Most plastic components aren't finished until they've been decorated in some way. GMN Plastics offers a comprehensive range of plastic decorating options including pad printing, spray painting, laser etching, screen printing, and hot stamping, under a single roof. All decoration processes are performed in clean, climate-controlled areas to prevent contamination and align with best practices for ink processing, material handling, and testing.
Plastic decorating options
Pad printing, an offset printing technique, is one of the very few processes that can decorate gently curved and textured surfaces. An engraved plate is coated with ink, then squeegeed, leaving wet ink into the groves of the engraved pattern. A silicone pad is pressed onto the plate which rises with the inked image. The inked pad descends onto the component and imprints the artwork. The CNC multi-axis presses at GMN Plastics are capable of printing multiple colors on different axes in a single set-up, resulting in increased efficiency.
Automated spray painting is a fast and accurate method to decorate a one-color part. GMN Plastics’ state-of-the-art automated spray painting, tunnel conveyor, and tunnel oven system make it possible to spray and cure parts in a single operation. First, the molded parts are coated with both translucent and opaque inks. Once the ink is cured, text or graphics are laser etched through the opaque ink and a clear coat is applied to finish the part. Our computerized spray-painting robots in a sealed chamber provide excellent process control to reduce contamination and ensure uniform paint thickness.
Often used in conjunction with spray painting, laser etching is commonly used to remove paint from a painted part to reveal a differing color, provide transparent windows, and/or accommodate backlighting applications. Another primary use of this technology is for permanently etching onto plastic substrates or elastomer keypads that require identification, barcodes, serialization, or intricate decorative work.
Hot stamping is a dry decorative process that transfers color pigment or metallic material from a continuous film carrier sheet onto a component. The process utilizes heat and pressure to transfer an image to the plastic substrate. A silicone rubber die conforms to fit the intended surface profile and allows for excellent resolution and repeatability. Often used in series with pad printing, the process of hot stamping is extremely clean, quick, and free from the manufacturing limitations commonly associated with wet ink printing.
Versatile, cost-effective, and suited for a broad spectrum of applications, screen printing is ideal for high-volume production runs. In this method, the ink is applied to the substrate through a mesh material. Compared to the other decorating options, screen printing requires a shorter set-up time and can easily accommodate larger artwork.
In addition to helping you determine the most optimal printing method to meet your unique needs, GMN Plastics can print on a wide array of materials including:
- Polycarbonate (PC)
- PC/ABS (PC and Styrene blend)
- Many more