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Metallization ABS

Different plastics can be metalized, of which the most common are the following:
ABS (copolymer of acrylonytryl, butadiene and styrene), POLIAMID

The advantage of using plastics is the possibility of reduction of the weight of products. The density of ABS is 1.04 - 1.07 g/cm3, which means that the products are:

  • 2-3 times lighter than aluminium
  • 5-7 times lighter than steel
  • 7-9 times lighter than copper and brass

An important advantage of the process is an absolute resistance of ABS to corrosion. Even if the galvanic layer is damaged, there are no electrochemical bonds between the surface and the layer.

Characteristics of products made of ABS, once galvanized:

  • Higher decorative and practical advantages
  • Higher mechanical and thermal resistance
  • Higher corrosion resistance than in the case of metal products
  • Lower labour intensity involved in the production process (they are cheaper!)

We have a long experience as regards metallization.

The parts are plated on automatic rack line.

The products are supervised throughout the technological process.

These are multilayered coatings that are created during chemical and electrochemical reactions, such as:

  • Chemical reactions:
    1. etching
    2. neutralization
    3. activation
    4. acceleration
    5. electroless nickel
  • Electrochemical operations:
    1. nickel strike
    2. bright copper plating
    3. bright nickel or nickel plating with satin effect
    4. chromium plating

The process of galvanic metallization is carried out on clean moulds after seasoning.

Requirements towards the products that are to be covered in a galvanic process:

Producing plastic parts several rules must be strictly observed. Here are some of them:

  1. each fault of a mould is emphasized once a galvanic coating is formed (the following faults of the surface must be particularly avoided: scratches, cuts, matt areas, "orange skin", concavities)
  2. large plane and smooth surfaces must be avoided
  3. the radius of the edges should not be smaller than 0,3mm
  4. blind openings must not be deeper than their diameter

Requirements regarding injection moulds::

  1. the forms should be made of high-quality non-porous chrome steel (chroming of the forms is not recommended)
  2. smoothness of the surface of the form: min. class 12
  3. no lubricants are allowed to remove the moulded element
  4. channels in the mould that supply plastic must be at least 50% wider than in the case of other materials

Requirements as regards the parameters of injection:

  1. Good dryness of plastics
  2. Possibly high injection temperatures
  3. Possibly long time of injection
  4. Possibly low pressure of injection
  5. The mould must be thermally stabilised (the temperature of the form should be within the range 60-80°C and must be stable within the range of +- 1°C)
  6. The capacity of the cylinder must be within the range of 70-80% of the capacity of the form
  7. Precisely defined stoppages between cycles
  8. All lubricants are prohibited
  9. Cleanliness during removal of the moulded elements and their cutting
  10. Seasoning of the moulded elements for at least 4 days in room temperature

Plating on ABS , is destined mainly for:

  • Automotive industry (main body of lamps, radiators, logos, handles and other internal and external decorative elements)
  • Sanitary industry (water fittings, bathroom mixer taps, accessories)
  • Audio-video (knobs, frames, buttons)
  • Furniture industry (ferrules, boards, handles, frames)
  • Haberdashery, functional products

(source: Galvanizer’s Guide, WNT)

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