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After-Treatment Processes

In the realm of vacuum-formed products, while the initial steps such as plastic sheet extrusion, molding, vacuum forming, and CNC cutting are predominantly automated, it is the manual post-processing that truly elevates the quality of our output. Our skilled workforce meticulously performs a range of manual tasks including edge-scraping/deburring, gluing, assembly, velvet flocking, sanding, Spray Painting, Polishing, laser engraving, and silk-screening.

For basic products, edge scraping is often the final step before undergoing a comprehensive quality check by our QC department, which rigorously assesses attributes like color, thickness, and dimensions. Only after this wetting process do we proceed to packaging. More complex products may require additional post-processing steps and quality evaluations to meet stringent standards.

Take a moment to explore our approach to post-processing; it’s where engineering excellence meets craftsmanship.

Edge-Scraping/Deburring

Deburring, also commonly known as edge-scraping, is a critical post-processing step following CNC cutting, especially in the thick-gauge vacuum forming industry. The process involves the removal of burrs, which are essentially small, uneven ridges formed on the edges of a workpiece during cutting operations. Proper deburring not only improves the part’s aesthetics but also its functional characteristics like fit, performance, and safety.

 

Types of Deburring Techniques

  • Manual Deburring: This is the simplest form, often done with hand tools like scrapers and deburring blades. It is best suited for low-volume projects.
  • Mechanical Deburring: This involves the use of machinery such as deburring tumblers or rotary brushes. Suitable for high-volume production.
  • Thermal Deburring: This technique employs thermal energy to remove burrs. It’s effective but can be costly and is mainly used for metal parts.
  • Electrochemical Deburring: Utilizes electrolytes and electrical current to erode the burrs away. Often used for very intricate or difficult-to-reach areas.

Why is Deburring Crucial?

  • Safety: Burrs can be sharp and pose safety risks to both operators and end-users.
  • Quality: Burrs can interfere with the fit and assembly of multi-component products, affecting the overall product quality.
  • Aesthetics: Burrs can mar the surface, reducing the visual appeal of the final product.
  • Performance: The presence of burrs can create turbulence in fluid flow applications, affecting performance metrics.
ditaiplastic vacuum forming

Effective deburring is integral for achieving high-quality, performance-oriented thick-gauge vacuum-formed products. It ensures that the pieces meet both functional and aesthetic requirements while also guaranteeing safety during assembly and usage. Given its importance, companies must choose the appropriate deburring technique aligned with their specific product needs and production scale.

For more details on deburring solutions best suited for your CNC cut, vacuum-formed products, we are available for consultation.

Gluing Vacuum Formed Parts

In the realm of vacuum forming, particularly with thick-gauge materials, the assembly of multiple parts often necessitates the use of adhesives. Gluing is a crucial step that ensures a strong bond between different components to achieve the desired structural integrity and functionality of the final product.

ditaiplastic vacuum forming

Adhesives Types Used In Vacuum Forming

  • Solvent-Based Adhesives: These adhesives work by temporarily dissolving the plastic on the surface, allowing the pieces to fuse as the solvent evaporates.
  • Epoxy Resins: Known for their strong and durable bonds, epoxies are suitable for a wide range of plastics and other materials.
  • Cyanoacrylates: Often referred to as super glues, these adhesives are used for their rapid setting times and strong bond strength.
  • Polyurethane Adhesives: They provide robust and flexible bonds, making them suitable for parts subject to stress and vibrations.
  • Silicone Adhesives: Ideal for applications requiring flexibility and good resistance to temperature variations.

Gluing Process

  • Surface preparation: Begin with a thorough cleaning to remove any oils, dust, or debris from the surfaces to be bonded.
  • Application: Apply the adhesive as recommended by the manufacturer, which may involve spreading it evenly or applying it to one surface only.
  • Joining: Carefully align and press the parts together. Use clamps or fixtures if necessary to hold the parts in position while the adhesive sets.
  • Curing: Allow the adhesive to cure fully before handing the parts. Curing times can vary from a few minutes to several hours.

Quality Control

  • Bond Testing: Conduct tests to ensure the bond meets the required strength specifications.
  • Visual Inspection: Check for any signs of adhesive failures, such as cracks or peeling at the edges of the bond.

Factors to Consider Before Gluing

  • Material Compatibility: Ensure that the adhesive is compatible with the type of plastic used in the vacuum forming process.
  • Surface Preparation: Clean and, if necessary, slightly roughen the surfaces to be glued to ensure better adhesion.
  • Curing Time: Different adhesives have different curing times that can affect assembly speed and production throughput.
  • Strength Requirements: Consider the mechanical loads that the joined parts will have to withstand in their end-use environment.
  • Temperature and Chemical Resistance: The adhesive should maintain its integrity under the operating temperatures and resist any chemicals it may be exposed to.

Gluing is a detailed and precise aspect of the post-vacuum forming process that demands attention to the compatibility of materials, adhesive selection, and curing times to ensure high-quality final products. Proper gluing not only enhances the structural integrity of the parts but also contributes to the aesthetic quality and longevity of the product.

Assembly Vacuum Formed Parts

After the creation of individual thick-gauge vacuum-formed components, the assembly process is what brings these parts together to form a complete, functional unit. This stage is vital in ensuring that the finished product meets all design requirements and is ready for real-world application.

Assembly Techniques for Vacuum Formed Parts

  • Gluing or Bonding: As discussed earlier, adhesives can be used to join vacuum-formed parts together. The choice of adhesive depends on the material and the application.
  • Ultrasonic Welding: For certain plastics, ultrasonic welding is a quick and efficient method for joining components, creating a bond through high-frequency acoustic vibrations.
  • Solvent Welding: This method involves applying a solvent that slightly melts the plastic surfaces, allowing them to bond together as the solvent evaporates.
  • Snap Fits: Designed as part of the vacuum-forming mold, snap fits allow parts to be snapped together mechanically without the use of adhesive.
  • Screws and Fasteners: In some cases, screws or other mechanical fasteners are the preferred method for assembling vacuum-formed parts due to their ease of disassembly and stronghold.
  • Heat Staking: This involves the deformation of a protruding plastic stud to hold another component in place, often used with bosses designed into the molded part.
  • Welding Techniques: 1. Hot Air Welding: Utilizes a stream of hot air to melt the joining edges of the plastic parts. A welding rod, often of the same material as the parts being joined, is also melted to fill and bond the joint. 2. Extrusion Welding: Similar to hot air welding but employs a heated barrel to melt a plastic welding rod, which is then extruded into the joint to bond the parts. 3. Spin Welding: Best for circular parts, where one part is spun against another to create frictional heat, melting and joining the pieces together. 4. Laser Welding: Uses a laser to precisely deliver energy to the joint area, melting the plastic in a controlled manner for a clean bond.
ditaiplastic vacuum forming

Pre-Assembly Considerations

  • Design for Assembly: The vacuum-formed parts should be designed with assembly in mind to reduce the complexity and cost of the assembly process.
  • Tolerances: The parts must be formed to precise tolerances to ensure they fit together correctly without excessive force or gaps.
  • Surface Preparation: Surfaces that will be glued or welded must be clean and free of contaminants to ensure a strong bond.

Assembly Process

  • Alignment: Accurately align the parts to be assembled. For large or complex assemblies, jigs or fixtures may be necessary.
  • Joining: Apply the chosen method of joining – whether it’s gluing, welding, or mechanical fastening.
  • Curing or Cooling: Allow sufficient time for adhesives to cure or welded joints to cool, as premature handing can weaken the bond.
  • Quality Check: Perform a thorough inspection of the assembled product to ensure it meets all specifications.

Post-Assembly Quality Control

  • Strength Testing: Conduct tests to assess the strength of the bonded or fastened joints.
  • Fit and Function Test: Verify that the assembly fits together correctly and functions as intended.
  • Visual Inspection: Check the assembled product for any aesthetic defects or misalignments.

Assembly of vacuum-formed parts is a critical process that can affect the overall integrity and functionality of the finished product. A well-executed assembly process that adheres to rigorous quality standards can significantly enhance the product’s value. It’s essential to select the most appropriate assembly techniques based on the material characteristics, product design, and end-use requirements. For personalized advice on assembling vacuum-formed parts or to discuss your specific project requirements, please contact our team of experts.

Velvet Flocking in Vacuum Formed Parts

Velvet flocking is a process that adds a textured, velvet-like coating to vacuum-formed parts, offering both an aesthetic and tactile enhancement. This finishing technique involves applying short monofilament fibers, typically made of nylon, rayon, or polyester, directly to surface of the formed parts to create a plush, velvety texture.

ditaiplastic vacuum forming

Purpose of Velvet Flocking

  • Aesthetic Appeal: Provides a luxury appearance and a distinctive upscale look.
  • Tactile Comfort: Offers a soft touch which is particularly desired in consumer products.
  • Surface Protection: Flocking can also help in reducing friction and protecting delicate items that come in contact with the plastic.
  • Sound Dampening: The velvet texture can absorb sound, which is beneficial for reducing noise in certain applications.

The Flocking Process

  1. Surface Preparation: The plastic part is cleaned to remove any oils or contaminants. A base layer of adhesive is then applied to the areas to be flocked.
  2. Adhesive Application: A specially formulated adhesive that matches the type of flocking fibers is evenly applied to the surface of the vacuum-formed part.
  3. Fiber Application: Flocking fibers are applied onto the adhesive-coated surface using electrostatic flocking equipment, which charges the fibers and causes them to stand up and adhere to the surface.
  4. Drying/Curing: The adhesive is allowed to dry, securing the fibers in place. This may involve a curing period under controlled conditions.
  5. Excess Fiber Removal: After the adhesive has set, excess fibers are removed, typically by a combination of vacuuming and brushing.

Equipment and Materials

  • Flocking Machine: Equipment designed to impart an electrostatic charge to the flocking fibers and ensure an even application.
  • Adhensive: Specialized adhesive that will bond the flocking fibers to the vacuum-formed plastic.
  • Flocking Fibers: Synthetic fibers available in various lengths, colors, and deniers(thicknesses), chosen based on the desired texture and appearance.
  • Cleaning Supplies: Solvents or cleaners used to prepare the surface before flocking.

Consideration for Velvet Flocking

  • Material Compatibility: The vacuum-formed material must be compatible with the adhesive and able to withstand the flocking process without deforming.
  • Design Complexity: The complexity of the part design can influence the flocking process, with intricate details requiring more precise flocking techniques.
  • End-Use Environment: Consideration must be given to the conditions the flocked part will be exposed to, such as humidity, temperature, and mechanical wear.

Quality Control and Testing

  • Adhesion Testing: Ensures the flocking fibers remain securely attached to the substrate under expected use conditions.
  • Durability Testing: Tests how well the flocked surface stands up to wear, abrasion, and cleaning.
  • Color Fastness: Assesses whether the fibers maintain their color when exposed to light and environmental factors.

Velvet flocking is a specialized finishing process that can significantly enhance the value of vacuum-formed parts through its luxurious feel and appearance. It requires careful consideration of the materials, adhesive selection, and application techniques to ensure a high-quality finish. The process not only elevates the sensory appeal of plastic components but can also contribute to their functionality by providing surface protection and noise reduction.

Sanding in Vacuum Formed Parts

Sanding is an integral part of the post-processing for vacuum-formed parts, especially when preparing for a high-quality paint finish. This step is essential for achieving a smooth base, which is critical for the final appearance and adherence of the paint. It typically occurs after assembly when a seamless finish is required across the entire assembled piece.

The Purpose of Sanding

  • Surface Smoothing: Eliminates any bumps, ridges, or imperfections resulting from the forming or assembly processes.
  • Adhesion Enhancement: Creates a textured surface that improves the adherence of paint or other coatings.
  • Aesthetic Improvement: Ensures a uniform look across all assembled components, essential for consumer-facing products.

Sanding Equipment and Abrasives

  • Hand Sanding Tools: Blocks or sheets of sandpaper used for manual sanding, especially for fine detail work or delicate areas.
  • Orbital Sanders: Power tools that use a circular or orbital motion to sand down larger areas evenly.
  • Belt Sanders: Effective for quickly removing material and smoothing out larger surface areas.
  • Grain Grades of Sandpaper: Ranging from coarse ( low grit numbers ) to very fine ( high grit numbers ), selected based on the material and the desired smoothness.

Sanding Process Steps

  • Initial Assessment: Examine the assembled parts for any surface irregularities or protrusions that need to be addressed.
  • Coarse Sanding: Start with a lower grit sandpaper to remove larger imperfections and level the seams or joints.
  • Intermediate Sanding: Transition to medium grit sandpaper to refine the surface further and begin smoothing out the scratches from the coarse sanding stage,
  • Fine Sanding: Finish with a high grit sandpaper to achieve a smooth finish, ensuring the surface is ready to accept paint.
  • Dust Removal: After each sanding pass, remove all dust and debris from the surface with a tack cloth or air blower to prevent contamination of subsequent sanding stages or painting.
ditaiplastic vacuum forming

Best Practices

  • Even Pressure: Apply consistent pressure during sanding to avoid gouges or uneven surfaces.
  • Directional Sanding: Sand in the direction of the grain ( for textured plastics ) or in a consistent pattern to minimize visible scratches.
  • Gradual Progression: Move through progressively finer grits to eliminate scratches from previous stages, ensuring a polished surface before painting.

Health and Safety Considerations

  • Dust Extraction Systems: Use during sanding to minimize airborne particles.
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Wear appropriate safety gear such as dust masks, safety glasses, and gloves.

Quality Control

  • Visual Inspection: Check for a uniform matte surface free of gloss, indicating a properly sanded part.
  • Tactile Inspection: Feel for any remaining imperfections that may show through the paint.

Sanding is a crucial preparation step in the vacuum forming process, particularly when a high-quality painted finish is required. It necessitates a methodical approach to ensure that the surface is flawlessly smooth and ready for the application of primers or paint. When performed correctly, sanding enhances the final product’s quality, durability, and visual appeal.

Painting Vacuum Formed Parts

Painting is a critical step in the post-processing of vacuum-formed parts, especially when specific colors, finishes, or additional surface properties are required. It involves the application of paint or coating to the surface of the plastic part to enhance its appearance, durability, and sometimes its functionality. In early 2018, DitaiPlastic significantly expanded its capabilities with the addition of a specialized painting department. This new division is equipped with three state-of-the-art product workshops, dedicated to providing professional silk screening and painting services. This expansion is particularly beneficial for customers who have high requirements for product surface quality. By integrating these processes in-house, DitaiPlastic ensures superior control over the quality of both painting and silk-screening.

ditaiplastic vacuum forming

Painting Process Overview

  • Surface Preparation: The part is thoroughly cleaned to remove any oils, dust, or debris. Surface abrasion might be necessary to ensure better paint adhesion.
  • Primer Application: A primer is often applied to the plastic surface to improve paint adhesion and to provide a uniform base.
  • Paint Selection: The type of paint is chosen based on the plastic material, desired finish, and the part’s intended use.
  • Paint Application: Paint is applied using spraying techniques for an even coat. This may involve several layers, with sanding in between for a smooth finish.
  • Curing and Drying: The paint is allowed to dry and cure. The time required can vary based on the type of paint and curing method used ( air drying, baking, UV curing, etc. ).
  • Quality Inspection: The final part is inspected for any defects in the paint, such as drips, sags, or inconsistent coverage.

The Significance of Painting in Surface Treatment

Painting is a frequently utilized process at DitaiPlastic for enhancing the surface of plastic products, and it’s particularly beneficial in several scenarios:

  1. Color Requirements for Small Batches: When a small number of products are needed but with specific color requirements, painting offers a viable solution. Notably, DitaiPlastic uses PU paint, akin to the type used on car surfaces, which provides excellent scratch resistance and minimized color fading.
  2. Masking Imperfections: The vacuum forming process can sometimes result in shrink marks, especially in products with high vertical dimensions. Painting, coupled with prior polishing of these makes, effectively masks such imperfections, enhancing the product’s aesthetic appeal.
  3. Uniformity Post-Assembly: When vacuum-formed products require sanding and assembly, painting ensures a consistent appearance across all parts, significantly elevating the product’s overall beauty.

Painting For Material Mimicry and Special Effects

DitaiPlastic’s painting process isn’t just about adding color; it’s about transforming perceptions:

  • Material Imitation: Advanced painting techniques can make plastic mimic other materials. For instance, matte paint can give plastic a plaster or ceramic-like appearance. This versatility allows products to retain the practical characteristics of plastic while embodying the aesthetics of materials like silk, metal, and more.
  • Gradient Effects: A standout feature of DitaiPlastic’s painting capability is the ability to create gradient effects. The technique can make products appear more realistic and closely match their intended design, offering an enhanced level of realism and aesthetic appeal.

DitaiPlastic’s factory’s advanced painting and silk-screening marks a significant enhancement in its ability to meet diverse customer needs. The integration of these services not only ensures quality control but also opens up new possibilities in product design and finishing. Whether it’s achieving specific colors, mimicking different materials, or creating lifelike gradient effects, DitaiPlastic’s painting department stands ready to bring these visions to reality, adding substantial value to its range of vacuum-formed products. For detailed consultation or to discuss specific requirements for your products, please feel free to reach out to our team.

Polishing/Buffing in Vacuum Formed Parts

Polishing and buffing are vital finishing techniques used in the post-processing of vacuum-formed parts, especially for those requiring a high-quality aesthetic finish or smoother surface for functional purposes. These processes involve the use of abrasives and buffers to smooth out the surface, enhancing both the appearance and tactile quality of the plastic.

Overview of Polishing and Buffing Processes: 

  • Polishing: This process uses progressively finer abrasives to remove minor surface imperfections and scratches, resulting in a smoother and sometimes glossier surface.
  • Buffing: Typically follows polishing; buffing uses softer abrasives within a wheel or pad to achieve a high shine or mirror-like finish.

Equipment and Materials

  • Polishing Compounds: Various compounds are used depending on the type of plastic and the desired finish.
  • Buffing Wheel: Made from cotton, wool, or synthetic materials, these wheels attach to rotary tools or buffing machines.
  • Sanders: Power sanders with fine-grit sandpaper can be used for initial smoothing before polishing.
  • Handheld Rotary Tools: Used for precision work on smaller or more intricate parts.
  • Protective Gear: Safety glasses and masks to protect from plastic dust and debris.

Pre-Polishing Preparation

  • Cleaning: The surface of the vacuum-formed part must be clean and free of any contaminants or residues.
  • Sanding: Begin with coarse sandpaper to remove significant imperfections, working up to finer grits for a smoother surface.

Post-Polishing Quality Control

  • Visual Inspection: Check for a consistent finishi across the entire surface of the part.
  • Touch Inspection: Feel the part for any remaining imperfections that may require additional polishing.
  • Function Test: If the part requires a smooth surface for functional reasons, perform relevant tests to ensure performance is not compromised.
ditaiplastic vacuum forming

Polishing Process

  • Applying Compound: Apply the polishing compound to the part or directly onto the buffing wheel.
  • Technique: Use a steady motion, moving the buffer in the direction that best complements the shape of the part.
  • Pressure: Apply consistent, moderate pressure to the part to avoid overheating or melting the plastic.
  • Progression: Move from coarser to finer polishing compounds, thoroughly cleaning the part between stages to remove any residual abrasives.

Buffing Process

  • Buffing Wheel Selection: Choose a wheel with the appropriate softness for your application.
  • Buffing Compound: Use a less abrasive, finer compound designed for the buffing stage.
  • Technique: Buff the surface with even strokes to producea uniform finish.
  • Final Touches: Use a clean, soft cloth to remove any remaining compound residue, revealing a high-gloss finish.

The polishing and buffing processes for vacuum-formed parts are as much an art as they are a science, requiring skilled hands and an eye for detail. When executed properly, they can significantly elevate the perceived quality of the final product, enhancing both its functional attributes and market appeal.

Laser Engraving on Vacuum Formed Parts

Laser engraving on vacuum-formed parts is a precise method to etch or mark surfaces without contact, using a laser to vaporize the material in a controlled manner. This process is often used for adding serial numbers, logos, decorative patterns, and other functional markings that need to withstand the test of time and use.

Benefits of Laser Engraving

  • Precision: Lasers can create highly detailed and precise markings, suitable for both large and small parts.
  • Durability: The markings are permanent and resistant to wear, chemicals, and extreme temperatures.
  • Versatility: Laser engraving can be performed on a variety of plastic materials and can produce both vector and raster images.
  • No Consumables: Unlike ink printing, there are no additional consumables needed, which can reduce long-term costs.

The Laser Engraving Porcess

  1. Design Preparation: The desired artwork or text is designed using compatible software and formatted to match the engraving area on the part.
  2. Surface Preparation: The part’s surface should be clean and free of contaminants to ensure a clear, precise engraving.
  3. Machine Setup: The laser engraving machine is configured with the correct settings for the material, including power, speed, and focus.
  4. Test Engraving: A test tun is often performed on a sample piece or inconspicuous area to ensure the settings produce the desired outcome.
  5. Engraving Execution: The vacuum-formed part is placed in the laser engraver, and the design is etched onto its surface.
  6. Post-Engraving Cleaning: After engraving, the part may be cleaned to remove any residue or particles resulting from the engraving process.

Considerations for Laser Engraving

  • Material Selection: Not all plastics are suitable for laser engraving. Some may not engrave cleanly, while others can produce toxic fumes when vaporized.
  • Thickness of the Material: The thickness and overall geometry of the vacuum-formed part can affect the engraving process, as changes in material thickness can affect the focus of the laser.
  • Color Contrast: The natural color of the plastic and the color change due to the engraving must provide sufficient contrast for the marking to be readable.
  • Safety: Proper ventilation is needed to extract any fumes, and operators should use protective eyewear to guard against laser exposure.

Equipment Used

  • Laser Engraving Machine: A device that uses a laser to engrave materials, equipped with software for design input and machine control.
  • Extraction System: Removes fumes and particles from the engraving area to maintain a clean work environment and protect the machine’s optics.

Quality Control

  • Visual Inspection: Ensures that the engraving meets the specified depth, clarity, and detail requirements.
  • Functional Testing: If the engraving has a functional purpose ( e.g., machine-readable codes ), tests are conducted to ensure readability.

Laser engraving is a highly effective and versatile technique for adding permanent markings to vacuum-formed parts. With its precision and permanence, it offers a significant advantage for manufacturers who require consistent branding and part identification on their products. However, success with laser engraving requires an understanding of the material properties, correct machine setup, and adherence to safety protocols.

Silk-Screening on Vacuum Formed Parts

Silk-screening, also known as screen printing, is a popular method for applying graphics, texts, and images onto vacuum-formed parts. It involves forcing ink through a mesh screen to create a sharp-edged image with a squeegee. This method is especially suitable for producing vivid, durable designs on three-dimensional objects and uneven surfaces.

Advantages of Silk-Screening

  • Versatility: Can be used on a range of materials, including ABS, Polystyrene, PVC, and more.
  • Durability: Produces long-lasting images that are able to withstand handling, environmental exposure, and mechanical stress.
  • Aesthetics: Offers a high-quality finish with vibrant colors and can include multiple layers for complex graphics.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: Ideal for medium to high-volume production runs due to the low cost per part once the initial setup is complete.

Silk-Screening Process Overview

  1. Artwork Preparation: The desired design is created and transferred to a transparent overlay, which is then used to prepare the screen.
  2. Screen Preparation: A photosensitive coating is applied to a mesh screen, and the artwork is placed on the top. The screen is exposed to light, hardening the areas not covered by the design.
  3. Ink Selection: Ink is chosen based on the type of material being printed on, desired finish, and durability requirements.
  4. Printing: The prepared screen is placed over the vacuum-formed part, and ink is applied to the screen. A squeegee is used to press the ink through the mesh onto the part.
  5. Curing: The ink is cured, which can involve air drying, heat setting, or VU curing, depending on the type of ink used.
  6. Quality Inspection: The printed part is inspected for clarity, color accuracy, and adhesion.

Pre-Printing Considerations

  • Surface Preparation: The part must be clean and free of any oils or dust that could affect ink adhesion.
  • Design Adaptation: The graphic may need to be adjusted for distortion on three-dimensional surfaces to ensure the printed image appears correct.
  • Ink Compatibility: The ink must adhere well to the plastic and withstand any flexing or stress the part may encounter.

Equipment Required

  • Silk-Screen Frame: A frame with a tightly stretched mesh screen.
  • Squeegee: A rubber-bladed tool used to push the ink through the mesh.
  • Printing Inks: Specialized inks formulated for use on plastic substrates.
  • Curing System: Depending on the ink, a heat tunnel, UV light, or a simple air-dry system may be required.

Quality Control

  • Adhesion Testing: Ensures the print will not peel, crack, or wear away under intended use.
  • Color Consistency: Check that the colors match the original design and are consistent across all parts.
  • Detail Inspection: Verifies that all fine details have been accurately captured and are clear.

Silk screening is an excellent choice for adding detailed, high-quality images to vacuum-formed parts. It provides manufacturers with a reliable method to apply branding, instructions, or decorative elements directly to the surface of plastic components. When implemented with precision, screen printing can significantly enhance the visual appeal and value of the finished product. For more information on incorporating silk-screeing into your vacuum-formed parts production or for assistance with your specific printing needs, do not hesitate to contact our specialists.

Plating on Vacuum Formed Parts

Plating on vacuum-formed parts is a sophisticated process used to coat plastic components with a thin layer of metal. This technique is often sought after for its ability to enhance both the aesthetic appeal and functional properties of plastic parts, such as improving wear resistance, electrical conductivity, and shielding against electromagnetic interference.

Types of Plating Techniques

  1. Electroplating: Involves the deposition of metal onto the plastic part using an electric current. The part is first made conductive through a series of chemical treatments, followed by the actual metal deposition.
  2. Vacuum Metalizing: A process where metal is evaporated in a vacuum chamber and then condenses onto the surface of the plastic part, forming a thin metallic layer.
  3. Chemical Plating ( Electroless Plating ): Involves a chemical reaction that deposits a layer of metal on the part without the use of an electrical current.

Advantages of Plating on Vacuum Formed Parts

  • Enhanced Durability: Metal plating can significantly increase the wear resistance of the part.
  • Improved Aesthetics: Provides a high-end, metallic finish that can be both visually appealing and tactilely pleasing.
  • Functional Enhancement: Metal coatings can add properties like electrical conductivity or EMI/RFI shielding.

Process Overview

  1. Surface Preparation: The vacuum-formed part is thoroughly cleaned and treated to ensure that the plating adheres properly.
  2. Conductivity Treatment: For non-conductive plastics, a special process is used to make the surface conductive, This typically involves applying a fine layer of conductive material.
  3. Plating: The part is then subjected to the chosen plating technique, where metal is deposited onto its surface.
  4. Finishing: After plating, the part may undergo additional finishing processes, such as polishing or sealing, to enhance its appearance or performance.
ditaiplastic vacuum forming

Considerations for Plating

  • Material Compatibility: Not all plastics are suitable for plating. The choice of plastic must take into account its ability to withstand the plating process without degrading.
  • Design Complexity: The shape and complexity of the part can affect the uniformity of the metal coating.
  • Plating Thickness: The required thickness of the metal layer depends on the desired properties and end-use of the part.
  • Environmental Factors: The part’s intended use environment should be considered, as some plating materials can be sensitive to certain conditions.

Quality Control in Plating

  • Thickness Measurement: Ensuring the metal layer is of the correct thickness.
  • Adhesion Testing: Checking that the metal layer adheres properly to the plastic substrate.
  • Visual Inspection: Assessing the overall appearance for consistency and detecting any defects.

Plating on vacuum-formed parts is a valuable process for those looking to combine the lightweight and versatile properties of plastics with the desirable characteristics of metals. This hybrid approach is particularly advantageous in applications where aesthetics, durability, and functional enhancements are key considerations.

For more information on incorporating plating into your vacuum-formed products or for assistance with your specific requirements, please reach out to our team of experts.

Quality Control (QC) Introduction for DitaiPlastic

Overview of QC in Vacuum Forming Process

At Ditaiplastic, our commitment to quality is paramount in every stage of our vacuum forming process. Our dedicated Quality Control (QC) department plays a pivotal role in ensuring the highest standards of product quality and consistency. Here’s an overview of our QC procedures across the five main steps of our vacuum forming plastic products manufacturing process (click to check detailed quality control):

  1. Extrusion of Plastic Sheets: The QC team conducts rigorous checks on the raw materials for uniformity, density, and composition. During the extrusion process, continuous monitoring of temperature and pressure ensures consistent sheet quality. Post-extrusion, sheets are inspected for thickness, color consistency, and any surface imperfections.
  2. Mold Making: Precision in mold making is crucial for the final product quality. Our QC department employs advanced measuring tools to verify mold dimensions and surface quality. We also conduct tests to ensure the mold’s durability and its ability to withstand high-temperature variations during the forming process.
  3. Vacuum Forming: During vacuum forming, QC checks involve monitoring temperature control, timing, and vacuum pressure to ensure perfect molding. Post-formation, each piece undergoes inspection for structural integrity, surface finish, and adherence to specified dimensions.
  4. CNC Cutting: Post-forming, CNC cutting shapes the product to its final dimensions. Our QC processes here include precision checks using digital measuring instruments to ensure that each cut is accurate to the specified measurements. We also check for smooth edges and defect-free surfaces,
  5. Post-Processing: In the final stage, our QC team examines the finished products for any visual or structural defects. This includes checks for uniformity in painting, engraving, and any additional treatments. We also conduct random sample testing to assess the product’s performance under simulated usage conditions.

 

Additional QC protocols

  • Continuous Training: Our QC personnel are continuously trained in the latest quality assurance techniques and tools, ensuring they are equipped to identify and rectify any quality issues.
  • Digital Record-Keeping and EPR Integration: We maintain a comprehensive digital record of all QC activities. This integration with our Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system allows for real-time tracking and analysis of quality metrics.
  • Client-Specific QC Protocols: For B2B clients with specific quality requirements, such as Louis Vuitton and Hennessy, we customize our QC protocols to meet their unique standards.
  • Certifications and Compliance: Our QC processes are aligned with international quality standards, ensuring compliance with industry regulations and client expectations.

At DitaiPlastic, quality is not just a process; it’s a promise. Our QC department is integral to fulfilling this promise, ensuring that every product we manufacture meets the highest standards of excellence. With our rigorous QC protocols, we continue to build trust and satisfaction among our esteemed B2B clients.

Some Images Of Packaging

DiaiPlastic Vacuum Forming- packaging
Ditaiplastic Vacuum Forming- packaging
ditaiplastic vacuum forming
ditaiplastic.com
ditaiplastic vacuum forming

Some Images About Painting and Silk Screening

ditaiplastic.com
ditaiplastic vacuum forming
ditaiplastic.com
ditaiplastic.com

Gluing And Assembly

ditaiplastic.com
ditaiplastic.com
ditaiplastic.com
ditaiplastic.com

In recent years, most of the shells of some high-tech products are made by vacuum forming processes, like robot shells, drone shells, some medical technology products shells, and so on. Assembly includes lots of steps, such as gluing, inserting screws, fixtures, screwdriving, deburring, and assembly.  Ditai owning gluing and assembly departments are fully capable of doing all the production in one factory. 

insert screw
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fixture
screwdriving
ditaiplastic.com
gluing
assembly
Here are some images to show some of the whole products we have done.
ditaiplastic.com
ditaiplastic.com
ditaiplastic.com
ditaiplastic.com
ditaiplastic vacuum forming
In addition to these supporting facilities, we are also equipped with some auxiliary machines, such as plate heating machines, and some basic bending products can be used to produce; such as acrylic laser cutting machine, we can directly do the processing of acrylic; and a variety of testing machines, can be professional in testing thickness, color, and test flame retardancy. We have a complete set of machine systems.

DitaiPlastic Since 1997!

We are one of the largest vacuum forming manufacturers in China!

Mail: amy@ditaiplastic.com

WhatsApp: +86 13825780422

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