Vacuum Plasma Surface Activation for Grupo Antolin
Grupo Antolin’s acquisition of Magna Interiors has formed one of the world’s largest players in the car interiors market. When they faced an adhesion problem whilst attempting to bond to the glass-filled polypropylene composite instrument panel developed for the Jaguar X260, they approached Lichfield based Dyne Technology Ltd. for a solution.
Traditionally “non-stick” materials widely used throughout automotive manufacturing, such as glass filled polypropylene, have low surface energy and as a result of this, achieving strong adhesion to these materials is at best difficult but often impossible.
Grupo Antolin’s engineers considered three key options for increasing the surface energy of the instrument panel i.e. Flame torch treatment, Primers and Plasma treating. Dyne Technology and Grupo Antolin worked in close partnership conducting a series of tests find the best solution for improving adhesion to these traditionally “non-stick” instrument panels.
Plasma surface activation offers an alternative to flame torch treatment
Following rigorous testing, Flame torch treatment was eliminated due to the damage it was found to cause to the surface of the glass filled polypropylene’s surface, causing the polymer to shrink away from the glass fill fibres and allowing the fibres to grin through leading to poor adhesion results. Once the material’s surface has been damaged the strength and consistency of the bond that can be achieved is significantly reduced.
Primers were considered, however soon eliminated due their high cost and serious environmental impact. Volatile chemical solvent based pre-treatments and primers were found to be expensive and difficult to apply to the complex 3 dimensional surface consistently. Removing volatile solvent based primers and pre-treatments from manufacturing brings great environmental benefits as well as bringing cost savings and a reduction of workplace hazards.
“ Ensured consistent treatment of multiple components at once and has proved itself highly reliable. We are very impressed! Dyne Technology met the challenging prerequisite high standards of aftercare expected within the automotive industry. Working with Dyne Technology was an easy process, the team were extremely knowledgeable, efficient and provided great customer support.”– Spokesperson, Grupo Antolin
Grupo Antolin engineers concluded that Vacuum Plasma surface activation from Dyne Technology was the ideal surface activation process for their production needs because of its efficiency, economic viability, consistency of treatment provided and environmental benefits. Plasma eliminated the workplace hazards presented by Flame Torch treatment and Primer application as the Plasma stays safety controlled within the low pressure chamber environment. The low temperature plasma guarantees high quality, consistent bond strength without damaging the material’s surface.
Inside the Vacuum Plasma unit
Vacuum Plasma provides a repeatable process, guaranteeing consistent results achieved whilst offering flexibility to perfectly fit within your manufacturing process. The Vacuum Plasma unit installed at Grupo Antolin is composed of a large vacuum plasma treatment chamber, the size of which was selected to suit the product size and production throughput required, in this case the chamber processes 4 compete instrument panel uppers (IP’s) at the same time. Whilst offering variable chamber sizes, all units share the same technology, parts and plasma generator, ensuring high reliability and a proven track record of excellent performance.
The small footprint Plasma chamber can be mounted on wheels to allow easy relocation within the production facility and comes complete with its own vacuum pump. Easy to operate, the unit is equipped with easy “one button operation”, ensuring ease of use which in turn, has the potential to further optimise manufacturing.
The installation of the Plasma surface activation unit has given Grupo Antolin the ability to take full control of their manufacturing process in-house. By taking the plasma surface activation process in-house, this eliminates the need to use external suppliers to treat parts prior to assembly which reduces costs and most importantly, ensures consistent treatment.
Speak with an expert
Plasma Treatment provides a high performance, repeatable and safety critical method of surface treatment, if you’d like to speak to the UK and Ireland’s Number One supplier of Plasma Treatment, Dyne Technology, get in touch. You can call our technical engineers on +44(0) 1543 411 460 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.