“Green Sneakers” – environmentally responsible manufacturing without solvents thanks to Openair-Plasma® pretreatment

The sporting goods industry is under constant pressure to innovate. A good example of that is the manufacture of track shoes. Consumers expect new models with new designs that promise better performance, and every year! This demands high-quality processing of ever-changing material combinations, and more and more, consumers are also looking for environmentally responsible production without solvents.

The “green sneaker” was born – a sneaker produced without the use of solvents at any point in the manufacturing process. But to combine environmental responsibility with new material combinations requires high performance physical pretreatment of the materials used.

For years, Openair-Plasma® pretreatment has proven its unique advantages to leading manufacturers of sneakers and track shoes, such as:

  • Purely physical plasma pretreatment, without any additional chemicals;
  • Outstanding adhesion capability exhibited by components pretreated with plasma, especially true of new combinations of materials;
  • Large-area plasma activation for secure and fast sole bonding using Openair-Plasma® rotary jets; and
  • Simple, cost-effective integration of plasma technology in shoe manufacturing lines.

Innovations in alpine winter sports: plasma activation for securely bonding coatings, layers and edges on skis and snowboards

Ice and snow create big challenges for the quality of bonding in skis and snowboards. The quality of edges, for instance, is important for steering and for safety. Especially critical, because the total laminate is composed of many layers of material, is the reliable adhesion of layers and edges so they can withstand powerful forces.

As a pretreatment, Openair-Plasma® makes a unique contribution to meet the demands placed on Alpine sports gear. The adhesion capability of the generally non-polar materials is dramatically improved by plasma activation, which optimizes the integrity of the plastic laminates. The result is an increase in the durability and quality of winter sports gear.

For precise drive and a perfect game: plasma pretreatment for printing and coating golf balls

Printing and coating of golf balls is not a simple application, by any means. For one, the round shape itself poses a handling challenge during pretreatment and printing. For another, the surface is highly structured and water-repellent. And when they are used, golf balls must stand up to very high mechanical stresses. The smallest surface irregularities can impact the ball’s performance and thus the precision of the golfer’s game.

In this application, Openair-Plasma® can be used to activate the entire surface using rotating jets, which ensures perfect adhesion of coating and printing.

Optimal functionality for fishing lines, thanks to hydrophilization achieved with plasma pretreatment

This is admittedly a relatively minor use, but it is nonetheless a good example of the impact of surface tension when two media meet. Fishing line that is not pretreated will always float on the surface of the water, where it causes refraction and is visible to fish.

This can be explained by the spreading of a drop of water on a polymer surface. The hydrophilization achieved by Openair-Plasma® treatment increases surface tension on the line to > 72 mN. Wettability improves and water spreads out across the surface. As a result, the fishing line drops below the surface of the water and is almost invisible. Then it’s just a matter of time until the fish bite...

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