of the Surface Analyst
Conversely, the Surface Analyst is non-subjective and produces a quantifiable measurement in the form of a water contact angle. Unlike dyne, the Surface Analyst is fast, easy, accurate, and non-destructive using only highly purified water to take measurements. Therefore, the Surface Analyst can take measurements on almost any surface.
An Exceptional and Versatile Surface Treatment
Among the various methods of surface treatment processes, plasma treatment stands as a highly respected method. Plasma treatment is a surface treatment process performed prior to bonding. This method increases surface energy, activating the surface to better bond, paint, print, seal, or coat. Plasma removes contaminants, cleans to a microscopic level, and can even coat a surface. A unique advantage of plasma treatment is its versatility. It can be used on a highly diverse range of materials including plastic, metals, glass, cardboard, textiles, composites, electronic devices, and even rubber.
SAMPE: Leading Advanced Materials and Processes Conference
Join BTG Labs at the SAMPE (Society for the Advancement of Material Process Engineering) Conference and Exhibition. The event will be held in Long Beach California, May 23-26. SAMPE specializes in advanced materials and processes, and for decades, holds the go-to conference for the defense and commercial aerospace industry.
conPolymers are some of the most common base materials used in automotive parts. Polypropelenes, Polyolefins, and ABS plastics are used in dashboards, door panels, bumper fascias, liftgates, sensors, and increasingly exterior doors and fenders. A polymer is a low surface energy material that typically needs some form of surface processing prior to bonding an assembly, encapsulating a sensor, painting an interior control knob or an exterior bumper fascia. These materials also tend to show high contamination with mold releases that can be tough to remove and will essentially guarantee unsuccessful adhesion or coating.
There are a variety of surface processing methods used in the industry to help remove contamination and increase the surface energy of these polymer materials. These processes include flame treatment, plasma treatment, corona treatment, and solvent wiping. Another option is to utilize specialty paints and adhesives that tolerate lower energy substrates. There are pitfalls, however, to implementing any of these methods that manufacturers need to be aware of. Understanding the nature of these surface-critical systems is the only way to guarantee success in the final result. Control of the inputs means predictability and control of the output.