Meet an Expert: Chris Lines – Managing Director, Dyne Technology Ltd
Tell me about when your passion for Surface Treatment started…
My passion for this Surface Treatment started around 35 years ago! I was working on an exciting project; a major luggage manufacturer needed to decorate polypropylene suitcases and of course, were facing the problems of adhesion! The best solution available at the time for this customer was to use flame plasma treatment to improve the adhesion qualities of the polypropylene prior to decoration.
This project opened my eyes to the changing landscape of manufacturing. I quickly realised that the use of Polypropylene was increasing due to its low cost and performance advantages. Around this time, the use of Polypropylene was taking off in the automotive sector for moulding various components, such as bumpers. Working with customers such as Peugeot, Plastic Omnium and more, it became clear that the use of low cost plastics did not come without its problems, and the pre-treatment of polymers was becoming a growing issue throughout UK manufacturing.
I guess it was my experience in the area of surface treatment of polymers, combined with my knowledge of robotics that led to me being headhunted by ABB Robotics where I was further exposed to the problems of adhesion. Several “non-stick” polymers were causing headaches throughout UK manufacturing and the majority that I worked with were primarily within the automotive sector. Throughout my career, I have been involved with a wide variety of manufacturing companies including in the Medical Device sector, Becton Dickinson, Salts Healthcare and Lombard Medical and in the Automotive sector OEM’s such as G.M, Honda, Ford, Jaguar, Toyota etc., along with Tier 1 suppliers like Plastic Omnium, Magna (now Antolin), Johnson Controls and more, the list is almost endless. I’ve always been passionate about solving the problems of adhesion by using automated and robotic surface treatment solutions.
It became clear to me that there were many drawbacks to traditional flame treatment methods, whilst it is fairly good at treating surface areas with simple geometries such as 2 dimensional web materials, clearly it is not so suitable for parts with more complex geometries and materials easily damaged by the high temperature flame torch.
I’ve long been interested in finding better solutions to surface treatment problems and provide manufacturers with more options that often broaden access to new manufacturing materials. This interest led me to take the step to set up a business (Dyne Technology Ltd) 100% focused on delivering the very best solutions available. Surface Treatment has continued to be my passion to this day, the constant new applications, the science and the innovative technology have ensured I’ve never regretted this decision.
Tell me more about Dyne Technology…
Dyne Technology recently celebrated its 10th birthday and we are now in our 11th year of trading! The journey started by partnering with Danish manufacturer Tantec A/S, the specialists in manufacturing state of the art Corona and Plasma Treatment solutions. In those early days, Tantec were heavily focused on Corona Treatment but slowly their Plasma solutions evolved into the high technology and innovative equipment and solutions we proudly offer today.
The use of Surface Treatment technology for polymers is ever growing in manufacturing, medical devices, automotive, packaging and more; Dyne Technology Ltd was specifically founded to serve their needs. With a major emphasis on providing first class support, I focused on putting my over thirty-five years’ experience to the test, providing the experience and know-how needed to solve these problems, assisting every step of the way, eventually supplying them with most importantly, the right equipment for the job.
As time has passed by, I have witnessed massive changes, such as the development and acceptance of Vacuum Plasma treatment for large scale automotive production. In the early days of Dyne Technology, we could supply chamber sizes up to 200 litres, now chambers with a 2,000 litre capacity are common place!
Not only chamber size but functionality of these units has dramatically increased, rotating Vacuum Plasma is now common place which is excellent for the treatment of small size, high volume parts including powders and granular materials. The most exciting thing for me? Our increasing ability to supply different treatment gases to provide specific functionality of performance, we’ve got a lot more coming on this topic so keep in touch!
I can’t forget Atmospheric Plasma either which is widely used by engineering professionals, the early systems of this cutting edge technology offered little or no control, limited power, air operation only and had a large footprint. The latest Atmospheric Plasma units are only one third of the size than traditional units, saving all important floor space but more importantly, they’re even more powerful!
We now have increased functionality, operating up to 8 nozzles from one control panel with independent or group operation, pulse settings, intelligent AirTEC technology and more. We’ve even very recently launched SpinTEC, a rotating Atmospheric Plasma unit which utilises a spinning head, allowing treatment of areas up to 150mm wide at high line speed, this is undoubtedly a very exciting time to be in the industry!
What does the future of Plasma hold?
I also see the level of control available to the end user increasing rapidly, faster ramp up times, smaller, more lightweight and compact machines, lightweight and integrated with more automation and robotic solutions.
My biggest prediction? It’s a tough one but I think we will see micro-plasma nozzles in the future. So tiny they will be integrated into Inkjet printers so manufacturers can surface treat materials directly before printing, speeding up their manufacturing process.
The thing everybody will like the most is the decrease in cost, although Plasma is an investment, unlike many other technologies, prices don’t rise dramatically with an introduction of a new model. I see this only getting better, with savings on the unit and the savings Plasma will bring, Plasma will become increasingly more commonplace.