Plasma Ion Processing System
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What is Plasma Ion Processing System?
Plasma (ion) processing is a surface modification technology using ions generated by plasma.
As application examples, it is used for nitride processing and shape improvement of metal working tools.
Principle of Plasma Nitriding
With taking in nitrogen gas inside of the chamber, nitrogen ions are created by generating glow discharge.
Generated nitrogen ions are accelerated and bombarding a nitriding target.
On the top surface of the nitriding object, nitride-based intermetallic compound is generated.
Characteristics of Plasma Nitriding
- We use argon gas which has low environmental impact and nitrogen gas. It provides a better work environment. (Ammonia gas is not necessary.）
- Temperature increases up to processing temperature only by plasma power. It is a simple structure.
- Nitride processing can be done on stainless steel.
- Increase hardness
- Improve wear resistance
- Improve corrosion resistance
Surface Hardness of Each Material
Application of high-speed tool steel
Shown on the left is the sectional view after nitriding process to a high-speed tool steel and hardness changes (right) from the surface.
Several points are measured using a Vickers hardness meter in the depth direction from the surface.
The top surface shows approximately twice the hardness of the substrate and hardness becomes low gradually along the depth direction.
The grade of surface hardness may vary according to target substrates or processing conditions.
Principle of Plasma Treatment
Introduce nitrogen gas into the vacuum chamber and create plus ions by generating arc discharge.
Generated plus ions are accelerated by bias and bombard a target. It is effective for burr removal and shape improvement.
Application of medical needle
- Left picture shows before treatment, minute burrs and micro scratches are observed on the surface.
- Right picture shows after treatment with our system, minute burrs on the surface are removed and the surface becomes smooth.
- The curve illustrated in red dashed lines is the edge shape created by nitriding.
The edge is sharpened and medical liquid injection port becomes wider.
- Above effects greatly contributes to reduction of piercing resistance for a following application example.
Comparison test of needle insertion force on artificial skin (Movie)
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Surface Modification Group, Mechatronics Department, Industrial Machinery Systems Division