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Clark Mehan
By Clark Mehan | Oct 4, 2018
A guide to die-cut components

The world of design engineering and manufacturing is gradually changing. Cumbersome liquid adhesives are being substituted with pressure-sensitive adhesives. Bulky metal housings are being traded for flexible EMI shielding foils and fabrics. Very high bond (VHB) tapes are taking the place of classic O-rings. By replacing and improving these traditional practices, die-cut components are prompting us to address design challenges in a more effective and efficient manner.

If die-cut components spark your curiosity, we have the perfect thing for you. We have created a free guide that sheds light on some of the most widely employed die-cuts solutions. It walks you through the various areas where die-cuts components can enhance the functionality and longevity of your product including thermal management, EMI/RFI shielding, and vibration dampening. It also dives deeper into the unique advantages, characteristics, and properties of die-cut components, and equips you with few design considerations for your next product.

To download the free guide, click here.

Chris Passanante, GMN
By Chris Passanante | Feb 16, 2017
Vacuum metallized plastic part.

In this fourth part of our plastic decorating series, we will take a look at vacuum metallization. Vacuum metallization is a unique decorating technology that bonds a metallic layer to the plastic substrate through a vacuum vapor deposition process. This capability has both functional and decorative uses, such as EMI/RFI shielding or providing a chrome metallic finish.

Vacuum metallization is applied to the back side of a clear plastic part, but it appears to be chrome on the front side (looking through the clear material). This approach has allowed GMN to provide customers with some unique looking parts due to the 3-dimensional floating effect it that can be achieved with the right design inputs.  In some instances, we combine printing techniques and debossed lettering or images on the backside of the part and then vacuum metallize it for an additional effect.

At GMN, our team of plastic experts can include translucent backlighting on vacuum metallized parts to achieve a dead-front effect. This means that graphics or an LCD display will show through the chrome when the part is backlit, but will disappear behind the chrome when the lighting is turned off. 

Some considerations for this capability are that vacuum metallized parts can pick up fingerprints easily and depending on the detail of the part, the process of masking can be labor intensive. Overall, vacuum metallization is a bit more costly than other decorative options, but it achieves a very distinct and unique look that will allow your product to stand out from the competition.

Next, we’ll discuss the dual technologies of painting and laser etching plastic components.

Check out other blogs from this series to learn about more plastic decorative options: