When considering your options for treating surfaces, there are many techniques available and many factors to consider. Ultimately, we believe plasma technology renders better bond strengths than other surface treatments and is generally cleaner, faster, and less expensive. Still, a number of other techniques are in common use. Let’s take a look at them now.
While improving bond strength, abrasion techniques are labor-sensitive and labor-intensive.
Solvents tend to spread contaminants rather than remove them, and thus have little cleaning or surface-modifying effect. Solvent costs and disposal are further drawbacks.
Wet chemical treatments
This method consists typically of a solvent swell followed by a hot acid etch. Although very effective on limited substrates, they have only a very short processing window and the solution has to be changed as it is used. Over-treatment always presents a danger, and accounts for the low value in the table. Disposal costs are high, often outrunning purchase price. Ventilation, maintenance, wash-water, and health and safety concerns drive the cost of the process up further.
Flame and corona treatments
Both are limited to only a few select materials and shapes, and both carry a high potential for irreversible overtreatment. Ventilation and utility costs are high, and the results rarely come close to those of plasma treatments.
This chart shows the relative effectiveness of the surface treatment methods described above.
The Bottom Line
Although there are situations where some of the above treatments represent good value and high effectiveness, for most jobs plasma treatment should at least be in the mix. Once all the factors are considered, plasma is often extremely cost competitive.
If you have any questions or comments about surface modification treatments, or if you have a specific application that you would like to discuss, we encourage you to contact us.