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2 min read

Plasma Corona Discharge: 4 Advantages for Manufacturers

By Dave Biering on May 17, 2016

Plasma Corona Discharge: 4 Advantages for Manufacturers

The US manufacturing economy continues to waver between marked improvement and ongoing challenge in 2016, according to the National Association of Manufacturers. While progress is being made, there’s still concern around global headwinds. Reading this report, it occurred to me that many manufacturers could realize significant gains by building corona discharge treatments into their production schedules ― and they may not even realize it! Corona alters the surface properties of materials to give them desirable attributes, such as a part that will last longer or boast cleaner finishes.  

Here’s how this surface modification technique works: 

What is corona discharge plasma? It’s a surface modification technique that alters polymers and elastomers in order to control the interactions and responses of a secondary application such as bonding

How does it work? A corona discharge is plasma at standard atmospheric pressure. Plasma is produced by an electric charge that is produced by high voltage when in close contact to metal electrodes. The resultant discharge is the corona discharge. When an electrical discharge occurs, ions and ozone are nearly always generated. It is an ideal method for removing debris and contaminants from circuit boards, for instance. 

How can it help manufacturers? The treatment enhances the properties of components so that they perform better in specific operating conditions. Because without the right properties, surface events can lead to the failure of a device (or the system containing it). Corona discharge is just one of several surface modification techniques. 

Here are 4 key benefits that corona discharge plasma delivers to manufacturers: 

1) Increase manufacturing yields

Corona discharge and other surface modification techniques can remove contaminants from sensitive surfaces to reduce part failure and increase total production yields. This is particularly true in fiber applications. 

2) Better bonding results

By removing all traces of contamination, corona treatment can improve the bond strength of inks or paints, or the bond of one component to another plasma work well with in-line process such as plastic film.

3) Selective surface control

Corona is a two-dimensional treatment process. It offers a robust system that is easy to control. With the right equipment, corona can be done in-house, or the service can be outsourced with a quick turnaround.

4) Longer treatment lifetime

By removing all traces of organic contamination, corona discharge treatments give components longer durability and even corrosion resistance. It’s used widely by the medical, pharma, biotech, aerospace and other industries to treat components.

Corona treatments can rapidly treat large substrates and are effective on many commodity-grade polymers. Submit your design specs to explore if the method is right for your manufacturing environment. 

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Topics: corona treatment
2 min read

3 Issues to Avoid with Corona Treatment of Films

By Dave Biering on July 7, 2015

3 Issues to Avoid with Corona Treatment of FIlms

Today we are talking films on Tech Talk ― as in corona treatment of ― not the latest “must- see” summer blockbuster (although we enjoy those, too!). So what do you need to know about corona treatment and successful treatment of films?

As you probably know, corona treatment can help you modify plastic films and other materials to render them more bondable, or to provide a longer lifespan. Corona plasma is a visible electrical discharge which is produced when a high-voltage and high-frequency electric potential comes in close to electrodes in the atmosphere. When the discharge occurs, ions and ozone are generated; the ozone compound is relatively short-lived and may dissociate to molecular oxygen (O2) and oxygen radical (O`). The oxygen radical then works to modify the polymeric film material. Explore corona treatment and other techniques in the Surface Modification Technical White Paper.

While corona treatment has a very-high success rate, there are three common challenges to be aware of:

  1. Blocking – As polar groups form during corona, they have a high attraction to the molecular level, yet this attraction can be greater than the internal bonds of the substrate. Under these circumstances, the substrate can delaminate when the product is unrolled. The tighter the roll is wound and the longer it sits in storage, the more severe the problem becomes. Blocking is particularly challenging when working with films at the center of the roll.
  2. Heat Sealing - Excessive corona treatment can lead to problems when attempting to heat seal the product.
  3. Additives - If the polypropylene or polyethylene contains additional components (such as slip additives or some processing aids), the effectiveness of the initial treatment is reduced over time. This is caused as the additives “bloom” to the surface and partially mask the polar groups formed during treatment. To avoid this challenge, it is best to treat these films at the point-of-use rather than at the point-of-manufacture.

Beyond film, corona treatment is also applied to other in-line processes such as foils, paper, webs and tape. Will it work for your materials? Fill out a Surface Modification Worksheet with your design specs and we’ll help you find out!

Tell us about your experience with Corona Treatment of films in the comment field below. Or, if you’re so inclined, share your list of favorite summer films! 

Topics: corona treatment