The Process

Initially components are fixed to a jig or satellite. They then undergo an anti static and plasma cleaning procedure in preparation for the next stage. It is important to note that the components should be free from contaminants such as oil, grease or silicon release agent as these are not easily removed and have an adverse effect on the end result.

It is usual to apply a base lacquer, either by spray painting or by flow coating before metallisation, as this helps to improve the gloss levels and surface finish of the component. This lacquer has to be cured before the components undergo the metalising process.

Vacuum Metalising or PVD (physical vapour deposition) then takes place. This involves evaporating a metal (usually aluminium) under vacuum inside a chamber onto the components. During this process the jigs are rotated to help ensure complete coverage of the aluminium.

After metallisation a clear or tinted top lacquer is applied as required. In addition to providing different coloured finishes, the main purpose of the top coat is to protect the metallised finish by giving durability and scratch resistance to the components. Alternatively, a protector or silicone "in chamber top coat" can be applied.