What is metallised plating?

Vacuum metallising, or PVD (Physical Vapour Deposition), is the process of physically plating a metal material onto a plastic part in a vacuum chamber. Another term that is used is Plating on Plastic (POP).

The evaporation of the metal occurs by metal wire being in contact with a heat source (electrically charged tungsten filament) in a closed chamber under high vacuum. 

The lack of pressure lowers the boiling point of the metal which causes the liquid metal to change to a gaseous phase. The metal vapour encounters the oxygen in the air forming a stable oxide layer on the surface of the components.

This gives the component an environmentally friendly, decorative metallic coating. Metallised plastic components can be recycled and is a great alternative to traditional metal shrouds or over-shelled options which can’t be easily separated for recycling.

What is the difference between thermal vacuum metallisation and electroplating?

Metallising is aluminium plating using specialist equipment and is a different process to electroplating (or water plating) which is generally chrome or nickel done in a relatively simple electrolyte solution.

The benefits

  • Cost-effective
  • Environmentally friendly (It is carried out in a vacuum chamber so that no gases or pollution are discharged, unlike electroplating. Also, the finished products can be recycled as long as component material is recyclable.)
  • Safer than processes such as chromium plating
  • Functional and decorative
  • Brighter than electroplating

You will see many examples of Metallised Plating throughout our Online Trophy Store

We are grateful to Metamor Decoration Ltd of Deeside for the use of this description.

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