Anticipating the Needs of Plasma Pretreatment for Industrial Print Applications

Posted 9th February 2018 by Christina Molina

Not until the 1950s had the modern concept of plasma been discovered, let alone artificially produced. Today, plasma is transcending surface treatment technology and Plasmatreat is at the forefront of these capabilities, offering a broad spectrum of systems for atmospheric and low-pressure plasma processes.  “Plasma pretreatment is a high-tech process for the environmentally friendly and highly effective pretreatment and nanocoating of material surfaces,” explains Bas Buser, Senior Applications Engineer for Plasmatreat. “Materials such as plastics, metals, glass, or ceramics are cleaned and simultaneously activated or functionally plasma coated within a matter of seconds.”

Industrial inkjet has made an impact on the print manufacturing world and traditional print processes alike. One of the biggest advantages of digital printing compared to others is the flexibility of a print job without the need of, say, new screens or printing plates. These advancements reduce production costs dramatically and accommodate any number of prints. The challenges, in Buser’s opinion, lie in printing on new and less expensive substrates using water based inks and non-solvent inks like UV curing. But that is already being tackled by Plasmatreat.

At the InPrint Industrial Inkjet Conference, Buser will be speaking on Openair® Plasma, the latest plasma pre-treatment for digital UV printing. “The range of applications of Openair® Plasma for digital printing is wide,” Buser said. “For example, plasma technology is already being used by well-known manufacturers in the printing of credit cards, household appliances, toys, electric cables, furniture panels or garage doors.”

Plasmatreat operates among many industries, including automotive, aerospace, consumer goods, packaging and EV batteries. But the most thriving industry in Buser’s opinion: electronics.  Consumer electronics, PCBs, Wafers, LEDs, sensors, and display screens are showing the most growth in using pretreatment technology. And with regards to Plasmatreat, Buser foresees a 10% growth within the company, specifically in electronic applications as well as EV battery manufacturing.

Since its start in 1995, Plasmatreat has expanded from Germany to technology centers in the US, Canada, Japan and China, with subsidiaries and representatives in over 35 countries. So where do they go from here? According to Buser, it’s all about anticipating the needs of the industry, including those of the digital print sector in North America. “We, therefore, will be present in Louisville at next year’s InPrint USA show.” Some of those needs at the top of Plasmatreat’s list include an increase of line speeds and of wider applications as well as turn-key system integration for a fully automated printing process.

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