Enhancing aesthetics and protecting polycarbonate parts
Plating, painting & printing: A world of possibilities
Whether you need to protect parts from chemicals or UV rays, shield electronic devices from EMI radiation, or add graphics, plating , painting and printing make it possible. With these techniques, manufacturers can enhance aesthetics and provide uniform color and texture to products made from different materials or by different processes.
- Plating - In the plating process, metallic coatings are applied to polycarbonate parts. Decorative metallic coatings enable thermoplastic parts to function as economical, lightweight alternatives to metals, while functional metallic coatings provide EMI shielding, circuit paths or reflective surfaces. Metallic coatings can be applied by electroplating, electroless plating, vacuum metalizing and sputter coating.
- Painting - Painting can hide molding defects, offer a wider range of colors and surface effects, and protect plastics from chemicals, abrasion or environmental elements. Additionally, some paints perform a function, such as electrically conductive paints for EMI/RFI shielding.
- Printing - is often used to apply designs, characters and markings to thermoplastics parts. There are many varieties of printing methods, including pad printing, screening, sublimation ink transfer, laser printing, and hot stamping. Different processes lend themselves to decorating certain types or shapes of parts. For example, screening is an inexpensive technique used to decorate flat or cylindrical plastic parts. The sublimation ink transfer process relies on deep ink penetration to produce abrasion-resistant printed symbols on durable plastic parts such as computer keys.
Applying decorations during molding, instead of as a secondary, post-mold process, can lower decorating costs. Some in-mold decorating methods can offer options not feasible with conventional painting, such as multicolor graphics and patterns.