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2021-08-26

SUCO introduces plasma cleaning

SUCO now offers customers plasma-cleaned pressure switches and sensors for various industrial and medical applications. Now, there is no need to send your equipment away for plasma cleaning as plasma cleaning is completed at SUCO’s facilities and is available in three levels of purity, depending on your application.  

Plasma cleaning ensures products are free of oil and grease for oxygen applications and PWIS-free for coating and painting processes.

Advantages for SUCOs' plasma cleaning service:

Residue-free cleaning service prevents any contamination. Plasma cleaning removes any organic hydrocarbon-based contamination like oil and greases; lubricants; silicone and any substance that interferes with paint wetting. Using plasma cleaning enables a maximum purity level of  20 mg/m² (stage B) according to ASTM G93:2019.

Wetting ability is another advantage. Plasma activation temporarily increases the surface energy, increasing wetting ability - otherwise known as surface activation. 

Additional advantages include the efficiency of plasma cleaning due to the low energy and process costs and being environmentally friendly. Sensitive surfaces, such as polymers, are also not damaged and immediate processing is possible.

How does plasma cleaning work?

Five steps are required in plasma cleaning, shown below:

  1. Evacuation of process chamber – Your pressure switch/sensor is placed inside the process chamber, hermetically sealed and removed using a vacuum pump.
  2. Oxygen Enrichment – Pure oxygen (O2) is supplied as a process gas at approx. 1 mbar. A high-frequency generator forms an electromagnetic field as an energy source. Oxygen molecules are ionized and then transferred into the highly reactive plasma, and the remaining nitrogen will glow violet during reduction.
  3. Plasma Cleaning – Organic contaminants based on hydrocarbons are decomposed. Oxygen is then continuously applied and the vacuum pump removes used gas.
  4. Venting of process chamber – Post-treatment, the process chamber is ventilated and the plasma-cleaned products are handled with gloves.
  5. Packaging – The pressure switch/sensor is individually packed and sealed in PE bags with special markings to inform the customer that the product has been plasma cleaned.

Levels of purity

SUCO offers three different levels of plasma cleaning purity options depending on what is required for your application. As the level of purity goes up, the process time increases.

Level 1 - Free of oil and grease

  • Individual parts free of oil and grease
  • Assembly and adjustment-free of oil and grease
  • Not recommended for oxygen applications 

Level 2 - Plasma cleaned for oxygen

  • Free of hydrocarbon based substances
  • Individually sealed and packed in silicon-free PE bags
  • Recommended for EPDM sealing on oxygen applications

Level 3 - Plasma cleaned (PWIS free)

  • Free of paint-wetted impairment substances (PWIS)
  • Individually sealed and packed in silicon-free PE bags

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Which applications require plasma cleaned equipment?

Medical Technology

  • Ventilation and therapy
  • Anaesthesia

Production and Manufacturing

  • Industrial manufacturing
  • Glass and steel industry

Water treatment

  • Wastewater treatment
  • Drinking water treatment

Chemical and pharmaceutical industry

  • Oxidation processes
  • Ethanol production

Certification

The plasma cleaning process is subject to the internal quality management process according to DIN ISO 9001:2015. The high level of purity (max. 20 mg/m² organic residues) is regularly verified by a national accreditation body (DAkkS), plasma cleaned products also come with a Declaration of Manufacture.   

For more information on plasma cleaning, get in touch with [email protected]

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