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An Austrian SME developed a unique atmospheric pressure plasma coating technology for easy and fast deposition of completely new compact coatings. All sizes, shapes and kinds of material (even paper, plastics, textiles..) can be coated with e.g. conductive, anticorrosive, biocidal, adhesion/non adhesion etc. layers. The plug-and-play solution saves costs and time. Industrial partners and R&D departments / research institutes are sought for commercial, technical and/or research cooperations.
For many industrial applications materials have to be coated with layers of other materials to achieve required properties (e.g. anticorrosive or conductive layers). PVD or CVD systems (physical or chemical vapour deposition) for coating with nanolayers require expensive vacuum chambers. Only small substrates can be coated at very low velocity. For coating with microlayers in galvanic baths a lot of space is needed and environmentally harmful solvents are used, which have to be disposed of at high costs.
The Austrian company succeeded in developing a new plasma coating technology to overcome all above mentioned disadvantages. It makes it possible to achieve at atmospheric pressure (without vacuum) extremely dense and compact coatings without harmful solvents and at unprecedented speed. The atmospheric process can be implemented inline, thus substrates with all sizes can be coated. The coatings are still extremely adhesive even with a thickness of a few μm or a few nm.
The core of the technology is the targeted feeding of powder or precursor into the plasma jet, which is up to several 10,000 °C hot. As a result, almost any coating material with a melting point up to 2000°C can be processed (depending on particle size, shape and general warnings). Very high coating quality is achieved by the low heat input into the substrate through the focused plasma jet and by the usage of the coating material as a special powder or as precursor vapour.
Compared to other atmospheric pressure (plasma) coating processes this innovative technology enables material combinations that did not exist before. In particular high-melting powders or glass-like coatings can be applied to sensitive surfaces (paper, wood, plastics, films, etc.) without the substrates being thermally damaged.
The technology can be delivered as a "plug and play" solution especially designed to promote fast and reliable development processes or to foster an efficient and maintenance-friendly production. Through modular design, open interfaces and customisation options it can be adapted to all feasible coatings. In the coating chamber substrates can be moved in two-dimensional ways (even roll-to-roll processing is possible) and in three-dimensional way. The substrate handling is available in various designs too. The options range from manual loading to complete integration into a production line.
Some technical details:
- power: 0,5kW – 17kW infinitely variable
- coating speed: up to 500mm/s
- spraying width: 10 – 90mm
- microlayers in the range of 10 - 500 µm possible
- nanolayers in the range of 10 - 300 nm possible
- substrate materials: steel, aluminium, various plastics, glass, paper, textiles, etc.
- usual coating materials: powders of copper, tin and zinc and silicon-based precursors
- process gas: argon (direct current plasma)
With the novel plasma coating process conductive, anticorrosive, biocidal, tribological layers as well as layers in nano meter range featuring adhesion improvements, non adhesive properties and barrier properties etc. are possible. The application areas reach from automotive, electronics and ICT to biotechnology, chemical applications and many more. Some examples:
- printed circuit board tracks of e.g. copper on various materials for electronic components
- LED wallpapers/films, panel lights, 3D LED lamps
- adhesion promotion layers on glass, plastics etc. for printing, inking and gluing applications
- antibacterial or water-repellent swabs
The Austrian company is looking for R&D departments, research institutes and industrial partners in the above mentioned fields to buy the novel technology for their product- or process innovations. It offers technical assistance for installation and operation (commercial agreement with technical assistance), adaptations to specific requirements (technical cooperation) and conjoint development of new coating applications via R&D projects (research cooperation).
The novel technology is the worldwide only equipment that can apply micro- and nanolayers on almost every surface. As a result numerous new material configurations for new or optimized applications are made possible in one machine. Moreover, partial costs saving coatings are feasible leading to new manufacturing opportunities.
It is especially designed for:
- easy and fast development of completely new coatings (high flexibility in the combination of different substrates with different coating materials)
- efficient and maintenance friendly serial or even mass production
- deposition of high melting powders or precursors on temperature sensitive substrates like paper, wood, textiles or any kind of plastic is made possible
- easy and fast switching from micro- to nanolayers and vice versa
- applicable for complex substrate shapes
- "plug and play" solution: easy handling via console terminal and software for operation; easy programming of movement patterns; open interfaces ensure data imports/exports and documentation
Further advantages are:
- no vacuum installation needed => highly flexible and easy inline integration
- approx. 60% savings in operating costs compared to other atmospheric pressure (plasma) coating processes (when applying the same powder material)
- essential savings in operating time, costs and space compared to PVD, CVD and galvanic baths
- environmentally friendly process (no harmful chemicals used)
- each coating machine is CE certified
- the company is innovation award winner and has extensive experience with regulations and standards in mechanical engineering in various industrial sectors
various equipments have already been sold worldwide
patent applied for in Austria; European patent application planned
Specific area of activity of the partner:
- researcher, developer and/or manufacturer of coatings and surface treatments for applications in automotive, electronics, ICT, biotechnology, chemical industry and many more
- active in the area of conductive, anticorrosive, biocidal, tribological, hydrophobic, hydrophilic layers as well as layers for adhesion improvements, non adhesive properties, barrier properties etc.
- interested in developing new surface properties for their products or new products
The technology is especially suited for R&D departments of companies, research institutes as well as production orientated industry partners.
Task to be performed by the partner:
- Commercial agreement with technical assistance: partners willing to buy the novel system for their product development or research activities; the Austrian company provides training, technical support and know how for specific application cases to the partner;
- Technical cooperation agreement: the technology can be customized according to the specific requirements of potential partners;
- Technical cooperation agreement: in-house layer development according to the specific requirements of potential parterns (no job order production possible);
- Research cooperation agreement: the Austrian company is open to engage in the development of new coating applications together with potential partners in the framework of funded European research programmes;