What surface treatment can I use on plastic pipes?

Surface treatment plastic pipes

Plastic pipes are used in a wide variety of applications and across a range of different industries. The three common types, PE, PEX, and PP, share one simple characteristic – low surface energy, making it difficult for inks, coatings, and foams to adhere to the surface. Tantec UK & Ireland’s Corona and Plasma treaters solve these problems by increasing surface energy and improving adhesion. 

Many different applications 

PE, PEX, and PP display a wide range of properties that make plastic piping systems the ideal choice for anything from pressured water mains, gravity sewer systems, indoor heating systems, and a continuously growing number of new markets and uses. Plastic pipes can be used for the following applications;

• Water pipes  

• Gas pipes  

• Sewer pipes  

• Cable protection or conduit  

• Heating and cooling pipes  

• Industrial systems  

• Cables with an inner conductor 

• Cables without an inner conductor 

• Optical fibre

Advantages of plastic pipes 

Plastic pipes have numerous advantages over steel pipes such as being lightweight, durable, flexible, and cost-effective. Their resistance to many ordinary chemicals like acids, bases, salts, and oxidants makes them suitable for a wide range of unique applications. They are easy to install and require minimum maintenance while offering long-term resistance to many service conditions; abrasion, temperature, ground movement, bending, weathering, internal pressure, etc.

Surface treatment 

Improved product durability from chemical resistant and low surface energy materials leads to a decline in wettability and a surface’s ability to adhere to liquids such as inks and other coatings. This decline in adhesive power has led to new and innovative methods to improve wettability. 

Tantec’s UK & Ireland Corona and Plasma Treatment Systems provide substantial flexibility in many materials used in the pipe industry and is a critical process in solving adhesion problems. Tantec’s specialised corona treaters can treat pipes across their complete length with superior one-pass coverage and consistency. Corona treatment chemically activates the surface, allowing it to ’grab onto’ the ink, foam, or coating applied to the plastic pipe. The chemical bond that occurs with the pipe’s surface and the ink or coating is much stronger than without treatment.

Tantec Plasma Treaters and Corona Surface Treatment Systems applied in the Pipe and Cable Industry:

SpotTEC – powerful, wide surface treatment 

The SpotTEC is an in-line pre-treatment system designed to be integrated into new or existing pipe production lines. Treating around 65mm wide per head, the SpotTEC is great for larger pipes and extrusions with large print being placed.

SpotTEC turns on/ off in milliseconds and runs at less than 500w so is both greener and safer than traditional flame systems that would have once done the same job.

PlasmaTEC-X – powerful, high speed surface treatment 

Atmospheric Plasma works in a similar way to the SpotTEC system, but its output is much more concentrated. This means while you only have an output width of around 10mm to 15mm, you can run up to 10x faster than SpotTEC.

This usually works as the better solution for thinner pipes, cables and extrusions and has the same advantage that it can be dropped onto an existing line and be working in minutes.

CableTEC – optimises adhesion properties of printing inks onto cables 

CableTEC has two key advantages over both the SpotTEC and PlasmaTEC systems, it can vary its power! While both previous systems work well at constant or similar speeds, they are mostly either on or off.

CableTEC can vary its power with its built in speed sensor so it knows when the line is running slow and requiring only 10% power, equally it knows when to really turn everything on. This leads to perfect and consistent treatment amounts over the surface as standard.

We see this as a perfect tool for lines which have short runs with high set up times that may run slow to get going but higher speeds when in the middle of the process.

Tantec UK & Ireland is one of the world’s leading providers of Plasma and Corona Treatment Systems.

Our specialist surface treatment systems are trusted by major manufacturers across the globe. With nearly 50 years of expertise in the manufacturing and supply of high-specification surface treatment systems for metals and plastics, our experts also offer a comprehensive range of sub-contract manufacturing and testing services. Either way, we can ensure your product’s adhesive properties are elevated to the highest industry standards.

Not many people realise the important role our products play every day, or how they constantly help to innovate and push technology forward. Plasma and Corona treatments provide stronger, more repeatable bonding, giving our customers greater freedom to engineer new, innovative materials with exciting properties.

Speak to one of our experts today to see how Tantec UK & Ireland can help you.

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