Pre-treatment, Cleaning, and Activation

Assured Bondings and Coatings via Eco-Friendly Surface Pre-Treatment

Reinigung und Aktivierung von komplexen FVK-Oberflächen durch AD-Plasma
© Fraunhofer IFAM
Cleaning and activation of complex FRP surfaces using AP plasma
Entfernung von Trennmitteln von CFK-Oberflächen
© Fraunhofer IFAM
Removal of release agents from CFPR materials

Surface contamination in production

The contamination of surfaces with auxilliary production materials such as release agents and lubricants is a common problem for the subsequent bonding or coating of components and products. In order to guarantee optimum adhesion of adhesives and coatings to surfaces, it is usually necessary to undertake cleaning and activation processes.

Many of the nowadays processes involve the use of solvents or aqueous systems with the following disadvantages:

  • Space requirements for baths
  • Disposal costs and energy costs
  • Emissions, e. g., volatile organic compounds (VOCs)

Plasma technology – The efficient and eco-friendly alternative ...

Here the workpiece to be cleaned is exposed to a plasma or its vacuum ultraviolet (VUV) radiation. Organic contaminants are decomposed by the plasma and removed from the surface. Techniques for this include atmospheric pressure (AP) plasma jets for local in-line pre-treatment and low pressure (LP) plasma technology and VUV excimer lamps for the pre-treatment of complex shaped components.

… also in combination with abrasive technologies

When components are highly contaminated, for example, with coarse particles or thick layers, the aforementioned techniques can be combined with additional technologies for abrasive cleaning:

To demonstrate possible process combinations, the experts of PLATO at Fraunhofer IFAM have a robot cell that allows the versatile design and testing of new process chains.


Example applications from industry

  • Activation of sealing flanges on polypropylene headlight housings
  • Preparation of ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) profiles for flock spraying without roughening and solvent primers
  • Adhesive bonding of FRP components
  • Local pre-treatment of titanium bolts

Example applications

  • Surface pre-treatment prior to adhesive bonding or coating
  • Surface pre-treatment of fiber reinforced plastics (FRPs such as CFRPs, GFRPs, etc.)
  • Surface treatment of particles
  • Optimization of wetting properties