SOURCE: Plasma Etch, Inc.

January 23, 2008 21:31 ET

Medical Device Designers and Manufacturers Consider the Effects of Plasma on the Bonding of Dissimilar Polymers and Metals During MD&M West Demonstration by Plasma Etch, Inc.

Plasma Etch to Identify Applications for Benchtop Plasma Surface-Modification System at Startup, R&D and University Levels at Booth No. 1880

CARSON CITY, NV and ANAHEIM, CA--(Marketwire - January 23, 2008) - Engineers from Plasma Etch, Inc. will discuss the effects of dry, ionized plasma gas on medical manufacturing processes that involve the bonding of dissimilar polymers and metals at MD&M West next Tuesday through Thursday at the Anaheim Convention Center.

The company's team will address how the application of plasma to polymers and metals in a vacuum chamber creates surface-energy modifications and surface abrasions at the atomic level that effectively enable bonding during the production of medical devices such as implantables, stents and replacement-joint fittings.

Engineers from Plasma Etch will demonstrate how a benchtop plasma surface-modification system, the PE-100, increases materials' surface energies to give them the hydrophilic constitution and ionic bonding sites necessary for manufacturers to assemble devices from otherwise incompatible materials to achieve production-ready bonding, adhesion or sealing, said John Wood, a Plasma Etch systems engineer.

The plasma-treatment process, he said, also works to clean surfaces for production by removing organic materials without creating waste that is toxic to workers and a financial burden for users to discard. Wood added that medical devices treated with ionic plasma gas are able to retain critical ink-based markings such as trade names, part numbers and measurement designations.

"Plasma basically helps make the production process for certain medical devices viable," Wood said. "In many cases, without plasma, you're just not going to get the bond strengths you need in the development stage to move forward with production of a reliable product."

Plasma Etch's benchtop PE-100 is designed to help startup manufacturers, R&D departments and universities conduct repeatable surface modifications or experiments. The system allows users to avoid ongoing outsourcing fees or major capital investments and is an economic alternative to noxious wet-chemical treatments and less uniform physical-abrasion methods.

The system's key components and specifications include its 12" x 12" x 12" aluminum vacuum chamber with 240 square inches of processing surface over three 9" x 9" horizontal levels of electrode configuration, a touch-screen interface for the microprocessor control system, a digital mass-flow meter with precision needle valve gas control to manage 0-55 CC/min. and a radio-frequency generator and matching network to manage up to 300 Watts @ 1000 kHz. The system can also be outfitted with a second gas channel.

For more information on Plasma Etch's stand-alone systems, visit http://www.plasmaetch.com/systems.html

The 2008 MD&M West exposition runs from Jan. 29-31 and brings together more than 16,000 medical product-development professionals.

About Plasma Etch, Inc.

Plasma Etch, Inc. is a designer, manufacturer and global distributor of vacuum plasma systems that clean, modify and etch treated surfaces to enable customers' manufacturing processes. The company was founded in 1980 and holds patents for the temperature-control system and electrostatic shielding found in its vacuum chambers. The company serves manufacturers of medical devices, printed circuit boards, chip packages, connectors and wafer-processing equipment. Plasma Etch's clients have included NASA and various industry-leading brands such as Boeing, Honeywell and Lockheed Martin. The company is based in Carson City, Nev. and prides itself on offering personalized technical support worldwide for its complete line of systems. http://www.plasmaetch.com/.

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