Plasma is Awesome Volume 4

We’re back with Volume 4 of our series shining a spotlight on alternative and awesome Plasma applications. In this issue, we focus on steps forward for truly ground-breaking Plasma technology.

Steps forward for consistency of non-equilibrium Atmospheric Plasma therapy

Non-equilibrium Atmospheric Pressure Plasma jets have provided a promising method of treating a variety of health issues, such as combatting cancer and bacterial cells.

Atmospheric Plasma Medical Treatment Texas University
Image Credit: Texas A&M University.

A pen sized instrument exposes a high-speed jet of plasma to the surrounding air and the creation of free radicals that researchers hypothesise stimulate an immune response which facilitates wound healing, triggers oxidative stress in cancer cells and can even burst open bacterial cell walls.

However, there is an unpredictable turbulence in this plasma that has severely hindered the technology being used consistently as a therapy within medical clinics.

Turbulence isn’t always an unwanted phenomenon with this approach, as the creation of extra free radicals can be beneficial for certain clinical treatments. However, it’s the ambiguity of the cause of the turbulence that can prevent adequate control in clinic due to the lack of uniformity.

Scientists from the University of Michigan used computer simulations to predict the cause of the turbulence that dramatically changes plasma direction and velocity, which have been published on the cover of  “Applied Physics Letters”. It was found that the turbulence arises from heat-induced sound waves generated at the electrodes of instrument which perturbs the boundary between the plasma and air.

It is hoped that these findings will allow clinicians to fine-tune turbulence levels and the number of free radicals directed at patients, creating a more uniform process with a better level of control.

NASA’s Plasma rocket making progress toward a 100-hour firing

To go deeper into the Solar System, we need to go faster and to do that, more efficient propulsion systems are needed than the conventional chemical rockets widely used. Rocket engines are conventionally powered by chemical propellants that are fantastic for breaking Earth’s gravity but they ultimately consume high levels of fuel in space and don’t offer the ideal level of control of a spacecraft’s thrust.

NASA Plasma Rocket Ad Astra Rocket Company ©
Copyright Ad Astra Rocket Company ©

In 2015, NASA awarded three different contracts for the development of advanced propulsion systems and of these, a Plasma based rocket ran on Argon fuel has the potential to shorten the travel time between Earth and Mars from months to weeks.

To realise its full potential, Houston based Ad Astra Rocket Company must demonstrate that its Plasma rocket, VASIMR, will be able to fire continuously, for a long period of time. NASA set out in its three-year, $9 million contract that the company must be able to fire its plasma rocket for 100 hours at a power level of 100 kilowatts by 2018.

NASA Plasma Rocket Ad Astra Rocket Company ©
Copyright Ad Astra Rocket Company ©

Ad Astra has recently reported that it remains on track to reach that goal, and at the performance review with NASA, after the second year of the control, the Plasma rocket has now fired for 10 hours while making significant modifications to its large vacuum chamber to handle the thermal load produced by the rocket engine.

Early in 2017, Ad Astra were successfully pulsing its rocket for about 30 seconds at a time and as of August 2017, VASIMR is now fired for approximately 5 minutes at a time. The pulses are gradually building up to longer periods of time, with inspections in between as new hardware is introduced. Ad Astra remains on target to perform the 100-hour test in late summer of 2018. This is exciting news for Plasma and its gravity breaking capabilities.

Source Articles:

Sci-News: Heat-Induced Sound Waves Drive Turbulence in Plasma Therapy, Study Says

https://www.sci-news.com/physics/heat-induced-sound-waves-turbulence-plasma-therapy-05214.html

Ars Technica: NASA’s plasma rocket making progress toward a 100-hour firing

https://arstechnica.co.uk/science/2017/08/nasas-plasma-rocket-making-progress-toward-a-100-hour-firing/

Plastic Card Printing Quality Improves with Plasma Treatment

pdf downloadExperiencing difficulty printing to plastic cards? Whether you’re printing to library cards or loyalty cards, they’re typically all manufactured using “non-stick” polymers such as PVC. We look at the reason why achieving good print adhesion can be so difficult and most importantly, how to overcome the issue.

Typically, plastic cards of all varieties, from library cards to loyalty cards, are manufactured using PVC; the “non-stick” nature of PVC and other polymers and composite blends often results in inks drawing back and printing inks being easily rubbed off. As a result of this, when printing plastic cards achieving strong print adhesion and strong lamination to plastic cards is a problem widely faced throughout the industry.

Plastic Card PrintingWith engineers boasting over 40 years’ experience, the Dyne Technology team has experience with a vast range of plastic card applications from bar coding, encapsulation, DOD printing, UV printing, surface cleaning and more. Dyne Technology is proud to offer above industry standard expertise and state-of-the-art Plasma Surface Treatment solutions ensure perfect ink adhesion every time, even at high line speeds…

 

Achieving Good Adhesion when Printing Plastic Cards

Plasma Treatment Surface Energy Surface Tension

 

bubble tnsiometer
Bubble/Force Tensiometer by Dyne Testing

The reason for the poor adhesion experienced when printing plastics cards is that the most commonly used material used for manufacturing plastic cards, PVC, which typically has a low surface energy of around 34-38 Dynes/cm² (mN/m).

The chart above, courtesy of Konica Minolta, illustrates the visible increase in print quality as the surface energy of the material increases. As a general rule, to achieve good adhesion when printing, the surface energy of the material must be higher than the surface tension of the ink.

Typically, inkjet ink is of a fixed surface tension and as a result, manufacturers often have to find a solution to increase the surface energy of the material being printed upon. In order to improve adhesion qualities, it is vital to undertake testing to determine the surface energy of the material and the surface tension of the ink being applied.

Contact Angle Meter by Dyne Testing
Contact Angle Meter by Dyne Testing

Dyne Technology engineers recommend a Force/Bubble Tensiometer to accurately measure the ink’s surface tension; after testing the surface tension of the ink, a Contact Angle Meter can be used to measure the surface energy of the material. Dyne Technology recommend visiting Dyne Testing for all surface measurement equipment. Once thorough testing has been undertaken, the ideal surface energy of the material relative to the surface tension of the ink can be determined to ensure consistent and reliable surface activation levels.

How does Plasma Treating improve plastic card printing quality?

Plasma Treating provides an environmentally friendly, economic, efficient and easily repeatable surface activation process, which is perfect for improving adhesion quality when printing plastic cards.

Before and After Plasma Treatment Plastic CardsIn simple terms, Plasma is a super ionised gas which can react with a wide range of materials including polymers, composite blends, metals, glass and ceramics. When atoms are subjected to a high energy, the electrons around the nucleus begin to “boil off” and the increasing temperature results in the atoms being too hot to stay contained in orbit around the nucleus. The free radicals and other particles that exist within the highly active plasma discharge can now attach to the materials surface resulting in the formation of additional polar groups; this change results in the material now having a strong chemical attraction to inks, ensuring good wetting of printing inks and strong bond strength.

This treatment not only increases the surface wettability, ensuring good spreading of the ink and strong print adhesion, but also cleans the material’s surface, removing organic contaminants as a result of ion bombardment. This makes it the perfect surface preparation technology for plastic card manufacturing as once the material has had the organic contaminants removed, it is in perfect condition to receive inks or lamination’s ensuring high quality plastic card printing.

Which Plasma Treating Technology is right for me?

Atmospheric Plasma technology is ideally suited to the high performance demands of the plastic card industry. Ideal for high line speeds, our easily repeatable process can plasma treat up to 30,000 cards per hour and offers true flexibility to fit within your manufacturing process.

Atmospheric Plasma Treatment Printing Plastic CardsDyne Technology’s exclusive Atmospheric Plasma offering is not only the most efficient, economic and intelligent offering yet, but it is also over 50% smaller than traditional Atmospheric Plasma systems saving all important floor space.

Although small in size, Dyne Technology’s Atmospheric Plasma is equipped with the latest technology which is guaranteed to keep up with the demands of the plastic card industry. Boasting plug and play features with fast ramp up times, the unit is easily integrated into new and existing production facilities. High technology boost mode gives you the flexibility to boost power output by 50%, perfect for the high speed production required for plastic card printing.

Let’s chat!

Give the Dyne Technology engineers a call on +44(0) 1543 411 460 or send us an email and we’ll be happy to have a chat to better understand your problem.

Spotlight on Women in Engineering – Hertha Aryton

As you may well know, we here at Dyne Technology have started a regular feature shining our spotlight onto notable and very inspirational women in engineering! Why? Only 9% of engineers are women and we believe bringing the incredible work done by women to the forefront may help to inspire the next generation.

We hope you find Herthas incredible story as inspirational as we do and remember to keep an eye out for our next “Spotlight on…” feature to discover more about female engineers who you may not of heard of.

Hertha Aryton: 1854 – 1924

Hertha Aryton
Hertha Ayrton by Mme. Darmesteter

Hertha was born in Portsmouth on April 28th, 1854 but later moved to London at the age of nine and was taught at a school owned by her aunt Marion Hartog. At the Hartogs’ school, Sarah developed a reputation as a scholar and justice fighter, for example, she once went on hunger strike for two days when wrongly accused of a misdemeanour. It was both her principles and “fiery” personality that later led to her commitment to the suffrage movement, never being shy of making herself a prominent figure in the political arena. Hertha was actively involved in marches, demonstrations and she opened her home to women after being released from jail who had recently taken part in hunger strikes, these women included Mrs Pankhurst.

Not only was Hertha an inspirational woman because of her contributions to the suffrage movement, but she also gained notoriety (so much so that we’re still writing about Hertha to this day!) for being an incredible engineer, scientist and inventor – careers in areas which were heavily male-dominated.

The pioneering young scientist attended Girton College in 1876, which was a part of the University of Cambridge and had become renowned for pioneering women’s education and establishing the first residential college for women in England.

After leaving Girton College, Hertha returned to teaching to support herself while herself attended college at the Finsbury Technical College; Hertha and her lecturer, Professor William Aryton married in 1885. For some time, Hertha suffered from poor health however it never stopped Hertha from working on her passions and in 1888 she gave a series of lectures for women on electricity.

The first woman member of the Institute of Electrical Engineers

Electric Arc Example
Example of an Electric Arc

In 1891, Hertha’s husband, Professor Aryton, was engaged in research into the electric arc but the paper he was due to present was destroyed. Hertha took over the project while her husband turned his attention to other things. Aryton always refused to collaborate with Hertha as he knew any joint work would be credited only to him by the outside world, so Hertha turned her attention to the sometimes-eccentric behaviour of the electrical arc.

In 1895, Hertha Aryton published a series of articles on the subject in The Electrician and in March 1899, was the first woman to ever present a paper to the Institute of Electrical Engineering, now the Institute of Engineering and Technology. She was elected to full membership of the IEE two days later.
In 1902, Hertha was proposed as a Fellow of the Royal Society, her candidature was supported by some notable men of science, but the council decreed that the inclusion of women would not go ahead, citing “We are of the opinion that married women are not eligible as Fellows of the Royal Society. Whether the Charters admit of the election of unmarried women appears to us to be very doubtful.”

Hertha Aryton
Ayrton’s house in Paddington received an English Heritage blue plaque in 2007

Despite this, Hertha wasn’t deterred and read her paper describing her new work on ripple movements in sand and water at the Royal Society in 1904. Hertha’s ground-breaking research on the electrical arc and sand ripples lead to her being awarded a Hughes Medal in 1906, to this day she remains the only woman to have been awarded the Hughes medal.

At the outbreak of WW1, Hertha applied the theories she had developed about oscillations in water to the movement of air and quickly followed the invention of the Aryton Flapper Fan. Hertha encountered difficult in getting the military to consider her idea, but her tenacity ensures her invention was eventually adopted and used to clear the trenches of poisonous gas. After the war, Hertha continued to work in this field until her death in 1923.

Source: https://www.theiet.org/resources/library/archives/biographies/ayrtonh.cfm

Automotive Revolutionises Atmospheric Plasma

Designed with Automotive in Mind

tantecDyne Technology work closely with our partner, world leading Plasma Technology manufacturer, Tantec. Our relationship spans over a decade and we’re proud to be the exclusive supplier of Tantec Plasma technology for the UK and Ireland.

The Dyne Technology team work closely with automotive engineers, using practical knowledge and expertise not only to find a solution to their problems of adhesion, but to implement the most practical solution for their needs.

We understand the practical needs of the automotive industry and communicate this knowledge to Tantec, along with product development suggestions to ensure that our Plasma Technology can better serve the industry. When combined with Tantec’s manufacturing and engineering expertise, they are then able to take all of this into account and design world leading Plasma technology.

eureka-magazineIndustry renowned publications British Plastics and Rubber, Eureka Magazine (click the logo for a downloadable PDF!) and Engineering Materials have all featured how the new PlasmaTEC-X is boosting Automotive manufacturing and engineering.

Atmospheric Plasma Treatment AutomotiveAtmospheric Plasma is ideal for:

In line processes & integration with automation
High line speeds
Targeted large and small treatment areas
Ideal for extrusions

 

The Surface Preparation Method of Choice

Plasma-Treatment-of-automotive-componentsWith over a decade’s experience of working closely with the automotive industry to improve adhesion to a variety of substrates and components, we have witnessed a huge shift of automotive manufacturers moving over from high temperature flame torch treatments to more economical, efficient and environmentally friendly Plasma Treatment.

Why? Our Plasma Treatments are of relatively low temperature and ensure no heat damage to the treated material (you won’t even be able to see we’ve been there!), as we have witnessed composite materials, for example glass filled polypropylene, caused to grin due to the high temperature.

Automotive Plasma TreatingNot only is Plasma Treatment far more gentle to the treated material but it also offers an easily repeatable process and comes in a range of products, including Vacuum Chamber Plasma, and the subject of today’s blog, Atmospheric Plasma, to ensure there is a solution that can be easily integrated into new and existing production processes.

Question ButtonFlame Treatment comes at a high price, not only with the cost of gas and compressed air, but also the high insurance costs associated with having a naked flame within a production environment.

Price ultimately plays a factor for those looking to switch to something not only more economical, but environmentally friendly. The PlasmaTEC-X Atmospheric Plasma system runs off a 13-amp electrical supply and a standard factory compressed air line, ensuring the unit is not only economical to run, but easy to integrate into new and existing production facilities.

Automated Atmospheric Plasma Treatment of Automotive Part

Atmospheric Plasma Treatment of Automotive Extrusion

Speak with an expert

Call us logoIf 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 support@dynetechnology.co.uk.

Spotlight on Women in Engineering

With only 9% of engineers in the UK being women, we want to celebrate women engineers and tell you a little more about two inspirational women who you may or may not of heard of but their legacy lives on today.

Today we take a look at Emily Warren Roebling and Mary Fergusson, two extremely talented engineers who gained respect and notoriety in a time when the number of women engineers was far, far lower than 9%!

We hope you enjoy their stories as much as we do and remember to check back soon as with so many talented, little known women engineers, we’re sure we’ll be making this a regular feature.

Emily Warren Roebling, 1843 – 1903

Emily is considered to be the person in charge of the day to day construction of the Brooklyn Bridge.

Emily Warren RoeblingIn the late 1800’s, crossing the East River from Brooklyn to New York was no easy task, and Emily’s father in law, John A. Roebling, began drawing up plans for the Brooklyn Bridge in 1869.

Before construction of the Brooklyn Bridge began, John A Roebling died of tetanus, leaving her husband to take over the project; During construction, Emilys husbands health deteriorated due to decompression sickness contracted while working in the caissons for the bridge piers deep down beneath the rivers surface.

With her husband confined to the sickroom, Emily took over the role as master bridge builder and began studying topics in civil engineering including maths, materials and cable construction. Emily lead the project, visiting site daily to convey her husbands instructions to workers and to offer advice. Her role on site became so prominent that many suspected that Emily was the intelligence behind the bridge.

In 1883 the Brooklyn Bridge opened and it was Emily Roebling who rode with President Chester Arthur across the great bridge. At the opening ceremony Abram Hewitt said of Emily: “”The name of Emily Warren Roebling will…be inseparably associated with all that is admirable in human nature and all that is wonderful in the constructive world of art.” He called the bridge “an everlasting monument to the self-sacrificing devotion of a woman and of her capacity for that higher education from which she has been too long disbarred.”

Source: https://www.asce.org/templates/person-bio-detail.aspx?id=11203

Mary Fergusson, 1914 – 1997

Mary is believed to be the first female fellow of the Institute of Civil Engineers and the first woman in the UK to have a full-time engineering career.

Mary FergussonMary’s passion for engineering was introduced to her by her father who specialised in engineering medical x-ray equipment; Mary was clearly passionate about engineering, graduating from the University of Edinburgh with a BSc Honours degree in Civil Engineering in 1936.

Beginning her career in an unpaid trainee position with Scottish firm Blyth and Blyth, her talent was soon spotted and she progressed quickly though the ranks of the company. Her obvious talent and dedication lead to being appointed as a senior partner, a great achievement as Mary Fergusson was the first female to ever hold this position within a civil engineering company.

Mary gained a reputation for her endless energy and enthusiasm for engineering, contributing to many infasctructure projects within the Highlands and Islands. She also worked on the Markinch papermills and was proudly responsible for designing reinforced concrete bridges, steel-framed buildings and the River Leven water purification plant.

Mary was made the first ever female fellow of the Institution of Civil Enineers in 1957 and worked as a consultant after retiring in 1957, using these earnings to fund a university bursary for engineers. Mary was awarded an OBE in 1979 and an Honorary Doctorate of Science at Heriot-Watt University in 1985. A truly incredible woman who opened many doors for women in STEM today!

Source: https://www.ice.org.uk/what-is-civil-engineering/historical-civil-engineers/mary-fergusson

The Plasma Treatment Revolution

pdf downloadManaging Director of Dyne Technology, the UK and Irelands No 1 supplier, Chris Lines, discusses the changes in solutions offered to solve the problems of adhesion to “non-stick” plastics.

The landscape of manufacturing ultimately changed in 1957 with the start of large scale production of Polypropylene. Over the years, Polypropylene has become one of the most popular plastics in the world and is well known for the headaches it causes engineers when attempting to achieve good adhesion.

When the use of these new “non-stick” polymers began taking off in the 1980’s, engineers were introduced to the growing need for surface modification. Popular methods in that time included high temperature Flame Torch Treatment and environmentally damaging solvent based primers and pre-treatments.

Chris Lines - Dyne TechnologyChris Lines, Managing Director of Dyne Technology, the UK and Ireland’s Number One Plasma Technology supplier explains “Around 35 years ago, I was working on an exciting project where a major luggage manufacturer needed to decorate polypropylene suitcases. Of course, we experienced problems when attempting to bond to the surface but at the time, the best solution was Flame Torch Treatment to improve adhesion qualities.”

Although Flame Treatment methods provide a fairly good option for treating surface areas with simple geometries, such as two-dimensional web materials, it is not so well suited for parts with more complex geometries and materials easily damaged by the high temperature output of the flame torch.

Manufacturers and engineers ultimately picked up on the shortfalls of Flame Treatment and harsh solvent based primers and pre-treatments, such as the lack of consistency of results and the lack of flexibility to treat complex geometry components and wide surface areas. Alongside the high running costs of gas and compressed air, there are often high insurance costs and associated health and safety concerns due to the naked flame in a production environment of a plastics factory.

Dyne Technology was founded over a decade ago on the basis of discovering better solutions to surface treatment problems and to provide manufacturers with more options to broaden their access to new manufacturing materials. Over the past 10 years, there has been a real shift towards Plasma Treatment as a method of improving adhesion to “non-stick” plastics due to the low running costs, low temperature and most importantly the flexibility provided.

“Just recently a thermoplastic hose and tube manufacturer approached us looking for an alternative to their current flame system. The customer was understandably concerned about the unreliable results it offered due to the lack of control they had over the process. The lack of consistent results presented huge issues as their printing process was safety critical.”  Chris Lines comments.

Why is surface treatment necessary?

Before and After Plasma Treatment - Petri DishesAchieving any level of adhesion to low surface energy materials such as PP, PE, PEEK etc. is difficult at the best of times, but more often than not, impossible. The low surface energy of these materials effectively renders them non-stick, gaskets and seals won’t bond and adhesives, paints, inks and coatings will not adhere.

Due to their low surface energy, no matter how much you attempt to abrade or clean the material’s surface, they remain difficult to paint, coat, print or bond to without resorting to high temperature flame torch treatment or environmentally damaging solvents.

With the ever-increasing drive towards the use of UV curing or water-based adhesives, paints, inks and coatings, materials that have traditionally given acceptable adhesion results, such as ABS, nylon, glass filled nylon and composites to name a few, can also become difficult to bond to.

These problems of adhesion are experienced widely throughout the UK and Irelands manufacturing industries from automotive to aerospace, medical device to motorsport as they affect almost anyone who needs to bond, seal, coat, paint or print to “non-stick” materials.

Before and After Plasma Treatment - Syringe BarrelsThe Dyne Technology team have witnessed this many times, such as when a major UK automotive component manufacturer introduced a new product moulded from glass filled nylon and needed to give the component a body-matching paint finish. It was quickly realised that the paint finish was failing to pass its customer’s paint adhesion tests and without surface treatment, achieving good adhesion would have been near impossible.

Plasma Treatment Explained

Used throughout a wide range of industries, Plasma Treating plastics and rubbers is the method of choice for solving their problems of adhesion. During Plasma Surface Activation the component undergoes an environmentally friendly process which does not alter the bulk properties of the treated part. The relatively low temperature of the Plasma discharge does not mark, discolour or damage the component in any way, eliminating problems experienced with Flame Treatment, where the high temperature causes surface damage or shrink back of composite materials exposing glass fibre reinforcing.

During the Plasma Treatment process, a gas, usually air, is excited by a strong electrical field; this strong electrical field ionises the air or other gas creating a Plasma. When exposing the material to Plasma for a pre-determined amount of time, the polarity of the material is increased as the free radicals and other active particles that exist within the highly active Plasma discharge attach to the material’s surface which forms additional polar groups. Polarity is key to adhesion as it enhances the chemical attraction to paints, adhesives, inks, etc., which therefore increases the strength of adhesion that can be achieved.

Unlocking a world of new materials development…

Vacuum Plasma TreatmentOver the past decade, the capabilities of Plasma Treatment have advanced incredibly to fit with the shifts of perception towards Plasma Treatment as a method of surface activation. Plasma is now widely accepted as the industry standard for the surface activation of “non-stick” components throughout large scale automotive production. To best serve those with a large scale production process, Vacuum Plasma has been developed to become bigger and more powerful than ever before. A decade ago a large chamber was considered to be one with a 200 litre capacity, now chambers with a 2,000 litre capacity are commonplace!

Not only chamber size but functionality of these units has dramatically increased, rotating Vacuum Plasma is now commonplace which is excellent for the treatment of small size, high volume parts including powders and granular materials.

Atmospheric Plasma TreatmentAtmospheric Plasma is ideal for targeted treatment and integration with automation and cannot be forgotten; 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 of traditional units yet offer more power than ever before.

Rotating Atmospheric Plasma TreatmentThe introduction of Rotating Atmospheric Plasma, which utilises two Plasma nozzles on a spinning head, reduces the already relatively low heat exposure to the material being treated; Now, thin and heat sensitive materials, e.g. thin films and sheet materials can now undergo treatment, something that would have seemed impossible a decade ago.

Surface Treatment is undoubtedly an exciting industry to be part of right now and the advances in technology are unlocking a wealth of new opportunity for those working with “non-stick” plastics, rubbers and more…

Speak to an expert!

Plasma Treatment provides a high performance, repeatable and consistent 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 info@dynetechnology.co.uk.

Plasma Treatment of Extruded Profiles

When working with extruded profiles, engineers often experience the problems of adhesion due to the “non-stick” nature of widely used materials, such as PP, PE, TPV and EPDM. Often, achieving good adhesion to these low surface energy materials presents those working with them with quite a headache, as inkjet print and coating adhesion strength is at best poor, but often near impossible.

Plasma Treatment is an excellent option for improving the adhesion quality of “non-stick” polymers, composites and even metals, such as titanium and aluminium. You’ll find our dual-purpose Plasma Treatment solutions on several extrusion lines, improving the adhesion quality of Ink jet, paint, non-slip coatings, flocking and other performance coatings.

How do we do it?

Plasma Treatment of Extruded ProfilesFirst, let’s talk about Plasma Treatment’s incredible ability to improve the adhesion properties of “non-stick” plastics and composites… When you expose a component to highly active Plasma, a long-lasting change occurs, dramatically improving the adhesion quality that you can achieve, by altering the materials surface energy.

The Plasma Surface Activation process is environmentally friendly, doesn’t alter the bulk property of the material being treated and won’t mark, discolour or damage the extrusion in any way, making it an excellent alternative to abrasion and high temperature flame torch treatment. Following Plasma Treatment, the extrusion will have the required surface energy to ensure good spreading of inks, coatings and adhesives, alongside impressive improvements to the adhesion of paint, flocking and high performance coatings.

We mentioned above that Plasma is a dual-treatment process, but why? Plasma Cleaning is a consistent, repeatable and environmentally friendly method of improving metal cleanliness without the need for environmentally damaging, volatile, solvent based primers and pre-treatment alternatives. Plasma Treatment super cleans the surface of the material undergoing treatment which in turn increases the strength of bond that can be achieved. Plasma is created when a gas (usually compressed air) is subjected to a high-energy discharge: the gas breaks up into electrons, ions, highly reactive free radicals, short wave UV light photons and other excited particles. When these species are excited by a high-energy discharge, they effectively scrub the surface to be cleaned.

ProfileTEC: Developed for Extrusions

ProfileTEC is a state-of-the-art Plasma Treatment machine for the surface activation of extruded profiles on a variety of both conductive and non-conductive materials, for example EPDM, PP, PE and more. ProfileTEC utilises revolutionary PlasmaTEC-X Atmospheric Plasma technology, our highest performance Atmospheric Plasma unit yet packed full of incredible new features.

The ProfileTEC is easy to integrate into new and existing extrusion lines and offers true flexibility for your production line with fast and easy nozzle adjustment and easily adjustable profile geometry.

If we had to describe the ProfileTEC in just one word, it’s “flexible”… Why? Whether you’re looking to treat a small or large profile, a conductive or non-conductive material or achieve targeted or 360 degree treatment, the ProfileTEC delivers.

Why ProfileTEC?

    • Specially developed for extrusion lines
    • High line speed capability
    • Easy to install
    • Fully adjustable nozzle positioning system
    • Suitable for use on both conductive and non-conductive materials
    • Utilises leading Atmospheric Plasma technology
    • Only runs when extrusion is moving

 

Speak to an expert!

Plasma Treatment provides a high performance, repeatable and consistent 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 support@dynetechnology.co.uk.

Plasma is Awesome Vol. 3

We’re back with Volume 3 of our popular “Plasma is Awesome” series! In this volume, as always, we look at incredible Plasma stories that you might have missed but need to know about. Make yourself comfortable and get stuck into two incredible Plasma stories looking at Supersonic Plasma and Plasma Vortex’s… awesome!

Supersonic Plasma detected in Earth’s atmosphere for the first time

Incredibly, for the first time ever researchers have discovered that supersonic plasma jets exist in the Earth’s upper atmosphere.

These Plasma jets appear to be changing the chemical composition of Earth’s ionosphere and are pushing this atmospheric layer up so far that some of the Earth’s atmospheric materials are being leaked into space.

The ionosphere is an atmospheric layer which spans 46 to 621 miles above Earth’s surface and more than a century ago scientist Kristian Birkeland proposed that vast electric currents powered by solar wind were travelling through Earth’s ionosphere. These vast electrical currents were confirmed in the 1970’s and are known as Birkeland currents which carry up to 1 TW of electrical power to the upper atmosphere.

As part of an ongoing project, scientists at the European Space Agency (ESA) have sent a trio of Swarm satellites into the space between Earth’s ionosphere and magnetosphere to learn more about the Birkeland currents.

Plasma is Awesome SWARM Satellite - ESA
Courtesy of ESA/ATG medialab

The satellite trio has recently made an incredible breakthrough, discovering that these electrical fields are driving extreme supersonic plasma jets, also dubbed as “Birkeland current boundary flows”.

The supersonic Plasma jets can drive the upper ionosphere to temperatures near 10,000 degrees Celsius and change its chemical composition. The jets also cause the ionosphere to flow upwards to higher altitudes, where additional energisation can lead to a loss of material in outer space.

If you’d like to read more about these incredible plasma jets, check out our source article from Science Alert.

Lorry fuel efficiency to be improved by Plasma vortex’s?

Plasma Treating - AerospaceVortex generators are widely used throughout aerospace and are typically mounted on the upper side of the wing to enhance lift at take-off and landing. Researchers at Sweden’s KTH Royal Institute of Technology hope to bring this same phenomenon to lorries and could potentially reduce fuel consumption by up to five percent.

The technology developed by researchers, in collaboration with truck manufacturer Scania, is entirely electronic, whereas the traditional mechanical vortex generator widely used throughout aerospace is operated on a basic aerodynamic principle; if you reduce the separation of the airflow on the leeward side of an air foil, you can enhance the lift while at the same time, reducing drag.

Plasma Vortex Lorry
The test model developed by KTH researchers

The new system uses plasma actuators to apply a high voltage between two electrodes, the surrounding air molecules then become ionised and as a result, accelerate through an electric field, resulting in wind.

How does it work? When wind hits a truck at an angle the friction deprives the air of energy needed to push its way around the truck. As the wind moves around the corner towards the leeward side of the truck, the air within the boundary layer slows and can no longer surface, this separation of air flow results in a bubble filled with eddies and swirls of air being formed.

A Plasma vortex generator is placed at the front corner and slices through the boundary layer at its head, this creates a spiral of air that mixes high velocity air into the boundary layer. The injection of high velocity air towards the surface prevents air from separating and makes it follow the surface, which lowers the drag.

If you’re interested in finding our more about this awesome Plasma application, take a look at our source article from The Engineer.

Interested in finding out more about what our Plasma can do?

If you’re interested in cContact us - Dyne Technology and Plasma Treatinghecking out what our industry leading Plasma Treatment technology could do for you, please just give our Midlands based technical centre a call on +44(0) 1543 411 460, or drop us a message

Spotlight on Contact Angle Measurement

Today we’re going to shine our spotlight on surface energy measurement, and more importantly, Contact Angle measurement. Contact Angle meters are also known as optical Tensiometer’s or Goniometer’s, and are a popular method of Surface Energy measurement. Although this differs slightly from our usual Plasma focused articles, Contact Angle measurement is an integral step in the Plasma Treatment process.

Increasing Wettability - Petri DishesMany engineers find, when attempting to print, coat or adhere to “non-stick” plastics, the liquid doesn’t wet the materials surface well and will often form into small beads.  Why is this? Generally, as a rule, to achieve good adhesion, the surface energy of the material must be higher than the relative surface tension of the liquid (ink, adhesive, coating, etc.)

Due to this, measuring and understanding the relationship between the surface energy of the material and the surface tension of the ink, adhesive or coating is critical to ensure the correct levels of surface activation are achieved.

Why Contact Angle Measurement?

ThetaLITE Contact Angle MeasurementContact Angle meters allow direct measurements of surface tension, interfacial tension and contact angles. The versatility of the Contact Angle meter, being suitable for characterisation of both liquids and solids, make this a popular measurement technique in both industrial and academic settings.

Combining both high technology test instrumentation, and a non-destructive testing method, obtaining accurate, objective and repeatable analysis is made simple.

A Contact Angle meter, such as the ThetaLite, can compare the effects of a range of surface treatments and gather data that correlates to various surface conditions, e.g. wettability, surface energy, etc.

What is Contact Angle Measurement?

Contact Angle, θ, is a quantitative measure of the wetting of a solid by a liquid. It is defined geometrically as the angle formed by a liquid at the three-phase boundary where a liquid, gas and solid intersect. The well-known Young equation describes the balance at the three-phase contact of solid-liquid and gas.

γsv = γsl + γlv cos θY

The interfacial tensions, γsv, γsl and γlv, form the equilibrium contact angle of wetting, many times referred as Young Contact Angle, θY.

What do your values indicate?

Non-Wetting Contact Angle
Non-Wetting Contact Angle

Simply put, a low contact angle values indicate that the liquid spreads on the surface while high contact angle values show poor spreading of the liquid, coating or adhesive.

Wetting Contact Angle
Wetting Contact Angle

When the contact angle is 0 degrees, complete wetting (spreading) occurs, between 0-90 degrees, the solid is wettable and above 90 degrees indicates that the surface is non-wetting with the liquid being tested.

Often, printing inks and adhesives are of a fixed surface tension and altering the surface energy is often the only option engineers are left with to improve adhesion. Plasma Treatment is an excellent method of improving adhesion properties due to altering the surface molecules to improve adhesion; our process doesn’t alter the bulk properties of the material and more importantly is a clean, dry and environmentally friendly process.

Speak to an expert…

If you’re having problems with adhesion and would like to speak to the experts, give the Dyne Technology engineers a call on +44(0) 1543 411 460 or email support@dynetechnology.co.uk.

Contact Plasma Treatment expertsIf you’re interested in finding out more about surface measurement solutions, we recommend getting in touch with the surface measurement experts, Dyne Testing.

Why Plasma Treatment for Medical Device Manufacturers?

Dyne Technology, the UK and Ireland’s Number One Plasma Treating technology supplier, looks at the problems of adhesion that medical device manufacturers often encounter. There is undoubtedly an incredible number of benefits that the use of plastics has brought to medical device manufacturers. Despite this, one problem remains for medical device manufacturing professionals i.e. solving the problem of adhesion.

Many of the polymers used by medical device manufacturers such as Polypropylene (PP), Polyethylene (PE), Cyclic Olefin Copolymer (COC), Cyclic Olefin Polymer (COP) etc., all have low surface energies of between 29 – 36 Dynes/cm² (mN/m). This low surface energy effectively renders these materials “non-stick” and achieving good adhesion is difficult at best but often impossible; examples of this include printing inks simply rubbing off and glued parts often failing. These problems of adhesion ultimately lead to the products produced by medical device manufacturers failing product quality and safety tests.

Plasma Treatment Medical DevicesNo matter how much engineers clean or abrade the surface of these “non-stick” polymers, they remain difficult to coat, print or bond to without resorting to harsh, environmentally damaging chemicals or high temperature flame torch treatments.

A Controlled Surface Activation Process

Medical Device Manufacturers are rapidly moving towards Plasma being the surface activation method of choice, with Plasma Technology being increasingly used throughout medical device manufacturing processes. The reason? Plasma Treatment improves the adhesion properties of these “non-stick” plastics and offers a controlled and verifiable process where all variables are managed.

The Plasma Treatment process is easily calibrated, providing a consistent and reliable method of surface treatment and offers quality assurance, a vital pre-requisite when approving a new medical device manufacturing process.

Plasma Treatment of CathetersPlasma Surface Activation is ideal for a vast number of applications and comes in a range of verifiable units to suit a multitude of manufacturing processes. From catheter tubing and cannulas to optical coatings and ostomy care products, Dyne Technology’s engineers have vast experience of implementing Plasma technology into medical device manufacturing processes over a wide range of applications.

Surface Treatment Applications

  • Preparation before gluing
  • Preparation before sealing
  • Preparation before gasketing
  • Surface cleaning of metal parts
  • Surface activation prior to printing
  • Surface activation to increase surface wetting

Example Components Treated

  • Tissue culture products
  • Catheter tubing
  • Cannulas
  • Optical lenses
  • Catheters
  • Ostomy care products
  • Wound care products
  • Blood sampling devices
  • And many more…

How does Plasma Treatment work?

The strength of attraction between a material and a coating or adhesive is determined by the relative surface energy and surface tension of the materials. The higher the solid’s surface energy relative to the liquid’s surface tension the greater the molecular attraction, this draws the ink or adhesive closer for a higher bond strength. The lower the solid’s surface energy relative to the liquid’s surface tension, the weaker the attractive forces are which repels the coating or adhesive.

Vacuum Plasma Treatment Syringe BarrelsPlasma Treatment alters the molecular structure of a material’s surface to increase the surface energy of the material to the desired level. This increase in surface energy improves the chemical attraction to coatings, adhesives or printing inks, etc, leading to significantly improved surface wetting and adhesion strength.

Dyne Technology engineers work in close partnership with Medical Plastics professionals exploring surface modification to measure the surface energy of the material and surface tension of the ink in their high technology U.K. laboratory. By undertaking these tests, the appropriate treatment parameters are determined and ensure optimum treatment levels are achieved.

The Plasma Treatment Process

To appreciate the Plasma Treatment process, we must first understand the surface properties required to obtain the ideal conditions for adhesion.  It is widely accepted that there are seven gatekeepers you must pass to improve your chances of achieving good adhesion; your surface should be clean, dry, dust free, smooth, non-porous, wettable and polar.

Having a clean, dry, dust free and non-porous surface is straightforward, whereas creating a surface that is also wettable and polar is a more complex matter.

Exposing “non-stick” plastics to the highly active environment of a Plasma is a very effective and long lasting method of increasing the material’s polarity, wettability and surface energy.

Plasma is generally described as a super ionised gas, or an electrically neutral medium of positive and negative particles and neutrals which can react with a wide range of materials. The term “ionised” refers to the presence of free electrons which are not bound to an atom or a molecule. Plasma is created when a gas, in Surface Treatment’s case, often air, is subjected to a high-energy discharge; the gas then breaks into electrons, ions, highly reactive free radicals short wave UV light photons and other excited particles.

Put simply, when you subject atoms or molecules to enough energy, what happens very quickly is that the electrons around the nucleus start to “boil off”. The free radicals and other particles that exist in the highly active plasma discharge can attach to the material’s surface resulting in the formation of additional polar groups; these have a strong chemical attraction to paints, coatings, sealants, inks and adhesives leading to significantly enhanced surface energy, polarity and therefore adhesion.

It is important to note that Plasma Treating doesn’t alter the bulk properties of the material and the molecular alterations occur only on the material’s surface.

A Dual Treatment Process

Although not widely discussed, not only does Plasma provide an easily verified, controlled process to effectively change the functionality of plastics, composites and rubbers; it also offers a green, solvent free method of removing organic contaminants from the surfaces of metals, ceramics, plastics and more. The Plasma Cleaning process is both clean and dry, clean room compatible, and all equipment is easily calibrated to provide a consistent, verifiable and easily reproducible method of surface cleaning.

The cleaning process occurs when Plasma is created; as the gas (often air) that is used to create the plasma breaks up into a highly-charged mixture of particles, the excited species effectively scrub the surface clean.

Practical Applications

Atmospheric Plasma

Brandon Medical contacted Dyne Technology when looking for a solution to the problems of adhesion they were facing. They worked closely with Dyne Technology at their Lichfield based technical centre to analyse the problem and most importantly find a highly efficient and cost effective solution.

Following a series of tests, it became clear that the surface needed to be both cleaned and activated to allow the coating to fully wet the surface and achieve the high level of adhesion required. These test results combined with a detailed understanding of Brandon Medical’s manufacturing process led to the choice of the PlasmaTEC Atmospheric Plasma Treatment unit as the solution.

Atmospheric Plasma devices can sometimes be referred to as “air plasma”, “plasma jet” or a “plasma nozzle”; the zone in front of a Plasma Nozzle is highly active and is an excellent method of increasing the surface energy of plastics.

Atmospheric Plasma solutions are easily integrated with automation, an important pre-requisite for Brandon Medical. Employing a 3-axis bench top robot equipped with a PlasmaTEC Atmospheric Plasma Treatment unit gave Brandon Medical the process control and flexibility required. The 3-axis bench top robot ensures accurate positioning of the Atmospheric Plasma Treatment nozzle throughout the entire surface treatment cycle, thereby guaranteeing a consistent plasma application. The cell is designed to allow the future integration of additional process equipment, giving the unit flexibility for any changes to Brandon Medical’s future manufacturing process.

“The knowledge and expertise of the Dyne Technology team was invaluable; they were totally committed to finding the right solution for us at Brandon Medical. The production system installed has improved the adhesion of our coatings and therefore the overall quality, reliability and performance of our products.” – Nigel Davill, Technical Director – Brandon Medical

Vacuum Plasma

Dyne Technology, the UK and Ireland’s Number One Plasma Treatment supplier, has supplied a leading medical device manufacturer with the VacuTEC 2020 Vacuum Plasma unit.

Our customer reached out to Dyne Technology’s engineers when faced with adhesion problems involving an implantable polypropylene medical device. The “non-stick” nature of the polypropylene made achieving adhesion impossible and our customer required a repeatable and reliable method of surface activation.

Vacuum Plasma Treatment VacuTEC 2020Following in-depth discussions and collaborative testing with Dyne Technology engineers, the high technology VacuTEC 2020 Vacuum Plasma unit was selected as the surface activation method of choice. Using a vacuum pump most of the air is removed from a sealed chamber. When the pressure in the plasma chamber reaches the required level the remaining air (or other gas) in the chamber is subjected to a strong electrical field, creating a Plasma. This is used to modify the surface of the component.

The unit has given our customer the ability to take charge of the Plasma Treating process allowing for their engineers to have control over quality assurance which is of paramount importance.

The bench top unit is also ideal for future research and design, trials and treating small batch quantities of plastics, ceramics, metals and glass due to its capability to add different gases. The choice of gas will be dependent upon the functionality you wish to achieve and the material being treated. Complete with two external gas connectors, you can mix the percentage of gases you wish to achieve; that is if you wish to use any “special” gases as in many cases, compressed air is the perfect choice.

Trusted Advice…

Contact UsIf you’re interested in discovering more about the power of Plasma Treating and how it could provide a controlled and verifiable solution of improving adhesion and surface cleanliness, Dyne Technology are on hand. You can contact the Dyne Technology engineers by calling our Lichfield based customer centre on +44(0) 1543 411 460 or email support@dynetechnology.co.uk.

An insight into Atmospheric Plasma Treatment

Today’s blog is an updated version of our popular “Five Atmospheric Plasma facts you need to know” back from early 2016. We’ve updated it for you, so you can now get even more from the blog and refresh your memory on all things Plasma Treatment.

Atmospheric Plasma TreatmentAlthough being known by different names,  such as “open air Plasma”, a “Plasma jet” and “air Plasma”, it’s the same innovative technology that provides economic, efficient and highly effective solutions those facing problems with adhesion, surface cleaning and wetting. Surface activation is often used prior to printing, painting, varnishing, coating and bonding processes.

Atmospheric Pressure Plasma is also suitable for use on a wide range of substrates from traditionally “non-stick” polymers and composite materials alongside metals for both surface activation and surface cleaning.

Small in size, high in capability

From single nozzle to multi nozzle, rotating plasma (video below) to robotic plasma, the low-footprint technology is a highly versatile technology making it a go-to problem solver for the problems of adhesion for those working within the UK and Ireland’s manufacturing industries.

Not only perfect for the surface activation of “non-stick” polymers and composite materials, it is also ideal for removing organic contaminants from the surface of metals such as Aluminium and Titanium to increase adhesion.

Plasma and Automation, the perfect pairing

As the manufacturing and robotics industry continue to converge at an ever increasing rate, Plasma Treatment is easily integrated into new or existing production facilities and is the perfect addition to an automated process.
Discover flexibility for in-line and batch production whether you are working with 3D parts or complex geometry parts.  The robot is easily re-programmable allowing a wide range of components to undergo treatment giving you flexibility and an investment that keeps on giving.

Go green in 2017!

We’re proud to advocate Plasma as an environmentally friendly process which is used to achieve consistently high cleanliness and improve bond strength? Plasma provides a green alternative to harsh chemical processes for the removal of organic contaminants, this can bring the potential to lower hazards and reduce costs.

When using Plasma Treating for surface activation, the need for costly primers and bonding agents are eliminated while allowing the use of environmentally friendly water based adhesives. Not only are water based adhesives far more environmentally friendly in comparison to solvent based adhesives, they also have the potential to lower hazards in the workplace and reduce manufacturing costs.

Green Atmospheric Plasma TreatmentPlasma is also an excellent alternative to Flame Torch Treatment, as although not damaging to the environment, the use of a naked flame can present significant health and safety concerns, this is often reflected in the higher cost of buildings insurance to manufacturers using this process.

You can take a look at our work with Copely Developments, who reached out to us when looking to upgraded their surface activation process from Flame Treatment to Atmospheric Plasma Treatment.

Perfect for extrusion and print lines

Multi Nozzle Atmospheric Plasma TreatmentThe novel technology has proved an invaluable addition when treating extruded products because of the easy integration into production lines. Plasma Nozzles are often the surface activator and surface cleaner of choice for those working with extruded products because of its high speed capabilities. (up to 400 meters of extruded product a minute!)

What materials can be Plasma Treated? Plasma Treatment is perfect for extruded products made from traditionally “non-stick” polymers, such as polypropylene, composite blends and metals, such as the plasma cleaning of aluminium profiles prior to bonding applications.

Speak to the Experts

Call us logoIf you think that the PlasmaTEC-X Atmospheric Plasma system has a place within your manufacturing process, why not get in touch?

Speak to Dyne Technology, the UK and Ireland’s Number One Plasma Treatment Equipment suppliers by filling out our Contact Us form or call us on +44(0) 1543 411 460.

Corona Treatment of Polymer Sheets

Corona Treatment provides an excellent method of improving adhesion quality to polymer sheets prior to bonding, printing, coating and laminating applications.

The Tantec SheetTEC, supplied exclusively throughout the UK and Ireland by Dyne Technology, is an excellent option for the treatment of sheets to improve wettability and the quality of adhesion that can be achieved.

SheetTEC - Corona Treatment Polymer SheetsA large amount of plastics widely used throughout manufacturing have a low surface energy which can often cause those working with them many headaches. When attempting to coat these materials, it is not uncommon to experience inks, paints and coatings forming into beads on the materials surface; poor adhesion is often experienced due to the poor chemical affinity between the coating/adhesive and the material.

To obtain optimum adhesion qualities, increase bond strength and reduce the bond area and in some cases, amount of adhesive required, the SheetTEC is the perfect option for improving the adhesion qualities of polymer sheets.

What is Corona Treatment?

Corona Treatment creates a high voltage, high frequency corona discharge in close proximity to the component that requires treating. The high-energy corona discharge is attracted to the material severing the molecular bonds on the surface.

Corona Treatment Polymer SheetsAs a result, these severed bonds are now free to attach to free radicals and other particles that occur within the corona discharge environment, which is highly active due to the partial ionisation of the surrounding atmosphere. Thus, additional polar groups form on the materials surface and have a strong chemical affinity to the coatings, paints, adhesives and sealants that were once repelled.

Why SheetTEC technology?

Utilising our proven and reliable SheetTEC technology, the units are made to size to meet your exact requirements, offering both peace of mind and flexibility. SheetTEC is present in other manufacturing processes improving the adhesion quality of a variety of materials including PE, PVC, PMMA and other non-conductive materials which are up to 10mm thick.

Easily installed as a stand-alone unit or with a conveyor system for easy integration into new and existing production lines, the SheetTEC offers flexibility to fit perfectly within your manufacturing process.

Question ButtonTreatment times can range from two to five seconds, depending on a number of variables including material type, thickness and sheet size.

The SheetTEC is equipped with relevant safety switches and interlocks to ensure safe use, while an ozone extraction and filter system is supplied which eliminates ozone generated during the treatment process ensuring safe use.

If you want to read more about improving adhesion to polymer sheets, take a look at our ARM Buildings case study where the sheets treated are up to three meters wide with a 50mm thickness.

Do you need to speak to an expert?

If you’re facing the problems of adhesion and are seeking an economical, efficient and effective solution, get in touch with us today.

Call us logoAs the UK and Ireland’s Number One supplier of Plasma and Corona Treatment equipment, the Dyne Technology technical experts are best placed to provide trusted advice to help you solve your problems of adhesion. You can contact us on +44(0) 1543 411 460 or email support@dynetechnology.co.uk.

Spotlight on Irish Medtech

In 2016, Dyne Technology, the UK and Ireland’s Plasma Treatment equipment supplier, celebrated its tenth year of trading and throughout those ten years, the team has worked closely with a variety of Irish medical technology manufacturers.

Needhub
Plasma Treating Needle Hubs

We’ve assisted engineers in developing leading medical innovations with our Plasma technology, covering everything from implantable medical devices to needle hubs. Having supported such an incredible sector in innovation, product development and problem solving, we delve a little deeper into what makes Irish medtech so special.

One of five global Medtech hubs

The medical technology sector in Ireland is one of the five global emerging hubs and employs 29,000 people, the second largest employer of medtech professionals in Europe.
There are 450 medtech businesses located in Ireland, 50% of them are indigenous and 18 of them form part of the world’s top 25 medical technology companies. With some of the top medical technology engineers located in Ireland, it’s not surprising that Ireland is one of the latest exporters of medical products in Europe; Irish medical technology companies directly export to over 100 countries worldwide with annual exports of €12.6 billion.

A collaborative effort

With pressures on the healthcare system requiring a greater focus on efficiency of treatment and cost reduction, the Irish medtech industry is far from complacent, always seeking new ways to innovate, enhance competitiveness, develop new capabilities and generate sustainable new growth.

MedicalThe government has invested heavily in research and development through the Science Foundation Ireland; Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) is the national foundation for investment in scientific and engineering research. The foundation invests in academic researchers and research teams who are most likely to generate new knowledge, leading edge technologies and competitive enterprises in the STEM industries.

The governments enthusiasm and commitment to driving further growth within medical technology has meant the focus of efforts has broadened; Medical technology no longer means only manufacturing but is far more complex and encourages a focus on research and development of new, innovative and sustainable medical technologies. The medical technology market is now extremely collaborative, with knowledge sharing taking place between a range of partnerships covering everything from research institutions, clinicians, manufacturers and government agencies.

The Irish Medtech Association

If you’d like to find out more about Irish Medical Technology, take a look at our source, The Irish Medtech association.

Call us logoIf you’re interested to find out more about how Plasma improves adhesion, enhances R&D capability and provides a green solvent free method of surface cleaning, take a look through the site or give us a call on (+44) 01543 411 460 or drop us an email.

Plasma is Awesome Vol. 2

We here at Dyne Technology think it’s only right we have the first blog of the year celebrating how awesome Plasma is!

As we did with Vol. 1, we’ll be sharing three Plasma applications news stories that we think are awesome and we hope you will too.

Freshening up deep fat frying…

Deep Fat FryingWhen you think of Plasma applications, this one will likely be the furthest from your mind. Bad smells from deep-fat frying foods could soon be eradicated because of experiments funded by ESA on the International Space Station.

When you cook foods, such as French fries, in hot oil malodorous molecules are released that are very hard to disperse. These odours are traditionally destroyed in bulky, expensive commercial cooker hoods to remove the ozone created, a necessity because of the associated health concerns.

Plasma Filter
Plasma Filter. Image credit: Terraplasma

German manufacturer of deep-fat frying equipment, Blümchen, looks to change this by basing their product development on Plasma experiments that have been taking place on the Space Station since 2001.

Cold plasma has proved itself to be an extremely effective bactericidal agent and can even tackle fungi, viruses and spores.

The system generates Plasma by sparking a glowing electrical discharge in the air between a short rod electrode sitting in the middle of a cylindrical electrode. The discharge is initially a narrow line about 1mm thick somewhere between the electrode, by moving it rapidly with a magnetic field, it spreads air to produce a disc of Plasma. The spoiled air, containing the malodour molecules, are then passed through the disc for cleaning.

Discovering even higher energies…

CERNAt the end of last year, the AWAKE experiment at CERN made a break through that was awesome. What is the AWAKE experiment? Simply put, it’s a long-term technology development project, hoping to drag electrons through a plasma, behind a beam of protons, to provide a route to higher energies than the Large Hadron Collider.

You may have heard of the AWAKE project as when the beams first entered the experiment in June 2016, some news outlets went wild, concerned that CERN were opening “portals”. This didn’t turn out to be true as the excitement was actually born out of a thunderstorm around the mountains of central Europe, yes, really, a thunderstorm.

At the end of the Large Hadron Collider running in 2016, a huge step forward was taken. For the first time, the experiment measured that the shape of the proton beam was being modulated (or shaped) by the Plasma. This is a sign that the desired very high gradient electronic fields are being produced within the plasma, the first time this has ever been seen for a proton beam.

This project is one worth keeping your eyes on; if you want to get to grips with the science behind the project, we highly recommend you take a look at our source article from The Guardian.

Plasma breakthrough could allow us to look deeper into space phenomena and nuclear fusion…

Plasma can be a hot or cold, ionised gas and incredibly, it makes up 99.9% of all observable matter in the universe. Within a highly conductive Plasma are magnetic field lines that can join to each other, break apart, and even come together again. This phenomenon called magnetic reconnection, like breaking a molecular bond, releases huge amounts of energy.

The sun
The sun primarily generates energy by nuclear fusion.

During this phenomenon, the magnetic field energy is converted to both kinetic and thermal energy; it usually occurs in thin sheets of Plasma, where an electric current is the most concentrated, and it is responsible for natural occurrences such as solar flares, gamma-ray bursts in outer space and the northern lights.
Interestingly, magnetic reconnection occurs in the observable universe much faster than should be possible theoretically. Researchers have hypothesized that plasmoid instability is playing a part during collisional magnetic reconnection. These instabilities would break apart plasma sheets into plasmoids, which are magnetic bubbles, which could then account for very fast magnetic reconnection.

Using a Magnetic Reconnection Experiment (MRX) and an argon based Plasma instead of hydrogen, deuterium, or helium), researchers from the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) were able to more easily produce the conditions necessary for collisional reconnection.

So, what does this mean? The expansion on this research allows scientists better access to the interactions that typically only take place in out of space and on the surfaces of stars. An improved understanding of this phenomenon has the potential to allow us to better predict storms in space, explain astrophysical phenomena and even get closer to breakthroughs in nuclear fusion. We recommend taking a look at our source article from Futurism to better understand how this could be the key to unlocking nuclear fusion.

Source Articles

  1. Cold plasma freshens up French fries: https://phys.org/news/2016-11-cold-plasma-freshens-french-fries.html#jCp
  2. A new CERN experiment targets even higher energies (eventually): https://www.theguardian.com/science/life-and-physics/2017/jan/08/a-new-cern-experiment-targets-even-higher-energies-eventually
  3. New Breakthrough Could Be the Key To Nuclear Fusion: https://futurism.com/new-breakthrough-could-be-the-key-to-nuclear-fusion/

2016 – Did you miss this?

Plasma Treating Plastics Explained

Our most popular blog of 2016 takes a look at the process of Plasma Treating and explains it simply.

Vacuum-Plasma-TreatmentHow do you solve the problem of achieving strong adhesion to plastics? Achieving good adhesion levels of paints, coatings, sealants and glues to traditionally “non-stick” plastics is a problem widely faced by engineers from many industries; printing inks will rub off, gaskets won’t bond and coating will not adhere.  Our blog post will help you make sense of it all!

Multi-Axis DBD Plasma Treatment of Bollards

bollard-1Surface Treatment is widespread throughout manufacturing and engineering and is often plays an important part in manufacturing a variety of large two and three-dimensional plastic items; Examples of these include 2D flat sheets and 3D components including bollards and signage prior to coating or fixing of label adhesives.

Did you know that Corona Treatment is also known as DBD Plasma? Take a look at how DBD Plasma helps to manufacture bollards.

Plasma Expert at Queens University Belfast

With specialist knowledge and expertise spanning a breadth of applications, industries and substrates worked on, Chris Lines, Managing Director of Dyne Technology, has become an in-demand speaker on how to solve the problems of adhesion.

imf-logoChis spoke at the 20th anniversary of Institute of Materials Finishing (IMF) Ireland which was held at Queens University, Belfast.  Focusing on “How do you solve the problems of adhesion?”, we had to include Chris’ top takeaways from this talk as it was one of our favorite moments of 2016!

Improving Plastic Card Printing Quality

Plastic Card PrintingTypically, plastic cards of all varieties, from library cards to loyalty cards, are manufactured using PVC; the “non-stick” nature of PVC and other polymers and composite blends often results in inks drawing back and printing inks being easily rubbed off. When printing plastic cards, achieving strong print adhesion and strong lamination to plastic cards is a problem widely faced throughout the industry. Take a look at how Plasma Treatment helps to solve these issues.

Plasma Takes Aerospace Adhesion to New Heights

turbine-590354_1920Vacuum Plasma has provided an ideal solution for one of the world’s largest manufacturers of aircraft parts. The industry leading aviation and aerospace specialist first considered Plasma Treatment when facing difficulties bonding aluminum honeycomb to a polymer based outer layer.

Discover how Dyne Technology helped to solve their problems of adhesion and the incredible technology that made it possible.

Seven Gatekeepers You Must Pass to Achieve Good Adhesion

Did you know that there are seven gate keepers you must pass in order to achieve good adhesion when bonding to plastics?

The Dyne Technology experts have gained this knowledge through over 40 years practical experience solving the problems of adhesion within a multitude of industries throughout the UK and Ireland. Although some of these properties may seem straight forward, they are often overlooked.

Goodbye Flame Treatment, Hello Plasma

Dyne Technology, the UK and Ireland’s leading Plasma Treatment technology supplier has worked closely with market leading thermoplastic hose and tube manufacturer, Copely Developments, to upgrade their surface activation process.

copely-developments-nozzleCopely Developments reached out to us when the engineering team at explored alternatives to Flame Treatment because of the unreliable performance it delivered and the lack of control it gave them over their process. Discover why Plasma Treatment is their new Surface Modification method of choice.

Plasma Treating Changes Functionality of Graphene

Haydale, the well-known UK based company with a mission for enabling technology for the commercialisation of graphene, has entered into an exclusive development and supply agreement for the supply of Tantec Plasma Chambers. Lichfield (UK) based Dyne Technology Ltd. are the exclusive suppliers for the UK and Ireland for this revolutionary Plasma Treating technology.

DBD Plasma Treatment of Glass Sheets Prior to Coating Application

Corona Treatment Coating ApplicationDid you know Plasma Treatment is also used to improve the adhesive qualities of glass, metals and ceramics?

Discover why a stand alone DBD Plasma (Corona Treatment) unit is the surface activation method of choice for a major European glass producer. Treatment is to ensure improved bond strength to glass sheets prior to a coating application.