Surface treatment for plastic cards

It’s very common to have trouble printing on plastic cards. This is because most types of plastic cards are made with PVC, which has a non-stick nature just like other polymer and composite blends. This results in poor quality ink and print adhesion. Due to this issue, many businesses face problems while printing on plastic cards because accomplishing a solid print grip, and solid overlay on plastic cards is near impossible with these materials.

Tantec has identified the issue many of you are having while printing on various plastic cards, including business cards, loyalty cards and library cards to name a few. We work tirelessly to bring you a solution that is not only effective, but also efficient by discovering new ways to provide a better quality of print adhesion.

Tantec offers service standards that go above and beyond those of the industry. Using state-of-the-art Plasma Surface Treatment, we provide unmatched ink adhesion, even for high-speed orders. Our highly trained and experienced engineers offer a wide range of services along with this expertise, such as encapsulation, bar coding, UV printing, DOD printing and surface cleaning.

Achieving Good Adhesion when Printing Plastic Cards

For good adhesion of ink to plastic, the surface energy of the material used to make the surface needs to be higher than the surface tension of the ink. PVC has low surface energy at just around 34-38 Dynes/cm² (mN/m), and it is the most commonly used material for plastic cards; this is the reason ink adhesion on plastic cards is such a problem for many businesses.

Inkjet ink typically has a fixed surface strain, causing manufacturers to work to discover ways and techniques to increase the surface energy of the material being printed on. Testing is a critical part of improving grip characteristics. Only testing will help manufacturers decide what the best ratio is for adhesion between the surface energy of the material on which the printing will take place and the surface strain of the ink being used for printing.

By gathering data through testing, the engineers at Tantec advise that the best way to measure the surface energy of a material is by using a Contact Angle Meter. With the aid of this device, rigorous testing conducted by engineers will determine the ideal surface energy of the material in regard to the surface tension of the ink. This data will help with all future predictions for dependable surface actuation levels.

How Does Plasma Treatment Improve the Quality of Plastic Card Printing?

In the case of plastic card printing, quality of ink adhesion is imperative. Our ideal solution to this is with Plasma Treatment, which is not only very efficient, practical, and environmentally friendly, but it is also cost-effective.

Plasma Treatment involves three processes that take place on a molecular level in order to increase ink adhesion. The first starts when plasma, a heavily ionized gas, is exposed to a high vitality in conjunction with materials ranging from polymers, ceramics, metals, composites blends and even to glass. When the particles are exposed, the electrons around the molecular core start to move away due to the increase in temperature. The atoms get very hot and are unable to stay contained around the core.

The second stage of the process begins when these free radicals and different particles that exist in the dynamic plasma, now need something to bind with. These particles connect to the molecules on the surface of the material, bringing about the development of extra polar groups.
Once these new polar groups are formed, the resulting change is the material being more receptive to inks. Not only does this process increase the quality of the bond formation, but it also guarantees a wider spreading of the ink for a better finish. The barrage of ions provided by the plasma removes any organic contaminants as well, leaving the surface of the material clean during the process.

Once all organic contaminants have been removed, you are left with the perfect surface condition for inks and overlay printing in order to get the best results on plastic cards. This is what makes this process and technology the best one for the job.

Which Plasma Treating Technology Is The Best Choice For You?

High-end orders for plastic cards should ideally opt for Atmospheric Plasma Technology. This is because it is perfect for high-speed printing with a procedure that is both effective and repeatable. This tech can plasma-treat up to 30,000 cards an hour and is fully adaptable to fit into your assembling procedure.

Tantec excels in the production of this state-of-the-art technology that is as effective as it is efficient. Not only that, but the tech we offer is half the size of the conventional Atmospheric Plasma Treatment systems, which will save your business a ton of floor space that can be utilized for other operations.

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