The Relyon Plasma Piezobrush® PZ2 has nozzle attachment options for surface activation across a wide range of applications. Treatment of metals, and smaller and more precise applications are now possible. The use of a variety of special gases enhance the possibilities of PDD (Piezoelectric Direct Discharge) on challenging substrates. Based on the direct, electric discharge at an openly operated piezoelectric transformer, low input voltage is transformed, resulting in high electric field strengths. The Piezobrush PZ2’s ionised energy output of cold active plasma gives pre-treatment and surface activation, enhancing wetting and adhesion.

Piezobrush PZ2 with nozzlesThe Piezobrush PZ2 shown with its three nozzles – Standard, Nearfield and Multigas & Needle 

Activation of Metals
When used on conductive surfaces, direct plasma discharges can damage some substrates or even the plasma device itself. The Piezobrush PZ2 Nearfield Nozzle helps resolve this. Inside the PZ2 Nearfield Nozzle, a glass inlet forms a dielectric barrier and changes the type of discharge, distributing the power from the direct discharge uniformly over the treatment area, therefore eliminating the ability to damage the surface. This allows metals and other conductive substrates to be treated.

Activation of metals using Piezobrush PZ2

Surface activation using the PZ2 Nearfield Nozzle can allow printing on materials which at normal conditions form poor bonds with inks. The example shown below is a printed anodised aluminium and polyethylene composite material (Alu-Dibond®). The cross-cut test illustrated on the patterns show that, although the ink was barely cured, there is a clearly recognisable adhesion improvement. A short treatment by the Piezobrush PZ2 on the right gave distinctly better results for the ink bonding.

Cross cut test of activation of metals using nearfield nozzle before Cross cut test of activation of metals using nearfield nozzle after
Before surface treatment After surface treatment

 

Activation for Medical Device Technology
The PZ2 Multigas and Needle Nozzle can be used without a special gas (using ambient air) for a very precise surface activation treatment. The narrow output of plasma energy can be used for the treatment of very fine structures including undercuts or small holes.

Piezobrush PZ2 multigas nozzle

Alternatively, the PZ2 Multigas and Needle Nozzle can be used with an input of selected inert gases, which allows processes to be implemented which were previously impossible with  normal gases such as air or nitrogen.

To treat Teflon (PTFE), a plasma gas with a special composition is used. An example application is these small PTFE inner coated catheters which are successfully treated to allow improved wetting. The picture shows the different degree of wetting of the catheter on the basis of capillary forces. An improvement of over 300% can be achieved.

Test of PTFE catheters using Piezobrush PZ2 multigas nozzle

Note: The magnification of the two pictures is different; the number of diagonals can be used as a reference

Dymax SpeedMask masking resins for electronics applications cure on demand, in seconds, with UV/visible light. Used for temporary masking in printed circuit board assembly, they are suitable for either soldering or conformal coating processes. Rapid cure speed allows for flexibility, efficiency and productivity in production as the pcb’s are immediately ready for further processing – reducing work in process. These masking products can provide an excellent alternative to traditional masking in the electronics industry. The cured materials leave no silicone, ionic contamination or corrosive residues.

This infographic illustrates the advantages of using Dymax UV cure liquid maskants in temporary masking for electronics, including an example of a 30% process improvement.

speedmask for electronics infographic

Sometimes, materials are dispensed or dosed under vacuum – for example, the potting of intricate electronics assemblies may be done under vacuum in order to prevent unwanted air entrapment.

Selecting dosing equipment under this scenario might be tricky. Dispensing systems based on time/pressure can be inaccurate in changing atmospheric pressure!

The preeflow eco-PENs and eco-DUOs have been used very successfully for this kind of application, as this case study shows. They function by using a rotor in an elastomeric stator, giving a true volumetric output based on positive displacement. Crucially, the rotor/stator system is sealed and the resulting dose is independent of the material feed pressure; and changes in atmospheric pressure. The preeflow dispensing pumps minimise incidental dripping and the preclude need for extra long dispensing needles.

preeflow rotor and stator

Whilst the applications are still challenging for preeflow, “it turns out to be the best volumetric dosing solution for this application. Additional advantages like easy integration to automated systems and simple implementation convince in the application.”

The preeflow family of products

Today I was made aware of this interview on the BBC News, given by friend Mike Wilson, President of the British Automation and Robot Association (BARA). It takes place during the CBI  Conference in London last November, and Mike is asked to comment on Theresa May’s pledge to invest £2bn a year in an effort to boost the technology industry and improve the UK’s competitiveness in the global arena.

He addresses the oft-mentioned productivity gap in the UK economy, and welcomes the proposed investment in robotic technology. Mike says that most robots used in UK manufacturing are doing the repetitive, mundane, dangerous and dirty jobs which should be automated – there are good arguments for freeing up operators from these tasks in order for them to move on to safer, less arduous roles where they can employ more skills and add greater value.

I agree with Mike when he says that there is significant opportunity for productivity enhancement by the use of automation. The UK is behind the curve here – we use 31 robots per 10,000 workers in industry, compared to Germany, who use 160 robots per 10,000 workers (these figures exclude the automotive industry which is universally heavily automated).

Our robots are used for the dispensing and application of adhesives, coatings, lubricants and many other materials used in technology manufacturing. We can demonstrate a return on investment which readily justifies the outlay – often after only a few months at an investment of less than £10,000.

Watch the quick video, then get in touch to see if we can enhance your productivity.

Mike Wilson of BARA discussing robotics on the BBC

Ensuring Success When Switching from Conventional Lamp to LED Light Curing Sources, authored by our sales partner Dymax, is a new white paper available on our Technical Articles and White Papers webpage. Because of the differences in the technology, making the switch in UV curing equipment from broad spectrum lamps to LED curing sources is seldom a matter of simply replacing the conventional lamp with an LED-based unit.

This is a specialist area for us, as we have extensive experience in helping manufacturers through the process of achieving the considerable benefits of using LED-based UV/visible light curing equipment. It is important to understand the implications of replacing conventional, broad spectrum UV/visible light curing equipment with an LED system, which by nature has a narrow bandwidth output. Light curing materials such as adhesives, potting compounds or conformal coatings which have been formulated to cure with broad spectrum lamps may not cure as expected with an LED UV curing lamp.

The white paper looks at how LED UV curing works, and its advantages. It helps understand how to specify the curing equipment, and how to optimise the curing process by matching the equipment with the material to be cured. With attention to detail, understanding of the compatibility of all the process elements, and appropriate adjustments to manufacturing process, it is possible to achieve a successful transition to LED UV light cure technology and maximise the benefits.

uv-led-spectral-outputs

Trends in miniaturisation call for smaller, more precise and ever more repeatable metering, mixing & dispensing units for two-part materials. The preeflow® eco-duo330 sets new standards in micro-dosing for two component systems by providing dosages as small as 0.2 to 32ml/min with precisely mixed material, complete repeatability and exceptional control. This is expected to be of particular value in the fields of medical device manufacturing, optics, photonics, electronics assembly, biochemistry and semi-conductors, where the ability to meter and mix small volumes will be appreciated.

With the newly developed preeflow eco-DUO330, dosing quantities of 0.005 ml (per shot) are achievable, irrespective of temperature, time, pressure and viscosity – dosed as a dot or bead – so the smallest quantities can be created as required. The microprocessor-controlled system creates a dosing accuracy of ±1 % and repeatability of over 99% in a process that is absolutely reliable and reproducible. Dependent on application, the mixture ratio between the two input materials can be easily adjusted from 1:1 to 10:1 using the intelligent control via a graphical interface. The dosing of dots, as well as bead applications, can be subjected to a continuous quality check thanks to the integrated pressure monitoring. The maximum continuous bead application is 6.6 ml/min, whereas a variable bead thickness from 0.1 mm to approximately 2 mm (directly proportional to the speed of the application) is now achievable, thanks to the unique design of the preeflow eco-DUO330.

The preeflow eco-DUO330 is a volumetric dispensing system with self-sealing rotor-stator arrangement whereby controlled rotary motion transfers the medium by positive displacement in the stator. The medium is subject to very low stress and therefore unchanged by this process, and simply by switching to reverse-flow, preeflow ensure a clean and controlled stop of material or medium with no drips and no mess.

Contact us for advice on integrating this system into your production process.

metering, mixing & dispensing