Digital Magazine

Navigating Challenges in Corona Treatment

By Alyxandria Klein, Marketing and Sales Director, QC Electronics

In the dynamic world of packaging, corona treatment plays an important role in ensuring the optimal adhesion of inks, coatings and adhesives. However, navigating the nuances of corona treatment poses several challenges for manufacturers and converters alike. Let’s dive in.

Challenge 1: Non-US Manufacturer Parts Availability

Drawing from extensive experience in providing ceramic electrodes for various corona treaters, we’ve encountered numerous challenges faced by customers who opted for foreign manufacturers. Issues such as late-night phone calls to secure parts, extreme lead times on vital parts, foreign transaction fees and payment complexities have been recurring themes.

When investing in a corona treater alongside a press, it’s common to prioritize convenience. It’s crucial to recognize that press manufacturers and corona treater manufacturers differ significantly. Press manufacturers benefit from extensive resources and partnerships, enabling them to provide solutions to US customers efficiently. Unfortunately, non-US corona treater manufacturers often fall short on US after-sale support due to lack of resources and local expertise.

In this case, we recommend considering a dual investment strategy: Purchase the press and select a corona treater from a reputable US manufacturer. US corona treater manufacturers bring decades of experience to the table, making the entire process a seamless, straightforward experience.

Challenge 2: Mitigating Ozone in Compact Corona Treaters

Ozone, a natural byproduct of corona treaters, can accelerate equipment corrosion over time. Despite its impact, manufacturers often neglect the importance of effective ozone management and proper evacuation strategies. This oversight becomes more pronounced as corona treaters become increasingly compact.

As treaters become more compact, the confined space exacerbates the concentration of ozone, intensifying its corrosive effects on internal components. This phenomenon underscores the importance of thoughtful engineering to balance compact designs with effective ozone management for sustained reliability.

Because of the compact trend, the types of materials that are used to manufacture corona treaters become more critical in order to reduce the corrosion effects of ozone and ensure long-term performance.

Challenge 3: Inconsistencies in Air Gap

The air gap is the ionized field of air present in corona treaters between the electrode and ground roll. Maintaining a straight and true air gap is critical to achieving effective, uniform corona discharge. The type of adjustment process and frequency of required adjustments often poses a challenge. Existing systems sometimes complicate the adjustment process and require more adjustments to maintain that air gap. This leads to inaccuracies that impact the corona process's effectiveness.

Addressing this challenge, there are systems designed to simplify the air gap adjustment process… not only simplifying the manual adjustment process but also introducing automatic gap adjustment to ensure foolproof precision.

Challenge 4: Additives

Slip agents are additives incorporated into polymer formulations to reduce the coefficient of friction on the material’s surface. While slip agents offer benefits in material handling, their presence can pose challenges during corona treatment due to their influence on surface energy.

The corona treatment process relies on increasing the surface energy of materials to promote adhesion. However, slip agents create a barrier on the surface, inhibiting the effectiveness of corona treatment. Thus, the formulation of the polymer must be taken into consideration when sizing the corona treatment system for effective treatment.

Challenge 5: Additive Blooming

Additive blooming refers to the migration of additives, often incorporated into polymer formulations, to the surface of a material. These additives can migrate over time, forming a thin layer on the material's surface. The migrated additives create a low-energy layer on the material’s surface, counteracting the intended effect of corona treatment. As a result, the migration can lead to compromised corona treatment.

When faced with the occurrence of additive blooming, conduct a thorough investigation into the migration rate of the additive. This comprehensive analysis allows for a correlation between treatment processes and the observed findings. In such instances, the application of a process known as bump treating becomes viable to mitigate the degradation rate of surface energy caused by migrating additives. This involves a post-manufacture treatment of the film, elevating the surface energy back up to a desirable level.

Challenge 6: High Maintenance Corona Treaters

Many corona treaters necessitate rigorous cleaning schedules to sustain functionality. Manufacturers often attribute breakdowns to perceived lapses in cleaning protocols by customers. However, in a fast-paced industry, expecting flawless adherence to cleaning regimens around the clock can be impractical.

Understanding the unique demands of converters in the packaging industry, means comprehension of the urgency and scale of their operations. The last thing you should encounter is a rescheduled job due to treater downtime. Design principles should align with operational realities to provide a solution that complements the pace of your industry.

Challenge 7: Uninformed Purchases

The role of knowledgeable sales representatives cannot be emphasized enough. A significant challenge faced by manufacturers lies in the occurrence of uninformed purchases, often driven by sales representatives lacking essential knowledge about corona treaters. This predicament leaves end-users dealing with equipment that fails to meet their specific needs, leading to wastage of resources and substantial financial losses.

The devil is in the details, especially when it comes to corona treatment. An overlooked detail, such as multiple widths to be treated in an extrusion process, can lead to the selection of the wrong corona treater. This not only affects the treatment efficiency but can also speed up the degradation of the treater’s components, leading to maintenance headaches and reduced equipment lifespan. Paying attention to these fine details allows manufacturers to provide solutions that stand the test of time. A well-informed purchase is the first step towards long-term success.

Challenge 8: Customization Limitations

The packaging industry demands precision, flexibility, and adaptability. Unlike the one-size-fits-all approach often associated with standardization, a corona treater demands a tailored, application-specific design to truly optimize its performance. The ability to tailor corona treaters ensures that each component of the production line is optimized for its unique role, ultimately contributing to enhanced performance, reduced downtime and increased overall efficiency.

Advanced customization requires a foundation of expertise. Unique strength lies in the depth of customization solutions and expert guidance that set apart manufacturers. Your corona treater is not just a tool, but an engineered solution tailored to your specific needs.

Facing the Challenges

In the multifaceted realm of corona treatment, navigating challenges becomes integral for sustainable operational success. These challenges, from international sourcing complexities to material-specific intricacies, underscore the need for a comprehensive and informed approach. Actively providing solutions — emphasizing reliability, adaptability and meticulous customization — are key pillars for overcoming obstacles in the dynamic landscape of corona treatment within the packaging industry.

About the Author

Born into the world of corona treatment as the daughter of QC Electronic’s CEO, Ken Klein, Alyxandria Klein brings a unique perspective shaped by a lifetime around the industry. “In this industry it is easy to learn something new every day – I have a passion for helping people and I look forward to sharing my insights along the way,” Aly commented. She can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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