Surface Technology Fronius Uses Hot Active Plasma for Surface Cleaning

Editor: Nicole Kareta

In production, cleanliness is a key criterion: impurities on the component must be removed in advance so that processes such as adhesion and sealing, painting and printing, as well as brazing and welding can be carried out correctly. The Acerios system from Fronius allows for environmentally friendly and cost-effective surface cleaning using plasma technology.

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Hot active plasma removes residues quickly and effectively with pinpoint precision.
Hot active plasma removes residues quickly and effectively with pinpoint precision.
(Source: Fronius)

Chemical Cleaning: Expensive and Bad for the Environment

Up until now, the automotive industry has relied on chemical cleaning processes. However, the use, storage, and disposal of the required chemicals is not only expensive, but also problematic in terms of their impact on the environment. Such cleaning processes are also subject to strict safety requirements. Moreover, nearly the entire component must be immersed in the chemicals, meaning that ultra-precise cleaning is not possible. Overall, this is a laborious and very expensive process.

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Plasma as a Sustainable and Efficient Alternative

A technology developed by Fronius can help: hot active plasma removes residues quickly and effectively with pinpoint precision. The application areas range from aluminum and steel through to plastic, glass, and ceramic. The Acerios system generates a plasma flame with a temperature of up to 1,000 degrees Celsius, while a robot guides the welding torch over the surface at speeds of roughly 6 meters per minute.

Watch the hot active plasma surface cleaning process in this video:

Depending on requirements, entire surfaces or specific areas can be treated. This significantly increases efficiency, as instead of cleaning as much of the surface as possible, Acerios cleans only those areas that actually need cleaning. This immediately conserves resources, again emphasizing the environmentally friendly aspect of this technology due to the absence of harmful cleaning additives.

Fronius Develops Atmospheric Pressure Plasma

By using plasma in its welding technology, Fronius has extensive expertise in this area. The company has also been researching possible applications for plasma in surface treatment for almost ten years, the key to this eventually being found in the generation of atmospheric pressure plasma. This is a hot, gaseous, and energy-intensive mixture of atoms, molecules, ions, and free electrons.

When the hot active plasma comes into contact with a surface, the gas flow mechanically cleans while the plasma and resulting heat trigger a chemical process. This combination of a chemical and mechanical process reliably removes organic residues and film impurities.

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