Polymer surfaces and additive manufacturing
More than four decades ago a set of technologies was introduced which allowed the relatively fast preparation of prototypes and demonstrators by, e.g., fusing powder particles by a laser. What was called rapid prototyping has evolved to very versatile tools for enthusiasts preparing all kinds of things at home and for parts of the industry, which can produce small series of products efficiently. This step from a special tool for designers and developers to a production instrument for industry brought up new challenges and opportunities. In this special issue of ""Plasma Processes and Polymers"" we want to address subjects where plasma and surface technology can help to advance additive manufacturing technologies to meet the challenges and to explore the opportunities. The first paper titled ""Current surface issues in Additive Manufacturing"" provides a brief introduction of the technologies and the current demands of the additive manufacturing community towards the surface technology community. These are all down‐to‐earth problems, and solutions for them can have an enormous impact. The two following papers address some of these challenges and bring up interesting insights (""Surface technology for additive manufacturing"", ""Enhancing the mechanical performance of 3D printed basalt fibre reinforced composites using in‐line atmospheric plasma pre‐treatment""). Moreover, plasma processes can also contribute to the development of additive manufacturing technologies. The following articles focus on the application of plasma technology in new deposition techniques, which are suitable for additive manufacturing (""Application of a pulsed atmospheric arc plasma jet for low‐density polyethylene coating"", ""HelixJet: An innovative plasma source for next‐generation additive manufacturing""). Finally, the options are investigated for the application of 3D printed parts in plasma equipment (""3D Printing Materials for Generators of Active Particles based on Electrical Discharges""). Imagine a future product produced by hybrid technologies combining classical production technologies with additive manufacturing and comprising various materials joined to exploit the specific properties at the place where they are most useful. Surface technologies will help to produce the optimum adhesion between parts made of different materials and supports AM techniques to make polymer parts with the best bulk properties and the highest surface quality. Still, there is a long way to go to get close to this vision. Eventually, new ideas for advancing on this way will be inspired by the contributions collected in this special issue.