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New plasma hybrid molding process launched at K 2016

News 07.09.2016

Plasmatreat will pool interests with AKRO-PLASTIC but also with ARBURG, Krallmann and KUKA at its booth at K 2016 that will take place in Düsseldorf on October 19…26. The companies will put on display a newly developed plasma injection molding process for production of high-performance hybrid parts.

16-07 k-2016 plasma-hybrid-spritzgiessprozess anlage

Plasmatreat and AKRO-PLASTIC joined forces to develop a new plasma cell linked to an injection molding machine by a conveyor belt, for an easy and rapid high-tech production of reliable overmolded parts.

Metal/plastic interface is crucial for hybrid components, and injection molding producers struggled with it constantly. Highly aggressive substances can penetrate this interface over time, resulting in item deterioration with a risk of delamination.

The partnership of Plasmatreat and AKRO-PLASTIC adhered to finding a reliable solution to this at industry level. Following two years of research, the compound producer and the plasma company were finally successful in creating a consistently stable and tight bond between plastic and metal. This was possible thanks to an innovative process allowing for a perfect match of the composition of plasma-polymerized anticorrosion layer to the used compound recipe and machine parameters. The said layer is generated at ambient pressure.

The plasma specialist focused on process automation thanks to its compact multicomponent pretreatment system, easily integrated in-line. The resulting PT1200 plasma cell is fully automatic and can adapt to any traditional injection molding machine. It speeds up the process and enables a continuous production of metal-to-plastic parts by injection molding. The cell has a generator, a robot, two plasma nozzles with a control unit (PCU), and necessary consumables. The scope of the system may be reduced or enlarged by choosing a relevant option, taking into account other processes of pretreatment.

16-07 k-2016 plasma-hybrid-spritzgiessprozess detail

The hybrid injection molding process: the innovative two-nozzle PT1200 cell cleans the metal inlay with Openair® plasma to a microfine level, after which a functional coating is applied using PlasmaPlus® technology, and the inlay is ready for molding, with no need to wait on drying.

Hybrid injection molding proceeds as follows. The metal inlay is cleaned with Openair® plasma supplied by the first plasma nozzle to a microfine level; inlay surface is simultaneously activated. Then, PlasmaPlus® technology is used to apply functional coating. A two-axis system or a robot handles the inlay in the process. The patented PlasmaPlus technology for applying functional coating by adding a precursor to plasma is the child of Plasmatreat and Fraunhofer IFAM based in Bremen (Germany). Plasma cleaning and coating both take a few seconds only.

The process involves no wet operations and is thus environmentally friendly. It replaces the traditional cleaning and priming normally used with hybrid injection molding. In addition, drying time is completely spared and no intermediate storage of parts is needed: they can be further processed straight away. The coated inlays are fed to the injection molding machine with a conveyor; at the end of its belt, another robot picks a part for a short warming using an induction heater and puts it in the mold. PlasmaPlus technology enables a solid covalent bond at the metal/plastic interface.

With a support from their trade fair partners (ARBURG, Krallmann, and KUKA), AKRO-PLASTIC and Plasmatreat will premiere the innovative plasma hybrid process along with the whole range of their equipment at K 2016. Giveaway items made of stainless steel overmolded with PA6 GF30 will be manufactured directly at the booth.

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