9月 02 2017

Handheld plasma treatment for surface preparation or bonding


对不起,此内容只适用于美式英文。 For the sake of viewer convenience, the content is shown below in the alternative language. You may click the link to switch the active language.

How does it work?

Short version: it seems like magic but the plasma is chemically modifying that top few layers – putting on high energy groups allowing for the adhesive or paint to form a chemical bond.

handheld-plasmaFirst off, what is plasma? Plasma is ionized gas, which is highly reactive. The handheld plasma treatment system (shown in picture) will deliver this highly reactive gas directed to your materials. The plasma will do multiple things simultaneously as you hover this tool across your substrate: 1) clean the surface free of organic contamination, 2) the reactive atoms will insert itself onto the top molecular layers of your surface, and 3) also etch the top molecular layers very slowly.

Yes, that is someone’s hand on the pistol grip handle and it is quite safe to use when you are that close to the plasma. The wheels allow the user to freely guide on a large (relatively flat) surface while maintaining consistent distance between plasma exit and substrate. In between the two wheels, you see a bright strip. That is the plasma glow discharge (it gives off light when it goes from excited state back down to neutral state). The distance and the speed at which you guide the tool will matter and is highly dependent on the material.

How does plasma do those three things happen and how can you tell?

When you do hover the tool over your substrate, you will not see any physical changes (as you would sanding or grit blasting). Remember, this is happening to the top layers, which is very thin and is not visible to the naked eye.

Organic contamination consists of hydrogens and carbons. Our plasma will usually be used with oxygen based plasma – meaning it will generate very reactive oxygen atoms. When the oxygen combines with 2 hydrogens, it will form water. However, the amount is so small that it volatilizes from the surface. Carbon contaminants will form carbon dioxide, which is a gas form so that flies off the surface.

The material does get etched very slowly because the reactive oxygen atoms are not selective. If you provide enough time and enough reactive oxygen, it will etch through almost anything. So damage to the part is not a concern with our atmospheric plasma technology.

Once the part has been treated, there will be no visual change. The quickest way to tell is by dipping it in water (water break free test) or putting a droplet of water down on the area that has been plasma’ed and compare to another droplet of same/similar size down. This is the quickest and most qualitative way to demonstrate that your surface has been plasma cleaned/treated. What you should expect to see is the water droplet sheath out much further on the cleaned surface compared to untreated. Water is a polar molecule and is attracted to other polar components, thus spreading out more on the oxygenated surface.

Now, if you want quantitative data, then I would recommend a cost-effective portable goniometer such as the Kruss Mobile Surface Analyzer (MSA). The MSA can be utilized in a lab setting or on the production floor. It takes a total 3-5 seconds to do the following: place two droplets (water or another liquid), take contact angle measurements, and the software to calculate the polar and dispersive components of the surface free energy.

Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions.

Richie Woo
Sales Engineer
(626) 410-8491
rwoo@surfxtechnologies.com

5月 09 2016

汽車零部件供應商 – 當心空氣等離子體只能夠提供勉強可以接受的結果



高密度聚乙烯(HDPE)和聚丙烯(PP)被廣泛地用於汽車行業生產模制塑料部件。這些電子元件欲獲得塑料的堅固,耐用的附著力可以說是一個很大的挑戰。線上大氣等離子體表面活化解決了這個問題。但是,你必須使用正確的等離子體作業。

空氣等離子體產生的熱反應氣體激活熱敏感材料時會產稱不良的影響,如聚乙烯和聚丙烯。 Surfx的冷氬等離子體提供了一個完整的解決方案,可增加優異的附著力與無熱損傷。

顯然,使用空氣等離子體的氣體成本與那些使用瓶裝氬和氧更便宜。然而,不同的是最多幾毛錢($ 0.01美元)的售價為十幾塊錢的一部分。省下來的錢真的值得必須承受著招回的風險嗎?附著的部件必須通過使用數万小時下恆定振盪​​,溫度範圍從-10攝氏度至40攝氏度,並且在高達100%的濕度下。實驗室測試不能重複這樣的環境。

當心空氣等離子體只能夠提供勉強可以接受的結果。可告訴您的客戶,您是願意去加倍努力,提供一個更好的解決方案使用Surfx產品,在車輛的生命週期內,提供沒有失敗且可靠的產品。

羅伯特·希克斯博士
CEO兼總裁
Surfx技術有限責任公司

3月 29 2016

等離子手持式工具對於提高塑料的附著力


Hand Plasma System for Surface Perperation製造塑料商品部件時貼合是的一個大問題。不管膠合,印刷或塗覆這些材料,表面必須是乾淨與被活化的。大氣壓等離子體是一個安全,符合成本效益,和“綠色”的清潔並活化塑料粘合方式。等離子體產生反應性氣體的流,可有效的去除有機污染和產生增加貼合能力的反應性官能團。這個過程發生在極短的時間內。

製造成本必須控制在最低限度,以實現利潤最大化。一個大問題是,如何以具有成本效益的方式與等離子體處理的塑料部件。這個過程需要自動化,還是可以通過手持方式會更便宜呢?答案在於生產的產出量。如果每一天數千個部件必須被活化,選擇自動化系統可能是合理的方式。但是,如果每一天產量不到一千個部件,使用手持式等離子工具是正確的選擇。

一個完全自動化的等離子體系統可能需要花費$ 100萬美元以上,當你考慮到機器人技術與整合,在整個工作流程當中從機器人的工作範圍內必須維護員工安全。一個完整的等離子手持工具只佔成本的一小部分。這裡是以每天處理500pics,每​​人每年有300個工作天所需資本的估算:機器人系統每件生產成本$ 1.33美元對比手持工具等離子部分0.07 $。

Hand Plasma System for Surface Perperation

Surfx的手持等離子體工具處理塑件只需極短的時間,安全且易於使用,並且具有最小的EH&S的問題。我們的產品可以為您節省很多錢了,大氣等離子體必須安裝在治具上,並保持遠離操作者。

羅伯特·希克斯博士
CEO兼總裁
Surfx技術有限責任公司

3月 24 2015

Surface preparation in the aerospace industry


One of the most common applications that we see here at Surfx is the need for surface preparation in the aerospace industry. Materials such as carbon fiber reinforced epoxy composites present a challenge when being incorporated into larger structures. The low surface energy of the base material does not allow for intimate contact with the adhesive being used, and the chemical functionalities present on the surface are not design for covalent linking to the adhesive material. As a result, the aerospace industry typically utilizes wet chemical and abrasive techniques to generate surfaces which are prepared for adhesive bonding. However these methods do not lend themselves to automation, and they also generate environmental waste.

I would like to bring your attention to some work we have done using our Atomflo plasma system to activate the surface of epoxy composite materials to yield robust, environmentally stable bonds. Our Atomflo plasma system works to generate a highly active epoxy surface by handling the 3 of the major barriers to good adhesive bonding. Initially, the plasma can strip away organic materials at the composite surface and allow for clean interaction between the composite and the adhesive being used. Once these materials are gone, the high density of oxygen atoms generated in the plasma will react with the composite surface to leave behind a high surface energy which facilitates intimate contact with the adhesive. Finally, specific chemical functionalities are generated that react directly with the adhesive being used. These plasma treatments are a permanent and covalent substrate modification. Surfx has been working for many years to understand and optimize this process. Please see the attached literature for a more complete description of this process, or contact us for a free demonstration of our Atomflo plasma system.


Surfx Technical Articles and Information

The Effect of Atmospheric Plasma Treatment on the Chemistry, Morphology and Resultant Bonding Behavior of a Pan-Based Carbon Fiber-Reinforced Epoxy Composite


Surfx Technical Articles and Information

Effect of Processing Parameter Changes on the Adhesion of Plasma treated Carbon Fiber Reinforced Epoxy Composites


Surfx Technical Articles and Information

Williams Stainless steel and composite bonding


Surfx Technical Articles and Information

Epoxy Composite Tutorial


10月 07 2014

Surfx Visits MD&M Minnesota


Surfx Visits MD&M Minnesota

MD&M MinnWe are excited to exhibit at the 2014 MD&M medical device tradeshow in Minneapolis next month: October 29th and October 30th. Visit the Surfx team at booth 1053 for demos of the Atomflo 500 atmospheric plasma device, and helpful insights into your projects.

Tradeshow: October 29-30, 2014

Minneapolis Convention Center
1301 Second Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55403

http://mdmminn.mddionline.com/

For over 20 years, MD&M Minneapolis has been the trusted resource for what’s next in medical design and manufacturing. Regardless of your particular design and development objectives, MD&M offers everything you need to drive your project to the finish line.

Contact Nathan Looyenga at Surfx for free passes and more info: (310) 558-0770 x112 or by Email at nlooyenga@surfxtechnologies.com.

8月 07 2014

The Navy uses Surfx Atmospheric Plasma Innovation


 

The navy uses Surfx Atmospheric Innovation

Fleet Readiness Center Southwest (FRCSW) personnel have been repairing and modifying aircraft for 95 years, making FRCSW the birthplace of Naval Aviation Maintenance. As aircraft have changed so has the manner in which they are repaired and FRCSW has been at the forefront of this innovation.

The FRCSW and Surfx entered into a Cooperative Research and Developmen Agreement (CRADA) to build a partnership that offers a clean non damaging way to make a better bond when doing aircraft repairs.  Surfx technology allows for the FRCSW to remove hazardous chemicals, reduce repair time, and save money.

Read The Full Article Here: FRCSW Plasma News

 

 

4月 08 2014

Surfx In The News: Plasma used for consistent surface preparation while increasing chemical bond.


Certification of bonded composite primary structures.

OEMs develop technology to quantify uncertainty in pursuit of the no-bolt bondline.

Composites have flown on commercial aircraft primary structures — those critical to flight — for more than 30 years, but only recently have they conquered the fuselage, wingbox and wings, most notably on the Boeing Co.’s (Chicago, Ill.) 787 Dreamliner and the A350 XWB from Airbus (Toulouse, France). These carbon fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP) structures, however, still require assembly with thousands of mechanical fasteners. Why? Because it is the easiest and least expensive way to meet current certification requirements, which mandate proof that each and every adhesively bonded joint will not separate and cause structural failure should it reach its critical design load. But many in the industry argue that the full cost and weight savings of composites cannot be realized until bonded joints can be certified without fasteners.

The development of technologies to address this need has steadily progressed, from programs in the late 1990s such as the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) Composites Affordability Initiative (CAI) to more recent initiatives, including the European Union (EU)-funded Boltless assembling Of Primary Aerospace Composite Structures (BOPACS) project. Here, HPC looks at current efforts to build a certification regime for bonded primary structures on aircraft. Boeing, Airbus and Lockheed Martin Aeronautics (Palmdale, Calif.) have mounted independent efforts toward that end. Their research offers the hope of building reliability into the bonding process, and of gauging final bond strength via a coordinated certification system that includes design, process control and quality assurance (QA).

Read The Full Article

Discussed Topics:

 

10月 13 2012

Lights! Camera! Acton! New Products on YouTube


Surfx Technologies is pleased to announce a new range of Atmospheric Plasma Products. These products have increased performance, additional features, production integration capability and system status feedback. These improvements have been driven by the introduction of the next generation of atmospheric plasma controllers. Customers across many industries now have even more choices in high-speed plasma systems that can also be easily integrated into existing production environments.

High-speed atmospheric plasma can be used for cleaning, etching, deposition, surface modification and activation prior to bonding. This safe plasma technology creates a beam of plasma for materials processing at atmospheric pressure and low temperatures and is clean room compatible. The clean reactive gas flows over and through micro-structured materials, uniformly treating surfaces without any damage to sensitive electronics or

Go to our YouTube channel to see more! 

10月 09 2012

New Atmospheric Plasma Products in Europe


Messe Dresden, Germany, October 9, 2012 – Surfx Technologies is expanding its latest range of Atmospheric Plasma Products into the European market. For the first time, Surfx Technologies together with major distribution partner, Novel Technology Transfer GmbH, are showcasing the new line of Atomflo™ plasma systems at SEMICON Europa 2012 from October 9 to 11.

With increased performance, additional features, production integration capability and system status feedback, customers across many industries in Europe now have even more choices in high-speed plasma systems, which can easily integrate into existing production environments. The Atomflo™ plasma systems is unique in that it is a particle-free plasma source, and generates significantly less particle contamination than vacuum plasmas.

Just released in September, the Atomflo 500 atmospheric plasma controller offers real-time process feedback, argon or helium primary gas, multiple secondary gas handling and integrated machine I/O. The Atomflo 500 is an excellent fit for demanding high-throughput production applications that require direct real-time process monitoring feedback. This completely new controller design includes a touch-screen user interface, increased RF power and high-speed RF tuning, and an increased accuracy of the matching network.

Surfx Technologies also recently launched the Standalone Plasma Machine (SPM) to provide customers with a turnkey system that integrates the Atomflo 500 solution into an automated, compact, multi-axis application system. The SPM includes advanced graphical motion management software (generating NC code for the motion engine), 4-axis motion with 400 x 400 x 300 mm plasma treatment volume and modular control system architecture, capable of interfacing to other systems via network communication and/or SMEMA interface.

The new Atomflo 400S, an upgrade of its popular A400 model, is now in the market and can be used as a standalone R&D tool or integrated with any motion system to automate customer’s process needs. Additional process parameters and an increased controller memory for additional stored process recipes and simplified recipe management, will result in faster tuning performance for customers.

“Our atmospheric plasma tools are safe, clean room compatible and fast,” explains Roger Williams, Vice President of Sales for Surfx Technologies. “Our patented downstream plasma will not expose sensitive electronics or circuits to potentially damaging electric fields. We also offer high speed LED encapsulation processes as well as solar thin film and silicon cell process solutions. Customers will gain better performance, single part traceability and increase package yield.”

“We are excited about the opportunity to expand our broad spectrum of products and services to our customers with the new line of Atomflo plasma systems,” says Max Wanninger, President, Novel Technology Transfer GmbH. “We will be able to provide even more high-speed atmospheric plasma solutions for cleaning, etching, deposition, surface modification and activation. Surfx Technologies’ new integrated end-point detection and real-time spectroanalysis will ensure our customers have the best solutions for high volume and/or high value manufacturing processes.”

Atmospheric pressure plasmas eliminate the need for harsh chemicals or inefficient vacuum chambers that are limited to batch processes. The Atomflo atmospheric pressure plasma generates a stream of reactive gas at low temperatures so many materials can be treated, including polymers, epoxies, metals, ceramics and glass.

10月 03 2012

Surface & Plasma Blog


Good day to everyone who reads this blog.  I have started this informal communication with you to reach out to people who are interested in engineering surfaces, and want to find out what atmospheric pressure plasmas can do for them.  I am presenting this material with my hat on as Senior Vice President at Surfx Technologies.  Over the years, I have learned that people have a lot of questions concerning the use of plasmas to manufacture commercial products.

The main questions are: (1) what are the principal applications of plasmas in manufacturing; (2) how do I know which plasma to choose from the many types on the market, and (3) why would I select plasma over other types of surface treatment, such as abrasion, solvent wiping, or chemical etching.  Over the coming months I am going to take a shot at answering these questions.  I encourage readers of my blog to ask me questions, or select topics that they would like me to discuss in the areas of surfaces and plasma processing.  I sincerely hope you find this helpful as well as enjoyable to read.

Definition of Plasma
Before I start, let’s make it clear that we are talking about an ionized gas, and not a component of blood.  If you’re interested in blood, you’ve come to the wrong website.  An ionized gas, or plasma (or alternatively, a gas discharge), is comprised of free electrons, negatively and positively charged ions, and neutral molecules.  Plasmas can be created many ways, but the most common method is through the application of a sufficient voltage to strip electrons away from the neutral molecules, thereby ionizing the gas.  Plasmas conduct electricity, consume power (watts), and are sustained by the application of an electric potential (volts) and current (amps).

Applications of Plasma in Manufacturing
The principal applications of plasma in manufacturing are for making functional materials and surfaces.  Plasmas come in contact with materials at their surfaces.  Any change in material function must proceed through processes that occur at the surface.  The important applications are therefore:

(1)   Cleaning, i.e., contaminant removal.

(2)   Activation for wetting, i.e., adjustment of the surface energy.

(3)   Activation for adhesion.

(4)   Sterilization.

(5)   Etching of nanometer to micron scale features in materials.

(6)   Deposition of nanometer to micron thick coatings.

The six applications listed above are presented approximately in order of the time it takes to accomplish the task.  Cleaning can take a short or long time depending on the amount of contaminant on the surface.  “Gross contamination” corresponds to organic layers that are more than a micron thick.  This type of contamination is best handled by aqueous washing or solvent rinsing.  An exception to this rule is photoresist film removal, which is a standard plasma process carried out by the semiconductor industry.  “Fine contamination” is present on all surfaces, even after those recently cleaned.  This last layer on the surface is best removed by plasma, and it takes on the order of 0.1 to 10.0 seconds to complete.

Surface activation for wetting is the process of putting specific chemical groups on a material surface to precisely fix its energy.  Wetting refers to the spreading of water droplets onto a surface to make a continuous film.  If there is a low surface energy, droplets will not spread out, and the water contact angle between the droplet and the surface will be high, ~90o.  By contrast, if the surface energy is high (say 70 dynes-cm), the droplets spread out and merge together easily, with the water contract angle below 20o.  Wetting is necessary in some industries, such as printing, to get the desired coverage of the fluid on the solid surface.  Putting functional groups down on a surface is a fast process, because only one atomic layer is being changed.  This process is completed in the millisecond to second time range.

Surface activation for adhesion is also the process of putting specific chemical groups on a material surface, but this time the goal is to achieve strong bonds between the surface and an adhesive or glue.  As stated by Dr Mittal, “the strength of an adhesive bond increases with the quality and quantity of connections made at the interface.”  Since here as well we are only affecting roughly one atomic layer of the material, this process is fast, and can be completed in the millisecond to second time range.  If cleaning to remove fine contamination is required prior to activating the surface, then the process time can increases to tens of seconds.  Adhesively joining materials is ubiquitous in manufacturing, cutting across many industries from automotive and aerospace to packaging and electronics.  This is by far the largest industrial application of plasmas.

Sterilization is at present a relatively small application of ionized gas discharges.  Here we are killing microorganisms prior to packaging products which are destined for human consumption, either, food, drugs, medical devices, medical instrumentation, etc.  If the microorganisms are present on the product in thick film form than washing is probably the most effective cleaning route.  However, if you need to make sure that every last bug is killed down to the last layer on the surface, then plasma sterilization is a good way to go.  This process takes several seconds to several minutes to complete.  In this case, the job is finished when less than one biological organism remains out of more than a million that were present initially.

Etching nanometer to micron scale features on a surface is a crucial step in manufacturing integrated circuits, flat panel displays, microelectromechanical systems, and other microelectronic devices.  Vacuum plasmas are uniquely capable of etching these features, because one can direct the positively charge ions in the gas to bombard the surface with high energy, such that trenches with straight sidewalls are generated in the material.  Blanket etching is possible as well, as in the case of photoresist removal.  However, this process is relatively slow taking from a minute to as much as an hour to finish.

The last important application is the deposition onto materials of nanometer to micron thick coatings.  Thin film deposition is another crucial step in manufacturing integrated circuits, flat panel displays, microelectromechanical systems, medical devices, etc.  Plasmas are very valuable tools for this process, because they enable the coatings to be laid down at low temperatures where no thermal damage to the expensive electronic device can occur.  Since this process usually requires depositing many thousands of layers of atoms on the material one atomic layer at a time, it is a relatively slow process taking from a minute up to an hour to complete.

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