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Plastics Machinery Magazine  February 2016

Product Innovations

PLASMADYNE  3DT  LLC has updated its PlasmaDyne atmosphereic plasma surface treating system, which is used on injection molded, blow molded and extruded parts. It uses thermal atmospheric plasma, which is a highly ionized air stream, to microclean surfaces and to create improved molecular properties for bonding and printinplasmadyne-industrial-double-rotating-head-img_3575g. Atmospheric plasma treating alters the surface energy of the plastic, resulting in powerful bonding with adhesioives, coatings, flocking, paint and ink, without the need for toxic solvents. It is available with one or two heads; more heads are available as a custom option.

WHAT’S NEW?  Numerous upgrades, including an updated controller and output power stage that allow independent control of multiple plasma treatment heads. A liquid-crystal display provides system feedback, local, or remote control, expanded input/output capabilities and a programmable timer. The single unit is light making it easy to move and integrate into production lines.

BENEFITS  Safe, economical and effective surface treatment and the flexibility to change from one application to the next.

Plastics Decorating  May 2016

3DT LLC of Germantown, Wisconsin has updated its MultiDyne corona treating heads from a molded head to an assembled one. This change assures a sturdier platform for consistent surface treatment. Additionally, should a component fail over time, it can easily and inexpensively be replaced; a cost-saving benefit to customers.

MultiDyne improves adhesion on 3-D parts effectively and inexpensively treating numerous substrates and a wide variety of applications with minimal set up. MultiDyne’s corona treatment is gentle yet powerful, causing improved bonding of paint, ink, adhesive and coating. It is designed for the surface treatment of injection, blow molded and extruded parts, especially those with complex shapes.

multidyne-corona-treating-head-knob-img_0304

3DT: Trailblazing Surface Treatment Company Celebrates 25 Years

FTA  August 2016

Germantown, WI   3DT LLC, true pioneers in plasma and corona treatment, celebrates their 25th Anniversary August 1.  In 1991 electrical surface treatment was an emerging technology in the United States. Two young Danish businessmen, Morten Jorgensen and Erik Kiel, brought corona and plasma technology from Denmark where it was invented by engineer, Verner Eisby in the 1950s and later adapted to the treatment of 3D parts by Bent Sorensen in the 1970s.  FSE02_MSET

In the 1990s most automotive, medical and packaging manufacturers were using chemical primer baths, physical abrasion and flame treatment to increase the surface tension and bonding on 3D parts. The drawbacks of these methods were huge, including being environmentally and health hazardous and costly. As a result, the new, safe, quick and less labor-intensive corona treatment took off, particularly with 3DT’s reliable and highly effective equipment.

Today, 3DT produces a complete line of surface treatment systems developed to manage adhesion problems on nearly all substrates and configuration of parts. 3DT covers the spectrum in surface treatment solutions from microcleaning Petri dishes for cell growth to improving the adhesion of flocking on rubber profiles. Their systems range from compact tabletop units to mammoth 10 treating head systems. 3DT’s worldwide success for 25 years lies in their innovative technology, robust design, reliable results and exceptional customer service provided with every standard and custom system.

Completing their line of solutions, 3DT represents two German companies for North America: SOFTAL and AFS. Both firms are powerhouses in the film manufacturing and converting industries.  Whether an application is 10 inches or 10 meters, there is a surface treatment solution at 3DT.  Currently, 3DT is experiencing favorable growth in this area of the market due to high quality German engineering and 3DT’s local, expert sales and service.

At their 16,000 square foot facility in Germantown, Wisconsin, Erik Kiel, owner, looks forward to the next decade where 3DT “will be launching new, exciting technology.” He attributes 3DT’s longevity to the company’s ability to be flexible, adjusting to consumer and market trends, a team approach between all employees, and a strong customer focus. Kiel concluded by stating, “We appreciate the loyal customers and employees who have helped us achieve this important milestone.”

3DT’s New System for Unparalleled Corona Treatment

PolyDyne Pro –  Utilizing the newest science in surface treatment and electronic technology, PolyDyne Pro is designed for intelligent, consistent, and powerful corona treatment. 

3DT’s new, versatile, high-performance corona treatment system improves the surface tension on numerous materials resistant to printing, adhesive, and coating processes. PolyDyne Pro is engineered with multiple feedback devices for precise performance monitoring and adapts to many types of applications, such as 3-dimensional plastic parts, medical parts, plastic sheets, foam, corrugated material, and more.

Features:

  • Universal Input allows operation betwe
  • en 100-240 VAC, 50/60 Hz
  • Sophisticated remote interface can be used to enable the generator and set and monitor output power level
  • Color touchscreen where the user can monitor all system parameters, view the data log, the alarm history and receive troubleshooting help
  • Programmable for various treatmen
  • t modes: product sensing, timed, or continuous operation
  • Convenient data log records operation history to ensure maximum efficiency
  • Compact design allows for easy integration into production lines

To learn more about PolyDyne Pro contact one of our sales engineers at 1-262-253-6700, sales@3DTLLC.com or visit our website at www.3DTLLC.com.

Surface treatment: Technology spreading to meet quality demands

Issue: September 2015

By Rob Neilley

Does it sound contradictory that suppliers of surface treatment technology say a technology is spreading steadily into new markets and applications, yet many manufacturing engineers don’t think of it at all? Suppliers say that’s the case. Though it can be an advantage when nothing sticks to a plastic product, it’s a big problem when something should.

Surface treatment, broadly defined, is the modification of a surface to achieve good adhesion between it and something applied or bonded to it. It is useful for plastics because they generally have inherently low surface energy. Adhesives, coatings, ink, labels and paint can’t find enough to hang onto. Treatment increases the surface’s energy and wettability, enabling it to form a strong bond with what is being applied.

Why then do many engineers facing an adhesion problem — for example, fully dry ink is wiping right off — not look into surface treatment? Treatment system suppliers say engineers usually look first at what’s close: polymer materials, additives, printing technology, process parameters and, of course, the ink. Suppliers also say that, as awareness and understanding of surface treatment spread, processors are turning to it sooner.

Let’s look at surface treatment technology itself. It’s interesting and worth knowing.

Surface treatment: two theories, multiple methods

Greg Wood, president of surface treatment technology supplier Lectro Engineering Co. Inc., St. Louis, says efforts to improve surface treatment for plastics have been ongoing since the early days of plastics. Much research has been done, yet the understanding of how surface treatment improves adhesion was limited because treatment processes might affect only the upper few hundred angstroms of a plastic surface. Being only one-hundred-millionth of a centimeter long, angstroms are mainly used to express wavelengths and interatomic distances. A few hundred are very nearly nothing, and not much to work with.

Relatively recent technology finally enabled analysis at the nano level and two theories now explain why surface treatment works. The functional group theory says treatment causes surface reactions such as oxidation, the scission of polymer chains and cross-linking, which create functional groups including carbonyl, carboxyl, hydroperoxide and hydroxyl that enhance chemical bonding to the plastic surface. The mechanical-physical theory suggests a molecular-level pitting and cracking of the surface, which allow a mechanical bonding between the plastics surface and what is applied. The two theories don’t apply to all treatment approaches, but might both be at play with plasma.

Chemical and mechanical surface treatment may seem fairly low-tech, but they are still in use. Chemical treatment, mostly with chlorinated solvents or strong acids or bases, attacks the surface, breaking bonds and creating free radicals that roughen the surface. Wiping a chlorinated solution on a plastic surface before bonding or painting is still widely used in the process of painting plastic auto parts, but is giving way to other treatment methods as safety and environmental rules grow more stringent. Mechanical abrasion of a plastic surface can help adhesion and is most often done with another surface treatment to improve adhesion. The potential drawbacks of chemical treatment and mechanical abrasion should be obvious.

Flame treatment is probably the most familiar surface treatment, using an oxidizing flame of 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit to 5,000 degrees Fahrenheit contacts the plastic surface. Generally, the hotter the flame, the faster and more effective the treatment. Balancing that is the need to minimize the flame’s exposure to the plastic to avoid distortion, warping and dulling of gloss finishes. In its favor, flame will vaporize some contaminants and is fast. However, it generally doesn’t work on irregularly shaped parts, and it presents obvious safety issues in a manufacturing plant. The treatment requires a relatively high amount of energy.

Combustion’s high temperatures create plasma; however, in industrial uses, plasma is applied through lower-heat techniques that rely on the ionization of gases. Unlike other treatments, plasma performs three services at once: It activates the surface by selective oxidation to ensure stronger adhesion of paint, ink, labels, coatings or virtually anything else; it eliminates static charge; and it performs micro-cleaning.

Corona treatment, which has been long used for film and other flat plastic substrates, directs a high-frequency corona discharge through a small air gap at the surface to be treated. On the upside, corona treatment eliminates shrinking and warping and is safer than an open flame. One drawback is that the discharge-emitting electrode has to be close to the part. Multiple electrodes are needed for different parts and more setup time is needed.

Gas plasma treatment is done within a low-pressure chamber. Plasma is formed from a gas such as helium, argon, oxygen or nitrogen, using radio or microwave frequencies. It increases surface energy greatly, works with irregularly shaped parts and allows creation of specific functional groups on the plastic surface. Because it is a batch method and has high equipment costs, gas plasma treatment is mostly used with high-value products such as those in the medical sector.

Open-atmosphere plasma treatment, also known as open-air, atmospheric-pressure and suppressed-spark plasma, generates plasma from the atmosphere under normal air pressure and allows it to be sustained to provide surface treatment of polymers and other substrates. The surface energy levels are higher than with corona systems and the treatment has a longer lifetime. The rate of electron bombardment can be up to 100 times greater, which increases etching on the plastic surface and creates stronger bonding. It can provide 360-degree treatment of 3-D objects with no need for fixtures to support them. No vacuum chamber is needed and it does not use high frequencies or need close proximity to an electrode

Significantly, since only air and electrical power are needed for plasma surface treatment, and it creates no effluent or volatile organic compounds, it can be integrated easily into existing production processes via conveyors, robotics and other methods. In addition to cleaning, activating and eliminating static on plastic products, atmospheric plasma also works on aluminum and other metals, glass, recycled materials and composites.

Rob Neilley, senior correspondent

rneilley@plasticsmachinerymagazine.com

img_48683DT’s TubeDyne Creates Powerful Adhesion on Medical Tubing

Medical Design Briefs December 2015

Germantown, WI – Advances in minimally invasive surgery get a boost from 3DT’s surface treatment system, TubeDyne Treating System. This system is designed to treat medical tube ends for a permanent bond to surgical instruments, housings or other tubing such as catheters. TubeDyne harnesses atmospheric plasma which alters the surface energy on pebax and polyethylene tubing creating a strong bond with adhesives, coatings, and ink. 3DT’s TubeDyne uniformly and gently treats tubing within its self-contained, compact, tabletop unit.

TubeDyne is designed for the outside treatment of tube ends. Any tubing up to 0.375″ in diameter, with or without metal inserts, can be placed in the holding fixture and receive uniform treatment at a length of approximately 2.00″. The unit includes an integrated generator, transformer, electrode assembly, holding fixture and ozone filter. TubeDyne is PLC-controlled and features an operator console with a human machine interface (HMI), including: a programmable, monochrome touch screen with status menu, run time log, service hour log and alarm/trouble-shooting screen. It is operator safe, friendly, and ergonomically designed. TubeDyne offers consistent, uniform, 360 degree treatment resulting in powerful bonding.

3DT LLC, is a leader in plasma and corona treating, offering a broad line of standard systems as well as custom systems. With 25 years of experience, 3DT provides solutions to adhesion problems with systems capable of treating virtually any 3-dimensional or 2-dimensional surface, regardless of shape, with superior adhesion results. For more information contact sales@3DTLLC.com or visit the website at www.3DTLLC.com.

Plasma System for Improving the Adhesion of Glue to Cardboard

ThomasNet  January 20, 2017

3DT LLC, surface treatment specialists of Germantown, Wisconsin, has unveiled their latest atmospheric plasma treating system designed especially for the treatment of glue lines on cartons.

This super-sized PlasmaDyne system is designed to accommodate the components of four plasma treating heads. Atmospheric plasma (a highly-ionized air stream) re-structures the chemical properties of many surfaces creating conditions for a secure bonding of glue lines to cardboard cartons. PlasmaDyne technology is gentle enough for paper.

The PlasmaDyne system easily integrates into folding production lines and includes precise, adjustable handling brackets. Each treating head is programmed to operate independently providing flexibility for numerous carton applications. PlasmaDyne is available with 1 – 4 heads, depending on the number of glue lines required.

This model is just one of several plasma systems from 3DT designed to deliver highly effective surface treatment for both conductive and non-conductive applications. PlasmaDyne meets numerous surface treatment needs such as improving the adhesion of coatings, laminates, paint, ink, glue, and the cleaning of many types of  substrates. For more information, visit www.3DTLLC.com.  

   

Minimizing Downtime

AFS experts discuss the advantages of modular generators for corona and plasma treatment stations

Corona stations are available in all sizes depending on the application- from 10 inch narrow web lines to wide coating machines and BOPP/BOPET lines of up to 10 meters. Usually, the high frequency high voltage that is needed to power the corona process is provided by generators that have to be upsized with increasing performance requirements.

However, their maximum performance is limited due to the maximum available size of the electrical components in the power inverters. With the maximum performance available on the market – 60kW per generator – and therefore per electrode bar, the limits of the technical possibilities are reached. Not only on extremely wide lines but also at high speed applications or for materials with high demands in terms of corona dosage.

Scaling for pretreatment by means of additional electrodes and a single generator quickly becomes expensive due to larger or additional rollers. A further disadvantage of these large single generators is that a technical defect at a critical part of the inverter can bring an entire web to a standstill.

Overcoming limitations

AFS, from Horgau, Germany, now offers a modular generator design as a solid solution to both problems. AFS’ modular generator overcomes the performance limitations of a single generator and, at the same time, minimizes failure rate.

AFS Modular Generators

These generators boast several parallel power inverters, which increase the maximum performance of a single generator to 144kW – more than twice as much as conventional products on the market.

Consequently, modular generators are capable of setting new performance records and are perfectly suited for the power needed for processes with controlled gas, such as plasma treatment systems.

If a module fails, the generator will still operate but with a reduction in power until the module is replaced by a new one – simply “plug and play.” Single modules are identical and thus interchangeable. Clearly, modular generators reduce production line downtime and costly trips by onsite service specialists.

During the development of their modular generator technology, the experts at AFS included the most sophisticated components available, such as a larger TFT color touch screens which employ an intuitive user-interface on the generator similar to the graphics and functions of smartphones and tablets. Operational settings can now be adjusted through the proven rotary knob as well as by means of a touch screen. Additionally, system parameters can be easily adjusted through a password protected area for specific applications.

For more information about the AFS modular generator and their full line of corona and plasma treating systems contact 3DT LLC, North America’s representative for AFS, at Sales@3DTLLC.com or visit their website at www.3DTLLC.com.