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Surfaces need to be clean and free of deposits before they are painted, glued or welded. Only with properly pretreatment can they hold a bond effectively and lastingly. Up to this point the process has generally entailed using solvents and water-based solutions which take up space and pollute the environment. However, stricter laws and financial factors are forcing the industry to rethink its processes. Environmentally sound alternatives that use fewer resources are in demand.

Plasma technology is one such efficient and gentler approach to cleaning and pretreatment. Components are subject to a plasma or vacuum ultraviolet radiation (VUV radiation): Organic contaminants are stripped and removed. Plasma jets that work with atmospheric pressure are used for local inline pretreatment. To pre-treat intricately formed components, low pressure (LP) plasma technology and VUV excimer lamps are employed. For heavy contamination, the process can be supplemented by abrasive technologies such laser ablation, CO2 snow or vacuum blasting.

SurfaceTechnology, the world’s leading trade fair for surface technology, hosts numerous providers of environmentally-friendly cleaning and pretreatment techniques. The company Paul Auer from Mannheim is showcasing machines for fine cleaning using CO2 snow. Bio-Circle Surface Technology presents water-based VOC-free cleaners, low temperature cleaners and modern parts cleaning devices. SLCR is displaying new laser technology for preparing surfaces for paint, adhesives and welding seams in Hall 3. Various surfaces can be cleaned using pulsed lasers and slightly roughened if needed. According to SLCR, dirt, grease and parting agents as well as oxide coating and corrosion can be removed with a few laser pulses.

At the SurfaceTechnology Forum on Tuesday the focus is on cleaning and pretreatment. Among others, Felix Elbing from CyroSnow will talk about cleaning and pretreatment with CO2 snow blasting. Daniel Decker from BvL Oberflächentechnik will describe how to monitor cleaner concentration with sensor technology. Jan Mokros from Plasma Electronic GmbH will deal with the use of low-pressure plasma (PECVD), Dr. Maik Fröhlich from the Leibniz Institute for Plasma Research and Technology will look at plasma surface technology in the hi-tech and life science areas.