Converters, laminators and extruders have the opportunity to run tests under controlled laboratory conditions prior to committing to the expense of commercial production.
Vetaphone has invested in a new pilot line to automate corona and plasma test treatments. The latest surface measuring tools will help evaluate bonding strengths. Not all rolls of filmic substrates react the same way, so Vetaphone has added new technologies to support its customers with enhanced research and development.
Many converters have dealt with the problem of trying to get a liquid to adhere to a non-absorbent material. The company has automated the testing process, which promotes more efficiency, less risk of ink contamination, and requires less time.
“The opening of this test lab is a major milestone in this company’s ambitious growth program,” states Nick Coombes, who moderated the event. “Surface treatment has come a long way since the 1950s, and the company has invested heavily in setting up this facility. We’d like to have everyone here in person when it’s safe to travel again.”
“We’ve spent many years talking to customers about their products,” adds Jan Eisby, CEO. “Customers know they need surface treatment but they don’t quite know why. We’re here to share our knowledge to give them fast and accurate results. How does your film behave when it is treated, and what level of treatment is needed? We can help you get these problems right the first time and advise them on the best course of action. Ultimately, we want to have happy customers.”
Kevin McKell, vice president of technical sales, differentiated Vetaphone’s product offerings – highlighting the benefits of corona and plasma treatment, and when to utilize each technology. By treating the substrates, the material is given a higher amount of oxygen molecules, which increases adhesion as oxygen molecules are anchor points for ink.
“A lot of people around the world think all corona treatment is the same and it’s not,” explains McKell. “A lot of companies can’t reach the proper dyne level. Treated materials are able to accept the ink better, and it is allowed to reach the proper density. Even in digital you can see the digital ink on the corona treated material has a cleaner, crisper image.”
Customers have access to a wide variety of materials in a complex packaging world. There are endless numbers of polymer materials, including PE, additives, brands and more.
“We’re mainly focusing on the packaging industry,” notes Eisby. “In the past the testing has been a very complex task, but now we’re making it a lot easier for our customers to run their own trials.
“Corona and plasma are not the same, as they involve different surface chemistries,” adds Eisby. “Plasma is quite different and it’s used for different types of applications. Plasma uses way more power, and it is costlier – 6-8 times more expensive. Plasma treatment offers a lot of possibilities, though. If we can reduce a few layers, it makes recyclability easier. The goal is a greener product at the end of the day.”
Vetaphone’s investments have gone beyond technology. The company has supported its personnel with extensive training. Its emphasis on customer service will continue as the world grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic. Vetaphone is also extending an invitation to the new facility when travel permits.
“We have a well-equipped facility here, and we encourage our customers to come here and do the test together here with us,” says Kim Bredgaard, project sales manager. “A lot of times, customers will realize that changing the process slightly can generate an even better solution. We’re looking to understand what the customer is trying to achieve, and the customer can understand what we can do with surface treatment.”
“We want to help the industry by creating new and unique packaging film products. It’s a collaboration and involves partnerships with our customers,” adds Frank Eisby. “Vetaphone can supply knowledge about surface properties, chemistry and finding new environmentally friendly packaging types for the future.”