This technical information has been contributed by
Wisconsin Engraving / UNITEX

Mold Texturing - Make Your Products More Attractive

Mold TexturingWhy is texturing necessary?
To make your products more attractive. An attractively textured surface makes a plastic or die-cast part look and feel more appealing, expensive and genuine.

Two of the most popular surfaces are simulated leather and simulated wood. Texturing can give your plastic products an appealing "natural" look and, as a result, make your products much easier for you to market.

Eliminate Blemishes
Texturing also benefits the manufacturing process by eliminating blemishes from moldings. Texturing conceals heat-check marks, flow marks and sink marks. It maintains the desired gloss level and improves the scuff resistance of a part.

The Mold Texturing Process

Photographic Arts - Mold texturing originates with photographic arts. Virtually any image or design can be captured with a digital camera. These designs can be altered in any way through the use of either conventional photographic arts or by use of state-of-the-art computer imaging.

Pattern Master - Once a useable film is rendered, it is then developed into a photo sensitized lithography plate to be used as a pattern master.

Pattern Transfer - By applying a wax base material to the master plate, a pattern transfer is created. The transfer is lifted from the master plate using a flexible tissue carrier. This carrier is now ready to be applied to virtually any mold cavity contour.

Final Masking - When a mold is received, technicians and sales engineers review all drawings and parts to ensure a comprehensive understanding of any and all specific job details. After a thorough cleaning of the entire mold, all areas outside of the molding surface are masked out using a vinyl acid resistant tape. This procedure is repeated in greater detail with close tolerance masking inside the molding area, protecting untextured shutoffs, borders and nominal draft areas.

Vapor Honing - Upon completion and quality inspection of this stage, all masking seams are sealed off with another wax base material to insure that no acid will leak into the protected area. The unmasked areas are then vapor honed. Capable of utilizing all blasting media, a mix of fine silica sand and glass beading is used to satinize the desired texture area to aid in the adherence of the pattern transfer.

Printing - In the printing stage of the process, the pattern transfer is now applied to the designated texture area. However flexible, the tissue carrier will need to be fit to the cavity contour. The use of multiple pattern transfers will require that the transfers be aligned and joined together. The transfer is now burnished onto the surface, and with the use of a releasing agent, the tissue carrier is removed. All match lines and fitted contours are blended by hand using a liquid acid resistant material. After a thorough inspection, the mold is ready to move on to the etching area.

Etching - Etching is the most critical step in the entire texturing process. Here, several variable and factors are calculated and considered prior to exposing a mold to acid. There are pre-determined etching methods and acid formulas utilized depending upon the type of mold ally, the desired depth of pattern, and size of area or mold to be etched. For example, a mold may either be submersed in an acid bath or hung vertically and sprayed with acid. The type of alloy will determine the proper acid formula to be used. The desired depth is governed by the temperature of the mold and acid combined with the amount of time the mold is exposed to the acid. After a very thorough cleaning of the mold, it is now ready to be shipped for production.

This technical information has been contributed by
Wisconsin Engraving / UNITEX

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