Originally Published March 2000
SURFACE MODIFICATION SYSTEMS
Offering electropolishing equipment for surface enhancement of stainless steel, copper, and aluminum products, a company custom designs each system to customer specifications. The electropolishing method cleans and passivates surfaces, thereby preventing corrosion and rust. The method also deburrs and sharpens edges of hypodermic tubing and blades and results in the removal of a significant amount of hydrogen, which can help prevent the growth of bacteria. Gemlux Electropolishing, 140 Industrial Loop, Orange Park, FL 32073.
Surface modification system
For use on a variety of metals, a surface modification process decreases wear and improves corrosion resistance without adding coatings or changing part dimensions. The Ion Beam surface treatment is a noncontact process designed to remove microburrs, seal surface cracks, smooth machine marks, and remove contamination from metals that have been machined or formed by means of metal injection molding. The manufacturer provides treatment services and equipment. QM Technologies Inc., 3701 Hawkins Ave. N.E., Albuquerque, NM 87109.
Plasma etching system
Capable of processing various types of polymeric materials, a roll-to-roll plasma etching system can handle varying widths, thicknesses, and substrate compositions. The PE-2000R has a web-type transport that can control widths of 124 in., with average throughputs ranging from 100 to 300 ft/hr, depending on residence time requirements. The system is computer controlled and password protected to enable both process repeatability and documentation of production cycles. Plasma Etch Inc., 1345 Green Ln., La Cañada, CA 91011.
Gas plasma process
A surface modification process uses electrically conductive or ionized gas plasma to enhance bonding between nonconductive surfaces and materials, including glues, inks, and specialized coatings. The Duradyne plasma treatment system works by raising the surface energy relative to the surface tension of the nonconductive substance, ensuring an even spread of the coating over the surface. The system can help produce strong plastic-to-metal adhesion between hypodermic needles and hubs, can improve bonding between angioplasty balloons and catheters, and can improve coating applications inside various kinds of tubing. Tri-Star Technologies, 2201 Rosecrans Ave., El Segundo, CA 90245.
Surface treatment system
A surface treatment system can be used to modify medical substrates and component surfaces by means of a vacuum deposition process. The PDS-2010 Labcoter, which treats surfaces at room temperature, features automated functions controlled by computer and requires no special plumbing, wiring, drains, or venting. The treatment is useful for enhancing biochemical isolation, dielectric protection, lubricity, particle tie-down, tissue growth promotion, and mechanical reinforcement. It also improves surface sealing characteristics. Specialty Coating Systems, 5707 W. Minnesota St., Indianapolis, IN 46241.
Plasma processing system
Ocular lenses, catheters, and arterial and bone grafts are among the devices whose surfaces can be modified and cleaned by a plasma processing system. The Multimode system ensures wettability and improves chemical compatibility and adhesion properties, according to the manufacturer. The process promotes oxidization of the metal's surface to a stable configuration, followed by the cross-linking or bonding of atoms to alter the surface properties. The system is suitable for low-volume production and R&D applications. Axic, 493 Gianni St., Santa Clara, CA 95054.
Automatic microsandblasting equipment introduces precisely graded microabrasive powder into a controlled stream of compressed gas. The mixture moves through an abrasive-resistant pathway and out of a miniature nozzle to the surface of the device being modified. The nozzle on the Swam Blaster can be manually or automatically positioned and comes in sizes from 0.006 to 0.090 in. Applications include surface texturing or finishing, microhole drilling in thin-wall stainless-steel tubing, precision deburring, and selective removal of coatings and platings. Crystal Mark Inc., 613 Justin Ave., Glendale, CA 91201.
Plasma surface modification
A company offers four plasma surface modification systems for film, fabric, fibers, yarns, tubing, powders, and molded and machined parts. The PS 0150, 0350, 0500, and 1010 can enhance adhesive bond strengths, make painting and decoration permanent, and create suitable wetting, barrier, and biocompatibility characteristics. In addition to service, spare parts, and rental systems, the manufacturer provides process development, consulting, and equipment design and sales services. 4th State Inc., 1260 Elmer St., Belmont, CA 94002.
A corona-discharge surface treatment system is suitable for use on plastic medical components, including tubing, extruded profiles, and molded parts. The Plasma-Jet system uses an electrical discharge to increase surface wettability, which is a consideration for manufacturers who use water-based components and UV-curable inks during direct printing, hot stamping, labeling, and component assembly operations. Up to four discharge heads can operate simultaneously, allowing multiple surfaces and configurations to be treated in one pass. Applications include the printing of syringe barrels, vials, and other containers with gradations, labels, or directions. Corotec Corp., 145 Hyde Rd., Farmington, CT 06032.
Designed to improve the adhesion of inks, coatings, labels, and adhesives on three-dimensional plastic and rubber products, a plasma surface treatment system uses an air-blown electrical arc to form a high-energy ionized gas. The two-headed Dyne-A-Mite system emits a continuous plasma stream, resulting in uniform treatment levels on a 2½ X 2½-in. surface area. The heads can be mounted on an existing process or conveying line, allowing the product to pass through the treating arc. The system features a membrane control and diagnostic panel, and the unit is high-temperature rated. Enercon Industries Corp., P.O. Box 773, Menomonee Falls, WI 53052.
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