Surface Activator Twin K Series is a printing surface activator accessory that improves ink adhesion in all decoration processes. The treated materials maintain much better resistance characteristics over time compared to untreated materials. The treatment is temporary and therefore the processes must be defined within 12 or 24 hours.
Surface Activator, the new machine presented here, is certainly a solution that looks to the future with the awareness of those who have a great knowledge of materials and surfaces. The newly developed plasma generator on board this flatbed activates any surface and makes it wet or wettable. This also means that difficult substrates and surfaces such as polypropylene (PP), polyethylene (PE), polyamide (PA), polycarbonate (PC), glass, metals and leather can be printed.
The rotary head has the option of different tips depending on the type of treatment required, speed requirements and size, and the tips are supplied and customised according to requirements.
The non-invasive pre-press treatment, unlike treatments such as corona discharge or flaming, allows the surface to be perfectly activated in a short time and therefore receptive to inks and post-treatments. The format of this type of flatbed is customisable and therefore the customer can request a personalised configuration according to his needs.
Secure adhesion without the use of primer
Recycled plastics and wood-plastic composites are almost always characterised by difficult-to-bond surfaces, which in the past made them almost impossible to use for industrial processes. A new in-line plasma system is considered revolutionary in the search for a cost-effective solution for the production of composite panels.
The rotating nozzle method now makes it possible for the first time to pre-treat large, lightweight panels with potential-free atmospheric pressure plasma at high speeds and in a continuous process. Bionics provided the inspiration for the production of modern plastic panels right from the initial development. Nature provided the example for the honeycomb structure, plastic technology provided the polypropylene (PP). Honeycomb panels are increasingly used as the primary layer in lightweight composite panels because they are generally waterproof and offer high strength and stiffness.
The most important feature, however, is undoubtedly the low weight. However, the new panel technology is able to reach its full potential if parts can be produced in an efficient, cost-effective and environmentally friendly manner. Until now, the pre-treatment of PP or PVC composite panels has been carried out mainly by wet chemical methods with the help of primers containing solvents, which are harmful to both humans and the environment due to high VOC emissions. Primers are generally applied by hand to the primary layer by spraying or laminating.
Irregularities are inevitable because it is very difficult to achieve a uniform application with this method. An additional problem is the need to observe the temperature of the material being treated very precisely when using primers. Basically, it would be possible to use water-dispersed adhesive primers without solvents, but they require much more energy during processing.
The fourth state of matter
Plasma technology makes use of another natural phenomenon, creating technical plasmas that mimic natural discharges in the atmosphere. Plasma is based on a simple physical principle. Plasma technology uses another natural phenomenon, creating technical plasmas that mimic natural discharges in the atmosphere. As more energy is added to the gas, it becomes
ionises, i.e. electrons gain more kinetic energy and leave the atomic structure. This generates free electrons, ions and molecular fragments, turning the gas into a plasma - also known as 'the fourth state of matter'. In the past, however, this state of matter was usable at atmospheric pressure in a very limited way due to its instability.
This technology, used today in industrial applications all over the world, is characterized by a triple action: plasma activates surfaces with controlled oxidation processes, thus increasing surface energy and at the same time discharging surfaces. At the same time, plasma has a micro-fine cleaning effect on the surfaces of materials such as metals, plastics, ceramics and glass. The dual effect of intense activation and simultaneous micro-cleaning considerably exceeds the effectiveness of conventional systems. The result is a homogeneous paint finish and stable, long-term adhesion of the coating, even under the most difficult conditions of use.
L’energia di superficie è l’indice di misura più importante per valutare l’adesione prevista di uno strato adesivo su un rivestimento di protezione. In generale, le plastiche hanno un’energia di superficie bassa, generalmente tra < 28 mJ/m² e 40 mJ/m²; troppo bassa per una buona adesione. Con l’attivazione al plasma, l’energia di superficie può essere aumentata notevolmente.
Openair plasma technology also enables energy values of > 72 mJ/m2 to be achieved. This not only dramatically improves surface wettability but also enables the reliable adhesion of previously incompatible substrates, for example water-based adhesives or coating systems for difficult surfaces such as apolar plastics.
The typical temperature rise during the treatment of plastics is less than 30 °C. Due to the special design of the nozzle, the treatment space on the substrate surface remains virtually electrically neutral, thus enabling even very sensitive electronic components to be activated.
In technical terminology, the plasma state is defined as an electrically conductive gas. When the low-potential plasma beam strikes the surface, the electrostatic charges on the surface are dissipated to the ground, i.e. the electrostatically charged surfaces of the material are completely neutralised.
This prevents a plasma-treated plastic component from attracting pollutants from the air around it during the manufacturing process; it can be coated or bonded immediately.
Micro - cleaning
By using atmospheric plasma technology instead of traditional processes, processes such as the removal of surface dust, release agents or additives from polymer materials have been decisively rationalised. The metals subjected to plasma treatment are also subjected to micro-cleaning. During this process, organic pollutants such as fats and oils are vaporized, fragmented and partially oxidized and transformed into carbon dioxide and water.