PLASMA PRE-TREATMENT FOR PLASTIC SURFACE ACTIVATION
The Deep Coat plasma pre-treatment process ensures adequate adhesion to many plastics and other substrate materials by activating and energizing the part’s surfaces immediately before the metallizing process begins. For excessively smooth surfaces, substrates with flame retardant infusion, or surfaces that require a dull or matte finish, pre-treatment options can be supplemented to our plasma pre-treatment for plastics.
Deep Coat Surface Pre-Treatment
The core of Deep Coat’s adhesion effectiveness is built into our approach to vacuum metallizing. During the vacuum plasma pre-treatment process on plastic, the air is drawn out of the chamber to prepare for deposition. Then, before deposition begins a rarified gas is pumped into the chamber and excited by a pair of glow rods. The glow rods activate the gas and turn it into a low-energy plasma. The electron activity during the plasma surface cleaning clears the plastic’s surface of any localized static or microscopic debris. The plastic is then prepared for coating and the metallization can begin once the rarified gas is removed from the chamber.
Deep Coat can also address surface irregularities that are too large for our plasma treatment for plastics. Such irregularities could be scratches, scuffs, debris, or dust. Larger blemishes on the surface of plastic housings are typically more visible after coating because of the increased surface reflectivity. Customers often request the highly visible coated surfaces to be smoothed in our ceramic-stone tumbling machines. This removes or reduces surface irregularities without requiring a chemical under-layer for the coatings.
These ceramic tumbling machines can also be used for stripping and re-plating housings. The metal coating can be tumbled away without impacting the dimensions of your housing when the coating process is affected by events such as: unexpected contamination from the molding process on the plastics, outgassing inherent to some plastics during vacuum coating, or disruptions in the coating batch.
Deep Coat also has sand, bead, and glass media blasting equipment capable of altering the surface finish of the plastic prior to coating. Our customers request this service for projects including adhesion improvement for flame retardant infused plastics, surface reflectivity dampening to reduce glare on metallized surfaces, and refraction improvements for coated fiber optic connectors. The most common application of the media blasting process is to supplement the plasma surface cleaning process on excessively smooth plastics or substrates with flame retardant infusion. All products that are subjected to our ceramic-stone tumbling or media blasting processes are run through the pre-metallizing washing process to ensure the best possible coating.