The surface plays a decisive role in enabling engineered materials to fulfill their purpose. For this reason, numerous coating technologies are used to create or improve functions performed by the surfaces of various base materials, such as reducing friction, protecting against wear or corrosion, or even adding decorative attributes. Functional coatings often deliver a crucial market advantage, which is why appropriate coating technologies can be found in almost all industries today. But if these coating systems are to adhere properly, they can only be applied to surfaces that have been pre-treated using the appropriate cleaning technology. Components from industrial production, which make their way through many different manufacturing steps under sometimes ‘harsh’ conditions, must therefore be rid of impurities – sometimes down to even molecular level.
In applications involving layer technologies, inadequate pretreatment leads to failure of the layer and, ultimately, to the failure of the entire component in most cases. Efficient cleaning not only has to consider the products to be cleaned, which are composed of various materials such as metal, ceramics, glass or plastic, but also the contamination to be removed. Impurities on surfaces can include emulsions, oils, grease, metals, shavings, flux, soldering paste, scale layers, rust, oxides, salts and other particles. The cleaning task is also very precisely defi ned by requirements that the surface must later fulfill. In addition to intensive and careful cleaning and the removal of impurities, attention is often focused on the activation or passivation of material surfaces in preparation for subsequent processing. Companies have to rely on the existing concepts of equipment manufacturers, which are generally not adapted to their specifi c manufacturing operations, or simply do not offer a complete solution for a cleaning task.
Main areas of focus
• Cleaning and pre-treatment techniques
• Coatings that facilitate cleaning