One of the hot new ideas in material’s joining is use of atmospheric plasma. Plastics, metals, glass or textiles are cleaned, activated or coated with Openair Jet-Technology, replacing adhesives or mechanical approaches. It’s Physics 101: apply energy and the state of matter changes. Solid turns into liquid, and the liquid becomes gas. If more energy is applied to the gas, electrons leave their atomic shells, putting the gas into the plasma state. Plasma is generated by an intense pulsed arc discharge from a jet that can operate as part of an in-line manufacturing system. The working gas typically is dry compressed air. The breakup of atomic bombs allows cleaning and joining of dissimilar materials.
Developed by Plasmatreat, the first breakthough came in 1995 with the pretreatment of headlight housings, and applications now includes windshields, engine control housings, displays or sensors and the bonding of body components.
Look for the process to become more widely used in multicomponent injection molding processes, which previously had to avoid use of low-priced polypropylene. PP doesn’t adhere well to TPU when treated with plasma. As a result, alloys of polycarbonate and ABS are often used, The PP-TPU system is a result of a collaboration between Plasmatreat, Krass-Maffei, the University of Erlangen-Nŭrnberg, and Neue Materialien Fŭrth.
Read a report of a new technology demonstration at the upcoming Fakuma show in Germany.