Skip to Content
3DT's MultiDyne treats ampules.

Guide to Plasma Surface Treatment and Corona Surface Treatment in Medical Device, Pharma, and Labware Manufacturing

Medical practitioners are increasingly utilizing plastics in their devices and instruments due to the material’s versatility, quick processing, light weight, bio-compatibility, sterility and price point. Plasma and corona surface treatment are an ideal fit for medical, pharmaceutical, and labware manufacturing. Once surface treated the value of inexpensive polymer parts greatly increases due to now becoming specialized, functionalized, engineered components. Plasma and corona surface treatment produce reliable, durable, and uniform results through electrical discharge that heighten energy on the surface of polymers and other substrates to increase their capacity for adhesion and bonding.

What Can Plasma Surface Treatments and Corona Surface Treatments

Note how the ink adheres in the center of the bottle where it was plasma treated with 3DT’s PlasmaDyne Pro.

 Achieve in Medical Device Manufacturing?

Medical device manufacturers use plasma and corona surface treatment for various reasons. First, surface modification improves adhesive, coating, and ink bonds with a substrate by chemically changing substrates from being hydrophobic to hydrophilic. Manufacturers utilize corona and plasma treatment to solve complex challenges, especially plastic material applications that present incompatibility issues for bonding. Other specialized applications include applying protective coatings that either draw or fend off fluids and improved cell adhesion in laboratory containers made from polycarbonate and polystyrene.

What Are Some Useful Applications for Plasma and Corona Treatment in the Medical Industry?

Within medical manufacturing, the range of uses for plastics is vast. As a result, corona and plasma technology is regularly used for improving the bonding power of ink, adhesives and cell culture growth. Surface treated items include syringes, tubing, pipettes, bottles, flasks, vials, multi-well plates, Eppendorf tubes, culture plates, and other polymer labware items manufactured for research, drug discovery, and diagnostics testing. Surface treatment is employed for all types of parts and components for medical devices and pharma packaging.

Plasma treatment can assist the bonding of dissimilar materials. This can involve bonding metal to plastic, silicon to glass, polymers to other polymers, biological content to microtiter plates, and even bonding to polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE). Whether bonding metal to plastic, silicon to glass, polymers to other polymers or biological content to microtiter plates, corona and plasma can be used to promote adhesion. 

Adhesion promotion is achieved by increasing the substrates surface-free energy creating a dramatic improvement in bonding. In some cases, up to a 50x increase in bond strength can be achieved.

What Are the Benefits of Using Plasma and Corona Surface Treatments?

Plasma and corona surface treatment generate numerous benefits for medical, pharmaceutical, and laboratory components. These treatments offer:

syringe, tubing, corona treated, printed

Surface treatment creates secure bonding of ink, coating, adhesive and more.

High-Quality Results

Businesses in these sectors all require reliable, high-quality products for critical applications, making plasma and corona treatment ideal. As these surface treatments ensure consistent and superior wettability, the resulting products will have greater capabilities for adhesion—even for the most challenging of plastic substrates—as well as overall product performance. The secure bonding with media such as ink, paint, and adhesives is an important benefit for medical devices, changing a two-dollar plastic part into a fifty-dollar component. 3DT specializes in developing these processes and systems for customer’s unique applications. 

Speed

Both plasma and corona surface treatment are typically fast, usually taking little time at all, depending on the process and materials. Treating can take just seconds to complete, with the potential for treating up to 1,000 parts per hour. As an added benefit, these surface treatments do not necessitate primers, curing or drying; cutting those stages from the production timeline for greater time savings.

Uniformity

These processes are an excellent solution for products that need treating on the whole of their surface, even hard-to-reach nooks, crannies, and drill holes. As such, they are ideal for 3D components with complex configurations, providing consistent, reliable pretreatment. Processes utilize highly repeatable, recipe-based programming.

3DT’s MultiDyne with 2 treating heads treats a medical device placed on a spinning mandrel prior to printing.

Cost-Effectiveness

Plasma and corona surface treatments have opened up additional opportunities for medical manufacturers. To start, the speed of these treatments plays a part in increased savings. They can also reduce operating costs by allowing companies to adopt the use of alternative materials that are less expensive than typical base substrates, as well as chemicals, primers, and adhesives. This also leads to less scrap and waste generated which equates to greater savings as well.

Environmental Friendliness

Surface treatment improves the adhesion of environmentally-friendly, solvent-free, water-based primers, adhesives, and inks, eliminating the use of chemical baths and primers.  Plasma surface treatment, unlike chemical processes such as priming or etching, are clean processes that do not produce environmentally harmful waste. Instead, they give off minor amounts of non-hazardous gasses only. Corona processes generate ozone, but using an ozone filter eliminates the issue. Additionally, corona and plasma do not use an open flame, and are much safer for operators. 

What Medical Devices Are Treated with Plasma Surface Treatment or Corona Surface Treatment?

3DT’s FlexiDyne Pro quickly corona treats polystyrene labware for improved cell culture growth.

Plasma and corona surface treatments are applicable for:

  • Ampules, vials
  • Catheter tubing
  • Implants
  • Insulin pens
  • Lenses
  • Medication bottles
  • Needle hubs
  • Ostomy bags
  • Petri dishes
  • Labware: flasks, multi-well plates
  • Surgical instruments
  • Syringes

3DT is Your Source for Corona & Plasma Technology

Plasma and corona surface treatment are vital in healthcare manufacturing for providing effective, reliable adhesion and product performance. As a leading manufacturer in surface treatment, 3DT LLC provides clients with innovative, high-performance bonding solutions for a wide variety of substrates from plastics and rubber to glass and metal. We offer both standard and custom-engineered systems for greater application versatility. Learn more about our product line here. Our team can incorporate 3DT’s systems into new or existing production lines. For more information on our capabilities and how our surface treatment technology can support your operations contact us today at sales@3DTLLC.com or call 1-262-253-6700.