Here at Tantec UK & Ireland, we ask, What are the benefits of using plasma over primers and chemical treatments? Plasma is a highly-popular form of surface treatment used to activate and clean. It is commonly used to treat a variety of materials including plastics, metals and glass. It provides stronger, more repeatable bonding, giving customers a greater freedom to engineer new, innovative products, using different materials, adhesives, inks or other processes. By using Plasma over traditional primers and chemical technology you can optimise a more environmentally friendly and cost-effective system for your business.
It is worth mentioning that primers and chemicals can be very useful, their initial cost and the skill/ automation required to use them is generally very low so they often work well for low volume production. You can also work with quite tailored and aggressive chemicals that have different ways of bonding surfaces, such as solvent welding, which might be better than a pre-treatment bonding process. There are many benefits of using plasma over primers and chemical treatments. Here are some examples;
There are many benefits of using plasma over primer and chemicals for your business, in particular the effects it has on the environment. Consumers are already demanding “green” products with small or no environmental footprint. To compete in the future, companies will have to adjust their products and production to minimise the environmental impact, this includes reducing VOCs and particulates as well as products hazardous to health within the manufacturing environment.
Manufacturers are turning to greener technologies to mitigate the damage caused by older treatments, including primers and chemical based solutions. REACH (Registration, Education, Authorisation and Restrictions of Chemicals) is the health and safety authority that protects human health and the environment from the use of chemicals. Many chemicals are now no longer available due to their place on the REACH list including the cleaning chemical, trichloroethylene which has been phased out over the last couple of decades, but was one of the most powerful cleaning agents available.
The need for more effective and efficient technologies is getting bigger in the manufacturing world, with businesses seeking different ways they can safely work with regulations in the industry. It is estimated that around 33,000 manufacturing workers suffer from illness caused or made worse from workplace exposures. All employees should have a safe, professional working environment where they can perform their role effectively. Tantec’s systems remove the need for hazardous chemicals present in solvents and primers, preventing their release into the local atmosphere. They operate using electricity and air, therefore there is no need to worry about harmful substances. This eliminates the risk to employees from inhaling or coming into physical contact with these chemicals and experiencing potentially harmful consequences.
As a result, our surface treatment systems have helped many customers in high-technology markets vastly improve their environmental credentials. At the same time, we’ve also driven the performance of their products to exciting new levels.
Our treatment systems use electricity with no need for secondary treatment gases or mains gas supplies. With most systems working between 500w and 2kw, it’s very cost effective especially in comparison to older treatment systems such as flame.
When compared with chemical and primers, electrical pre-treatments do have a higher overhead onsite, however, the life cycle including shipping, chemical storage and disposal of chemicals and PPE is comparable and often favourable to Plasma and Corona, especially on larger scale projects.
While Plasma and Corona treatment systems do use high voltage, the treatment areas are contained or restricted by guarding to ensure operator safety.
There can be gases made from these treatment systems, such as ozone with Corona and NOx gases with Atmospheric Plasma, but where they are used they can be efficiently removed and returned to the local environment and in some cases levels won’t exceed OEL, especially when used in well ventilated areas for limited periods.
In comparison, manual primer application in particular can pose significant health risks and require heavy duty face masks, gloves and other PPE. You will also find that the majority of primers and solvents for cleaning are highly flammable and the vapours and fumes from using these can flow over a bench or floor without being noticed. This can be highly dangerous if a source of ignition is nearby causing flash ignition across the work area.
For smaller projects, or where you can work outside, primers and chemical cleaning are much more simple than other treatment methods and while often costly to scale up, are very cost effective for initial project work. This is definitely a key point and one of the benefits of using plasma over primers and chemical treatments.
Repeatability and Ease of Use
A plasma or corona treatment system is highly monitored, it will reproduce results controlled by onboard systems and can be integrated easily with PLC controllers and automated systems. With minor consumables lasting thousands of hours, a consistent result is guaranteed.
When using primers, or especially abrasion techniques, repeatability can be poor – especially if performed by hand, or with automated pad systems that need frequent replacing and replenishment.
Typically, applying primers by hand is a guessing game and can be difficult to prove 100% coverage. Using techniques such as Vacuum Plasma, you can ensure 100% of the part is treated without worry.
It is true that a treatment system will require skill to operate and maintain while a chemical primer may only require a brush and a pot, so ease of use can swing both ways – again, being more sensible for larger scale projects where training is a relatively small overhead.If you looking for a reliable partner able to offer environmentally-friendly corona and plasma surface treatment solutions and improve the conditions of your manufacturing environment, reduce costs and want to drive product performance in the process, contact one of Tantec UK’s friendly experts today to discuss how our cutting-edge corona and plasma surface treatment systems can help.