Vacuum Deposition of Decorative Stainless Steel

Designers for consumer and commercial products are continuously seeking finishes that provide the most attractive look for their products. There are many options available which are dependent on material, cost, and the desired look. Brushed stainless steel appliances and commercial fixtures have become very popular over the past several years, even as material costs have increased. Direct deposition of a thin film of stainless steel on textured molded plastic, creates a realistic desirable appearance. Unlike traditional stainless steel, designers are able to mold more attractive shapes for a variety of products.

The parts are molded in a textured mold, typically with a brushed look to mimic a #4 architectural finish or a time-saved finish. After the parts are molded, they are transferred to the vacuum chamber, where a thin film of stainless steel is applied. The most sophisticated vacuum metalizing equipment use a process known as sputtering. Unlike conventional vacuum metalizing, sputtering is capable of depositing any metal or alloy, including the entire family of stainless steel alloys. The stainless film is very thin, only about 0.1 microns, which is insufficient to provide scratch resistance and environmental durability. In order to provide scratch resistance, a durable UV-cured top coat is applied over the stainless steel for additional protection. These clear coats are unique in that the paint is not really “dried”, as with conventional paints, but is “cured” through the exposure to high intensity ultraviolet lamps. Curing takes only seconds and allows manufacturers to employ very high speed and compact paint lines.

These products can currently be found on mass produced appliance handles, knobs, and other trim pieces. They can also be found in commercial bathroom fixtures and dispensing equipment.

Please contact Vergason Technology, Inc., to review your applications and provide a decorative metalizing solution. www.vergason.com or 607.589.4429

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