Physical vapour deposition specialists, AP Metalising, are looking to raise awareness of vacuum metalising, a finishing process used on plastic mouldings to achieve a high quality metallic finish.
The company have also invested in a brand new machine, the TecnoVacuum Technomet Combi MV 15/18, set to land in the UK in late July.
The new model will sit alongside the existing Technomet MV 15/18 purchased in 2007, taking production capabilities to the next level.
The process of vacuum metalising involves evaporating aluminium inside a vacuum chamber, forming a vapour cloud that bonds to the desired substrate.
The components are fixed to rotating satellites to ensure a uniform finish is achieved, and the plastics that can be coated through the process include – but are not limited to – ABS, HIPS, Polycarbonate, and Polypropylene.
Dependent on the end-use, post metalising a protective topcoat is a possibility; alternatively, a range of colours can also be applied.
With much quicker operating time, the new addition will more than double the throughput at AP Metalising, and eradicate downtime.
From its inception, the machine will be connected, via the internet, to TecnoVacuum’s head office in Milan, Europe’s metalising capital.
This will provide extra support when necessary, meaning any issues can be instantly diagnosed, and any faults encountered over the life time of the machine will be promptly dealt with.
The Combi MV15/18 brings several new features to the table, including performance-enhancing piston valve technology.
The improved functionality, coupled with the increased output, make the machine the most advanced in the AP Metalising manufacturing cell.
The machine will allow AP Metalising to start sputtering, a process that applies a thicker, more durable finished surface.
This will allow them to offer a finish not just in aluminium, but also in a wide variety of other metals including copper, which will add both shielding and conductivity end-use solutions.
This ability to use different metals and achieve a wider spectrum of colours will open many new doors for the company, it says.
The purchase of the machines will provide new job opportunities and will see an expansion in the plant.
Director of AP Metalising, Campbell Wigley, said: “We work with a lot of companies in the lighting and automobile sectors, and we’re looking to double our capacity with an extension in the facility, an improvement in the utilities, a brand new flagship machine, and new staff.
“We want injection moulding companies to understand the potential of outsourcing this part of their production line, and realise the extra finishing capabilities by using a technique like vacuum metalising; it’s a very desirable and extremely cost-effective finish for many plastics manufacturers.”