On the surface – Review of the 1st JOINING OSAKA

Strong tradeshow presence for Plasmatreat Japan: The 1st JOINING OSAKA, West Japan’s new trade fair for adhesion and joining technologies, took place in September at the INTEX exhibition center. The international trade show is aimed at interested parties from major industries such as automotive engineering, shipbuilding, aerospace, electrical engineering/electronics and construction.

With the motto Feel free to look at us ‘on the surface’! Jun Kobayashi (President and CEO, Plasmatreat Japan) and his team presented visitors to the stand with a thrilling mix of highly effective pretreatments using Openair® plasma and PlasmaPlus® technologies.

 

The corrosion protection provided by a functionalized PlasmaPlus® coating was the main focus of the stand. A test specimen made from copper – a material which is virtually irreplaceable in many areas of industry due to its special characteristics – was used for demonstration purposes. Copper materials are widely used in plug connectors in electrical engineering. Yet when exposed to ambient air or heat, an oxide layer forms on copper, which overlays the surface energy present in the metal and so impairs its adhesive characteristics. Surface treatment before bonding or soldering is essential to remove the oxide layer or prevent it occurring. Residual oxide layers can lead to untight connections and ultimately cause contact failure, for example. Openair® plasma combined with PlasmaPlus® can completely replace the mechanical or wet-chemical cleaning and coating processes normally used.

The Japanese Plasmatreat tradeshow team at the 1st JOINING OSAKA.: (from left) Takeharu Aoki, Hideto Niwa, Misako Murayama, Jun Kobayashi, Wataru Mizuno and Daisuke Nishiyama

Ultrafine cleaning with Openair® plasma was demonstrated live to numerous visitors: In a plasma cell a Janome three-axis desktop robot controlled a type PFW10 nozzle as it moved across a predefined area in the top half of the copper sample. The Japanese team demonstrated the action of the corrosion-proof plasma coating on two partially coated test specimens, one of which was heated to 200°C. The effect of PlasmaPlus® polymerization:  While the uncoated part of the test specimen had a clearly visible oxide layer, the plasma-treated part was completely free from corrosion.

A copper strip partially coated with PlasmaPlus® before and after heating. While the uncoated part of the test specimen (right, bottom half) clearly shows an oxide layer, the plasma-treated section (top half) is corrosion-free.

 

The second live demonstration also attracted large crowds: Here the power of Openair® plasma was demonstrated in the painting process at the plasma Live Lab Bar. The test object was a white polypropylene (PP) can lid. The sequence is as follows: First, three large letters are written on the untreated surface of the lid with a blue, solvent-free touch-up pen. Next the whole surface of the lid is treated with plasma and then painted with the same touch-up pen, including the letters. For the sticky tape test, a piece of transparent adhesive tape is firmly pressed onto the surface of the plastic lid and removed. Surprising effect: The surface on which the letters were written has turned white again. The paint on the untreated PP surface has come off and stuck to the adhesive tape, while the paint on the plasma-treated plastic surface remains intact. 

 

Testing Openair® plasma: (from left to right) Fig. 1: Painted lettering on the untreated PP surface; Fig. 2: Plasma treatment of the entire surface, followed by painting of the entire surface; Fig. 3: Adhesive tape test: The paint has come off the untreated surface; Fig. 4: The paint remains intact on the plastic surface pretreated with Openair® plasma.

 

Jun Kobayashi was delighted with the level of interest shown by visitors to the stand. “It always amazes me”, he summed up “how you can explain the effect of atmospheric pressure plasma, even to specialists, using very simple techniques. And it's particularly interesting to see how time and again visitors are amazed to discover that no organic solvents or other agents are required to achieve a high level of corrosion protection on metal – as in this example – or enhanced adhesive properties on a non-polar plastic surface.”  

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