Surface Treatments of Three-Dimensional Plastic Bottles

Surface Treatments of Three-Dimensional Plastic Bottles

Whether a bottle is manufactured to hold shampoo, barbecue sauce, alcohol, or a myriad of other contents, most of the time it requires a label or imprint before it reaches the marketplace. But unless that bottle undergoes Surface Treatment, the all-important identifying of the bottle’s contents can’t occur.

In simple terms, Surface Treatment is the preparation of a plastic surface to allow maximum adhesion between the plastic and other materials such as glue, inks, or coatings. Without this step in the production process, imprinted ink will run off, and certain types of labels won’t stick.

Buyers have two options when it comes to procuring Surface Treatment:  work with the bottle manufacturer or rely on the printer/decorator to provide Surface Treatment. 

There are four types of Surface Treatments for polyolefins:  Flame, Gas Plasma, Corona, and Lectro-Treat.

Lectro-Treat is specifically designed to treat the surface of three-dimensional plastic objects and is the process we use at Apex Plastics. It is a safe procedure; yields an even, consistent surface treatment; doesn’t have the disadvantages of flame treating (e.g., shrinkage, warpage); and reaches a higher level of energy than corona devices. The process involves a dielectric “tunnel” of plates that the plastic parts to be treated pass through, during which time they are bombarded by charged particles creating a treated surface.

Once a surface has been treated, it is subjected to a water test to determine if the treatment is considered good. If after the plastic part is dipped into a pail of water, and the water holds a continuous sheet on the plastic part for a few seconds, it is considered a good treatment. A general rule of thumb is that a surface treated to 10 dynes higher than the applied adhesive will generate good adhesion. I

If you’d like more information about Surface Treatment or Lectro-Treat in particular, let us know.

Please note:  At Apex Plastics, our fees for Surface Treatment are typically less than fees charged by printers/decorators since we don’t charge an additional setup fee. However, we are happy to work with a customer’s printer/decorator to coordinate product delivery if the customer prefers that they handle Surface Treatment.