Plasma Treating Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Wonder how plasma treating works and what it really does to the surface of your substrate? We've answered these questions and a few others that we are commonly asked. Still have a question about plasma surface treatment? Email one of our experts for the answer! Check out our FAQ!

Can I order the Plasma3 system with just the plasma mode?

Yes. Although the Plasma3™ system’s base design allows Enercon to accommodate a customer’s preference for the system to operate in all three operating modes, most customers will only need the plasma mode. Knowing your system preference in advance will help us generate a price which will represent the operating modes you desire.

If we treat our materials in the Plasma mode, how long with the treatment last?

Depending on the material used, treatment level, and the chemistry applied, treatments can last weeks without significant deterioration. We encourage our clients to run plasma trials with Enercon so customized treatment longevity tests can be performed.

What is the lead time to have a Plasma3 system built and delivered?

Lead time will be dependent on the system size requirements, which are predetermined by trial results and production requirements.

What does the "3" stand for?

Upon request, the Plasma3™ system can be constructed to operate in three modes – plasma, corona, and a controlled gas chemistry corona system called "Chemical Corona™."

What is Plasma3?

Plasma3™ is an atmospheric plasma treating system designed to treat a wide range of difficult-to-treat films, foams, nonwovens, wovens, fibers, metals and powders. The system produces uniform plasma across the web without backside treatment and eliminates ozone and pin holing. The net affect of the Plasma3™ process is long-lasting and enhanced wettability, printability and adhesion properties added to films and other materials. We call our atmospheric plasma process "Cold Flame with Variable Chemistry", meaning that you can adjust chemistry to maximize surface properties without the limitations associated with other treatment processes.

What is the effect of Plasma3 system treatment on the surface of substrates?

Cleaning Effect
Removes low molecular weight material from the surface for improved surface adhesion. Inert and oxygen plasmas are ideal for cleaning. The plasma cleaning process removes, via ablation, organic contaminates on the surface of most industrial materials. These surface contaminants undergo repetitive chain scission under the influence of ions, free radicals and electrons of the plasma until their molecular weight is sufficiently low to be reacted away in atmosphere. To obtain molecular cleanliness, there is not a more effective method than plasma.
Etching Effect
Electron and ion activity micro-etches the surface. At the same time, free radicals induce secondary reactions, such as intermolecular cross-linking.
Activation Effect
When a polymer or elastomer is treated in an inert gas or a non-carbon containing gas such as oxygen, ammonia or nitrous oxide, the primary result is the incorporation of different moieties of the process gas onto the surface of the material being treated. For example, the surface of polyethylene normally consists solely of carbon and hydrogen; however, in an appropriate plasma the surface may be "activated" to contain a variety of functional groups including but not limited to hydroxyl, carbonyl, peroxyl, carboxylic, amino and amines. Almost any polymer or elastomer surface may be modified providing chemical functionality to specific adhesives or coatings, thus significantly enhancing the adhesion characteristics and permanency.
Deposition Effect
Enables the grafting and deposition of chemistries with desired properties onto substrates.

What is the Plasma3 system treatment process?

Carrier (inactive) and reactive gas molecules are diffused toward the surface of the material under the influence of electric and/or magnetic fields. Carrier gas molecules are more easily ionized, accelerating the diffusion process. A percentage of the reactive components of the plasma gas mixture are excited with sufficient energy to bond to the bulk substrate, freshly exposed by ion and electron bombardment, thus changing the chemistry of the substrate surface to impart the desired functionality.

Considering our material and surface energy requirements, what will a Plasma3 system cost?

Because similar grade materials can vary significantly, and because increasing surface energy levels does not directly correspond to improved surface adhesion, predicting a system cost prior to materials trials is speculative at best. Rather, Enercon can provide you a Plasma3™ system price once you have evaluated the trial materials and, in turn, when the system performance and size requirements are determined by Enercon.