Understanding the Process of Metallization

Summary: Metallization continues to be a often-used method for coating.

To produce a metallic coating over a plastic object, a process known as metallization must be performed. This process can be used to improve both mechanical and aesthetics. There are several methods of achieving this which include: vacuum metallization, flame spraying, and plating. These can be considered as the more common and preferred methods of choice.

Aesthetic Purposes

To increase the amount of gloss and reflectivity, the process of metallization is often done. Other physical properties such as the characteristics of plastic and the resistance of abrasion are created through metallization.

Mechanical Purposes

The metalized plastic components are low in weight and have a high resistance to corrosion. This may not be the case for every individual piece. In addition however, through these metalized plastic components that are produced, the electrical conductivity can be controlled which presents a beneficial mechanical effect. It also doesn’t hurt that it isn’t expensive for companies to manufacture as well.

The Process

For this example, the method of vacuum metallization will be explained. Prior to the start of the process, the plastic is thoroughly washed and coated with a base to ensure uniformity. Then, a metal is evaporated within the vacuum chamber and is then placed on the substrate’s surface, which leaves a layer of thin metal coating. To prevent any oxidation from occurring, you’ll only see the process occur within the vacuum chamber, which is similar to the many sputtering systems that apply thin films, but via ion beams and such. This type of metallization is used for a variety of applications such as automotive parts and different types of foils.


Bio: Denton Vacuum, LLC has over 50 years of experience providing engineering breakthroughs with products like: magnetron sputtering systems, e-beam evaporation systems, and more.

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