In for a Treat
Surface treating equipment suppliers are looking in-depth at tough-to-treat substrates, newer ink preferences, and more do-it-all technologies.
by Susan Friedman
A teeming variety of substrates, particularly films, combined with interest in UV-/water-based inks and omnipresent efficiency emphasis all add up to reveal steadily more sides of surface treating.
Corona treaters remain popular for reasons that likely extend from familiarity to versatility to economicsbut gas flame treaters aren't without an established niche. "Despite some of the known advances of flame treaters, I believe corona treaters will remain in the forefront," states Marc Nolan, sales manager at Sherman Treaters, Ontario, Canada. "People have reservations with the concept of a naked flame in the middle of their facility. In extrusion coating, it is common to see flame as a pretreater and corona in a post-treating role."
"Gas flame treating systems are the least costly to buy, but may not be the least costly to run," advises Chuck Schueler, sales manager of surface treatment products at Tantec, Schaumburg, IL. It may also distort or burn thinner filmsa non-issue with corona's cold-treatment method, he says.
Following film's footsteps
A more active facet of surface treating technology can be found in suppliers' efforts to educate package printers about treating the multipleand growingpersonalities of films.
Printers face a slightly different surface treatment scenario for films than extrudersan important notion as more and more printers shift away from purchasing pretreated films. "Films are more difficult to treat off-line than during extrusion," explains Jeff Opad, VP of sales and marketing at Pillar Technologies, Hartland, WI.
During extrusion, a material's instability makes it more receptive to surface treatment. By the time a material reaches the printer, treatment may have decayed, or additives may have migrated to the surface, making the material less receptive to treatment and necessitating higher power levels during treatment to achieve the required surface energy, Opad explains. Pretreated material, however, isn't completely out of the picture. Opad adds that bump treating is very common, in which printers buy a 38 dyne substrate and then bump it up to a 42 or 45 dyne for ink needs.