Some of Deep Coat's customers do not have the means to effectively clean plastic housings after molding, and therefore require pre-metallizing washing at Deep Coat.
Deep Coat Pre-Metallizing Washing
Mold releases, oils, fingerprints, machining lubricants, or other contaminants can come into contact with plastic housings in a variety of scenarios. Each of these contaminants are detrimental to the Deep Coat Process. Vacuum metallization causes metals to evaporate and, atom by atom, transfer from their source locations to the plastic housings. If there are obstacles to the metal reaching the plastic, such as mold releases or lubricants, the metal will stick to those contaminants and not to the plastic.
Deep Coat is well versed in identifying and addressing such contamination. Deep Coat is capable of cleaning parts if a customer, or their designated molder, is not equipped to avoid contaminants in their workplace. Deep Coat uses hot or cold water baths (depending upon the glass transition temperature of your chosen plastic) and light detergents to clean the surfaces of your parts.
Additionally, Deep Coat provides the washing services at no additional charge if parts are requested to be blasted or tumbled. Those processes result in dust or scale that needs to be removed prior to metallizing, and Deep Coat covers that within our production process.
The main area in which Deep Coat’s washing sequence isn’t well equipped to prevent coating defects is lubricated threaded inserts. Some threaded insert fabricators do an inadequate job of cleaning the machining lubricant off their inserts before shipping those inserts to Deep Coat’s customers. If the lubricant is on the inserts when they’re pressed, or injection molded, into place, there is little a surface wash can accomplish. Typically, in this scenario, the presence of the lubricant is undetectable until the vacuum process begins and draws the lubricant to the surface of the plastic. This results in localized rings of discolored coating, so it is highly recommended that customers work with their threaded insert suppliers to ensure the inserts are washed prior to assembly.