Vacuum Plasma is arguably one of Tantec UK & Ireland’s most sought-after processes; indeed it is one of our most impressive. It’s ability to treat 100% of a component’s surface is incredibly useful for large parts or those with complex geometries. High-quality cleaning, surface activation, deposition and etching treatments can all be completed ahead of the painting, gluing or coating.
It also means that any one of our impressive vacuum plasma surface treatment systems can be used for multiple parts – even if they’re different shapes, sizes or materials. There’s no doubt it’s one of our most versatile offerings and is extremely popular with our clients. If you have a wide portfolio of products or are looking to do a variety of production runs without costly changeover times, then these plasma surface systems are the solutions for you.
Vacuum plasma is a fantastic technology that utilises a controlled environment to treat every surface on a component – even those 3D parts with hard-to-reach areas. It is carried out using a vacuum inside a sealed chamber, which is usually maintained at conditions of around 1-5mbar. Taking most of the molecules out of the chamber, we are left with fewer to turn in to plasma. Creating a plasma environment at room pressure would create a lot of heat and require a lot of power. Under vacuum pressure however, we can create plasma using only a few tens of watts, generally up to 2,000 watts without any problem (your household kettle probably works at around 1,800 watts)
With an entire chamber filled with plasma, we ensure that all visible surfaces are treated, allowing the treatment of interior and exterior surfaces to improve bonding, painting, coating or wettability.
Typical cycles using these systems range from 15 seconds of treatment to five minutes of processing, loading and unloading. Some systems may use gases to create tailored environments for specific chemistry or results, but the vast majority of systems don’t need this complexity and work perfectly with air.
Tantec UK & Ireland offer a range of highly innovative vacuum plasma treatment systems. We supply either standard models such as VacuTEC 2020 and 5050 or bespoke solutions designed to meet our customers needs which include design elements such as specific sizes and jigs, integration into automation or part moving systems and automated doors and/or through doors for process flow or movement between cleanroom and non cleanroom environments.
Tantec UK & Ireland’s flagship vacuum plasma system – named VacuTEC – is a bespoke version of our VacuTEC series, designed and built in-house and tailored to the needs of each customer. These innovative plasma treatment systems, which range from mid-sized units for small components to large systems treating big, individual products, are available with a wide variety of options, from number of shelves, number of doors, automation, integration in to other systems, speed of processing and many more.
They’re popular with our customers due to the simplicity of their operation, reliability in production and fast-process speed. Our versatile machines can be integrated into robot-loaded, fully automated cells, manual loading of individual components such as large injection moulded parts, or quick loading of jigs for smaller components already being handled for other processes such as paint spraying.
The medium and large standard production machines, VacuTEC 5050 and 8080 certainly pack some incredible performance. Available in either standard form or a semi custom-design, they offer very fast treatment and optimum adhesion properties for downstream coating, gluing, painting and printing applications.
These systems as standard are fitted with removable shelves for ease of use, while the chambers can be filled with larger parts on a single shelf or smaller components across two shelves, the chambers can accommodate 50cm x 50cm and 80cm x 80cm trays and are available with faster lead times than custom design and build systems.
Often provided as a bespoke system similar to the VacuTEC, our RotoVAC machines are designed for the vacuum plasma treatment of small parts such as o-rings, connectors or powders. The innovative combination of a rotating drum and a vacuum chamber is ideal for treating small components without the need to place them in a jig or use complicated handling systems.
RotoVAC’s processes with powders and pellets are incredibly interesting, often generating more complex reactions within the chamber than those initiated from the usual surface treatment only. Extra gases and injected liquids can create tailored chemical functional groups and surface properties.
The smallest full production system we make as standard, there’s no doubt that there is more to the VacuTEC 2020 than meets the eye. It features the use of multiple gases, rapid processing times and all the features of the larger systems.
This innovative vacuum plasma treatment system is often used for research during product development ahead of full production in a larger machine. Although it is used well for smaller components, especially when two systems are used together to feed multiple production lines, rather than a single large central system.
The VacuLAB is a fantastic, compact version of our full-scale VacuTEC unit. Easy to move and quick to set-up, the VacuLAB can be used for production, but most often finds its home in research centres, universities and labs where it’s used to replicate the treatment of full scale production systems for smaller scale testing such as lap shear testing or material swatches for painting.