At this year's INPRINT in Milan, Plasmatreat and the Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG (Heidelberg, www.heidelberg.com) will present their knowledge and expertise on a shared booth for the first time. The decision to join forces at this tradeshow was prompted by the fact that the OMNIFIRE 250 and OMNIFIRE 1000 UV inkjet digital printers are equipped with Openair-Plasma® technology. With these printers, objects of any form can receive individual prints and finishes in very little time. Rotary jet technology patented by Plasmatreat uses a highly effective atmospheric plasma pretreatment to ensure the optimal adhesion of the printing inks to the free-form objects.
Previously, the only way to apply a decorative finish to perfectly round objects like spheres or balls was by screen-printing or using laminated foils. As a special highlight, visitors to the booth will be shown how it can now be done digitally: the personalization of a plasma-treated, UV inkjet digitally printed football. "The plasma is emitted from the rotary nozzle onto the surface at a speed of 2700 rpm. In just a few seconds, it not only fine-cleans the surface but at the same time activates the substrate at molecular level. This significantly improves the cross-linkage of the printing ink to the material and ensures long-time stable adhesion properties even under challenging conditions", says Bas Buser, Market Manager Printing at Plasmatreat in describing the plasma effect.
Apart from digital printing, Plasmatreat will also present new surface treatment solutions for other printing processes: The PTU1208 plasma unit was developed specially for the functional plasma coating of surfaces in continuous printing runs. The plasma-polymer PlasmaPlus® nanocoating used here is an environmentally friendly alternative to the conventional solvent-based primer processes which also improves quality. The fully automated in-line station contains two rotary double nozzle systems and is designed for the application-specific pretreatment of small, flat materials – glass displays, for example – before printing.
Plasmatreat will also demonstrate live the newly developed linear PFW70 plasma system which pretreats materials up to 70 mm wide at high speed before printing. Plasmatreat will demonstrate the plasma effect on a round polypropylene (PP) container. Surface activation is essential for plastics like PP, which have very poor adhesive characteristics due to their low surface energy. The effect of the plasma treatment is to significantly increase the surface energy. The required homogenous surface wettability is then achieved, thereby providing outstanding adhesive characteristics for the printing inks.