Metallisation of synthetic films

25.07.2019 - The metallisation of synthetic films is common practices for functional but often simply for aesthetic reasons in several industries. Functional surface metallisation is used for mirrors, door handles, under flooring applications or the shielding of electronic components. Especially with electronic components metallisation is frequently used to manage electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) of components, so that proper functioning is ensured.

Combination of properties

The reason for metallisation in the industrial sector is obvious: Synthetic material with its low weight offers certain flexibility in design and can be produced cheaply. Through metallisation specific properties of synthetics or films are complemented by the properties of the metal such as a high reflection, abrasion resistance and electrical conductivity. Additionally, the metallic coating usually provides a very decorative surface texture.

The coating itself may be done by one of the following four processes: Vacuum metallisation, indirect metallisation, plating and varnishing. We would like to briefly explain said processes.

Different processes of metallisation

Vacuum metallisation:
Vacuum metallisation is the physical application of vaporised material on a substrate. Here the metal layer is applied by physical evaporation or by so-called „sputtering“ (cathodic sputtering). The standard vacuum metallisation of aluminium and PE-CVD is technically called “physical vapour deposition”, the sputtering “plasma enhanced chemical vapour deposition”.

Indirect metallisation: In this process a layer of metal is indirectly applied by use of a pre-metallised material. The metallisation of the substrate is mostly done by vacuum metallisation. The substrate is then applied to a suitable surface by either hot foil stamping, an inserted layer or directly in the mould.

Plating: Before a film can be plated, such film has to be pre-treated chemically. After the treatment metal layers are either applied electrostatically or chargeless. Adhesion takes place chemically and mechanically. By utilising suitable chemicals metal is then deposited on the synthetic material in an ongoing process.

Varnishing: By mixing metal particles with varnish coatings with metal-like properties are produced.

Polifibra Folien GmbH, as a film specialist, headquartered in Limburg at the Lahn, Germany, offers films produced by means of the metallization and/or coating processes as described above, for various industrial applications and is able to flexibly respond to specific customer inquiries and special requests. For more information and advice on the topic of metallization of synthetic films please contact our experts.


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