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BUSINESS LIFE : Research solves a sticky problem; New spraying machine helps bond paint and labels.

Byline: COLIN LEWIS Business Editor

RESEARCH led by Warwick Manufact-uring Group (WMG) has solved a sticky problem for plastic car components.

Rebecca Cain, a research fellow with WMG, helped develop a process that allowed large plastic components to be easily fixed to automotive bodies.

The research team hit upon a plasma treatment that was already being used in the USA to apply paints and labels to plastic products.

They devised a method which fixed a plasma spraying tool to a robot arm used to rapidly oxidise the surfaces of plastic car components.Oxygen based "hand holds" are deposited onto the surfaces which greatly increase the performance of the adhesives used to bond the components.

The bonds created by adhesives used on the surfaces treated with this technique have passed all the standard automotive impact tests.

Once treated by the plasma the component stays treated for up to a month allowing significant flexibility in the manufacturing process.

Mrs Cain said the process could be applied to a range of industries and said companies had already approached them to help solve problems.

She added: "It's very, very simple and companies are now coming to us saying 'we've got this bonding problem'."
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Jul 24, 2001
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