Vetaphone and Coating Plasma Industrie (CPI) have co-operated to create EASI-Plasma, a new surface treatment technology to improve adherence in coating, laminating and printing applications.
Vetaphone CEO Frank Eisby says the new technology should not be seen as a replacement for corona treatment, but: "While we may predict a small level of business, perhaps three to five percent, moving from corona to EASI-Plasma, the major impact will be in developing new products in new markets". He claims it offers significant new properties and cost savings across a broad spectrum of flexible materials.
CPI's Bertrand Jaccoud adds that by using EASI-Plasma, the need for and cost of solvents, adhesives and chemical compounds, and technology to cure them, could be eliminated, and by surface treatment, a cheaper substrate can be specified without any loss of quality. "With good atmospheric surface preparation it is possible to use simpler, cheaper ink formulations, and reduce time and waste. You end up with a better product that is innovative and different."
EASI-Plasma differs from corona treatment by the inclusion of nitrogen (for standard grafting), and nitrogen plus dopant gases (for advanced grafting), which react with the substrate surface. This is said to give a long lasting surface modification that has a stable high surface energy. It offers tuneable wettability, which gives better adhesion. There is no need for chemical primers, and print quality will be high whether water or solvent-based, or UV-curable inks are used. Adhesion is also improved for extrusion coating, extrusion laminating, metallising, varnishing and lacquering, the companies claim.
EASI-Plasma Nanocoating takes the process one stage further by offering a permanent modification of the surface with a very thin tip layer and a highly cross-linked network that reduces the risk of transfer. A silica version is hydrophilic with high surface energy, and offers good anti-fogging properties; a silicone version is hydrophobic with low surface energy, offering tuneable release properties.
Vetaphone and CPI say the mechanical and electrical hardware required to implement the process is already well proven, and a bespoke service is available that can be tailored to individual requirements,