Here’s how our Prestige Trophy Cups are electroplated.

Silver is a highly sought-after precious metal, renowned for its aesthetic appeal, conductivity, and corrosion resistance. Electro silver plating is a widely used technique to apply a thin layer of silver onto various metallic objects for both functional and decorative purposes. In this blog post, we will explore the process and technologies behind electro silver plating.

Swatkins Silver Plated Golf Trophy Cup available from TowerTrophies.com

Understanding Electro Silver Plating:

Electro silver plating, also known as electroplating or silver electroplating, is an electrochemical process in which a layer of silver is deposited onto a conductive surface. The electroplating procedure enhances the appearance, durability, and performance of the object being plated.

The Electroplating Setup:

To perform electro silver plating, a typical setup includes an electrochemical cell consisting of a silver-containing electrolyte, two electrodes (the object to be plated and a silver anode), and a direct current (DC) power supply.

Surface Preparation:

The success of electro silver plating largely depends on thorough surface preparation. The object to be plated must be cleaned, degreased, and polished to remove any impurities or oxides that could hinder the adhesion of the silver layer. Techniques such as abrasive cleaning, ultrasonic cleaning, and chemical cleaning are commonly employed to ensure a pristine substrate.

Electrolyte Composition:

The silver-containing electrolyte, known as the plating bath, plays a crucial role in electro silver plating. It is typically composed of a silver salt (such as silver nitrate or silver cyanide), additives for improved adhesion and levelling, and other chemicals to control the plating process parameters. The precise formulation of the electrolyte depends on the desired plating characteristics.

Plating Process:

Once the surface preparation is complete, the object to be plated is immersed into the plating bath as the cathode, with a silver anode serving as the source of silver ions. When an electric current is applied, silver ions are reduced at the cathode, depositing silver atoms onto the object’s surface. The current density and plating time vary based on the desired thickness of the silver layer.

Considerations for Successful Silver Plating:

Several factors must be considered to ensure a high-quality electro silver plating result. These include controlling plating bath temperature, current density, and voltage to optimize the deposition rate and achieve uniformity. Monitoring and adjusting these parameters throughout the process are essential.

Post-Plating Finishing:

After the electro silver plating process is complete, the plated object may undergo additional post-plating treatments. This may involve rinsing, drying, buffing, or polishing to enhance the final appearance, smoothness, and shine of the silver layer.

Applications of Electro Silver Plating:

Electro silver plating finds extensive applications in various industries. Decorative silver plating is commonly used in jewellery, cutlery, and luxury goods but in our case it is used extensively in the production of our Prestige Trophy Cups. Additionally, silver plating is employed in electrical and electronics industries to enhance the conductivity and corrosion resistance of components like connectors, switches, and printed circuit boards.

In conclusion, electro silver plating is a widely adopted manufacturing technique for depositing a thin layer of silver onto different objects. By understanding the electroplating process, surface preparation, electrolyte composition, and controlling plating parameters, manufacturers can achieve high-quality silver-plated products for both functional and decorative purposes.

At Tower Trophies you can purchase high quality electroplated awards directly from our online trophy store.

How are Resin Trophies Made?

Before our Trophies can be put into production an artist must design and make the original sculpture.

  • A mould is then made that exactly replicates the original hand made sculpture.
  • The resin is poured into the mould and when it has set it is removed for finishing.
  • The cast resin trophy is then cleaned and prepared for final finishing
  • Each trophy is then painted entirely by hand and is ready for packing.
  • We personalise the trophy by adding an engraved plate.
  • Our online trophy store features dozens of Resin Trophies made this way.

We have attached a short documentary that shows the full production from conception to finished product. You can view the 5 minute video on youtube here.

We are grateful to DSC Documentaries for the information contained with in this post.

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.

What exactly are Heavyweight Trophies?

Tower Trophies Heavyweight Trophy
New Heavyweight Football Trophies from Tower Trophies

Frankly, they are plastic; but, filled with a heavyweight material that gives them as much weight as a resin and often more.

So does that make them cheap and tacky? They certainly are cheaper. In some cases as much as 30% to 40% less than the resin equivalents which means that you’ll get a much bigger trophy for your budget. Honestly, the method of production means that the model is a much crisper presentation of the subject. You’ll see that the detail in the Heavyweight Football Trophies illustrated above is clear and precise and of course the automated production is what makes the price difference so dramatic.

So how come they are heavyweight if they are made of plastic? There’s no clever secret to this. All of the trophies are made from a rigid polymer so firstly they don’t feel or even look like plastic. In many cases you have to look very hard at two similar football trophies to see what the difference is. The model is first moulded as a hollow outer shell and then filled with a plaster. It’s that simple. They effectively are full of concrete!

Oddly enough it is a great idea because what we call the ‘clunk’ factor is a very big deal in the presentation world. You want your trophies to feel substantial and in previous days of moulded plastic it was only the addition of a stone or marble base that gave them any weight at all.

Tower Trophies Heavyweight Football Trophy

So what is the verdict are they a good thing or not? They are definitely a good thing. It is a very innovative product and some of the designs are excellent. Cost is all important to clubs and leagues with a fixed trophy budget so this product ticks a number of boxes, good price, great design, good feel and another factor which proves important in the Youth Football Trophy market is durability. The all popular Resin Awards look and feel great but drop them on a hard surface and they shatter like glass. That’s not to say that the Heavyweight trophies are indestructible but they will survive a few more beatings than the resin equivalent

As with all new products you need to be selective. There are some great designs but equally some dodgy ones, the images on our website give you a really good representation these days but if you have any doubt give us a call and we’ll grab one from our showroom and give you a first hand opinion.