New process improves wettability of engineering polymers

A new treatment system is enabling previously unsuitable plastics to be bonded and printed by improving the 'wettability' of the surface of the polymer. Dean Palmer reports

Many engineering polymers lack sufficient surface energy for printing on or bonding. Polypropylene and polyethylene for example, have many useful properties in the medical, automotive, electronics, household goods, food and beverage, cosmetics and pharmaceutical sectors, but their inability to 'wet' sufficiently creates problems when it comes to design choices. 3DT Corona Treating Systems has solved this 'wettability' problem by taking advantage of a process called atmospheric corona discharge. According to 3DT, it's high and low frequency corona discharge machines (distributed in the UK by Intertronics) can cope with "virtually any three-dimensional polymer surface, delicately, quickly and efficiently". Injection moulded, blow moulded, vacuum formed and extruded polymer parts can be treated prior to adhesive application, printing, gluing, coating or laminating. The system can be incorporated into existing or new production lines and supplied as semi or fully automated systems or as a standalone workstation.