Openair-Plasma technology is used in automated and continuous manufacturing processes in almost every industrial sector.

Plasmatreat GmbH, a supplier of atmospheric pressure plasma systems and equipment, will present its plasma technology for the printing industry at this year’s drupa in Düsseldorf from 28 May to 7 June. At stand A32, hall 11, the focus will be on the pretreatment of cardboard packaging and folding cartons prior to gluing and printing.

Visitors are invited to experience the many benefits of pretreatment with Plasmatreat’s Openair-Plasma. Together with partner DJM B.V., a provider of customized inkjet solutions, folding cartons already coated with UV varnish will be treated live with Openair-Plasma and then printed directly at the Plasmatreat booth.

Treatment with atmospheric-pressure plasma (Openair-Plasma) creates ideal adhesion properties for subsequent processing steps such as gluing, printing, foiling or lacquering. Openair-Plasma offers numerous advantages in the production and converting of paperboard and folding cartons. These include cost efficiency, expanded material selection, selective or full-surface treatment options, and reliable, structural bonding of materials.

In addition, Plasmatreat’s plasma units and systems can be fully automated, integrated inline into production lines and offer high treatment reproducibility and process reliability, as well as robust and durable technology. In general, only compressed air and electricity are required for plasma generation. Compared to other pre-treatment methods such as flame treatment or adhesion promoters, manufacturers can significantly reduce their carbon footprint by using plasma technology.

Folding box gluing and printing

A special focus in industrial processes is the gluing and printing of already finished folding cartons (with UV varnish or film lamination): Modern folding cartons are printed, finished and folded in sheets or roll-to-roll before being glued on high-performance machines. However, areas that are to be printed individually (e.g. for filling or sell-by dates) must be cut out at great expense in the finishing process, or gluing points for the longitudinal seam or bottom flap must be prepared mechanically by milling, grinding or brushing. Otherwise, the ink or adhesive will not adhere to the finished surface.

Integrating an Openair-Plasma system greatly simplifies this process because the plasma nozzles can be installed directly in the pre-gluing machine. This means that the folding cartons are pre-treated directly in the manufacturing process in the areas that are to be individually printed, that are to be printed later, or in the areas of the glued seams.

The other processes are replaced 1:1 by the plasma system. By using a PCU (Plasma Control Unit), the process reliability and reproducibility of the treatment can also be ensured for subsequent batches. In the PCU, the user has several quality assurance modules available that are specifically tailored to plasma treatment, such as the Plasma Power Module (PPM), which records current and voltage values directly at the nozzle head. The Light Control Module (LCM) continuously monitors plasma generation.

In addition, the Flow Control Module (FCM) continuously adjusts the process gas flow rate to the conditions. This means that not only production data, but also data for predictive maintenance is continuously recorded, supporting smooth and reproducible production. Plasmatreat can ensure that each component in a process is treated with the same plasma intensity and that the same quality is achieved on all production lines.

What can visitors see?

Visitors to the Plasmatreat stand will see Openair-Plasma pretreatment and subsequent printing of a QR code on a small folding box packaging for lollipops, finished with UV varnish. This system, developed with DJM and built for drupa, uses the PFW70 wide slot die for wide or full-surface applications. Both the PFW70 and PFW100 provide uniform pretreatment over a width of 70-100 mm per plasma nozzle at relative speeds of up to 200 m/min. The modular arrangement of multiple nozzles provides flexibility in treatment width and speed. Interested parties can talk to the experts at Plasmatreat about the effectiveness and functionality of plasma treatment. Various methods of verifying the plasma treatment are also available to visualize the change in surface properties, such as plastics.  

Plasmatreat is an international leader in the development and manufacture of atmospheric plasma systems for the pretreatment of substrate surfaces. Whether plastic, metal, glass or paper, the industrial use of plasma technology modifies the properties of the surface in favor of the process requirements.

Openair-Plasma technology is used in automated and continuous manufacturing processes in almost every industrial sector. Examples include the automotive, electronics, transportation, packaging, consumer goods and textile industry, but the technology, cost and environmental advantages of the plasma technology are used in medical technology and in the renewable energy sector as well.

The Plasmatreat Group has technology centers in Germany, USA, Canada, China, and Japan. With its worldwide sales and service network, the company is represented in more than 30 countries by subsidiaries and sales partners.

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