Design Image Company uses the traditional technologies as follows:
Stamping – is a metal manufacturing process using pressure resulting in deformation of blanks in the dies. The dies consist of a die part and a punch. The item is created by compressing the material between them. There is a hot and cold stamping depending on the temperature and sheet stamping and die forging depending on the shape of the blank. The dies have a flat or three-dimensional relief.
Typically, soft metals are used for blamks, particularly copper and copper based alloys. The standard thickness of the item ranges from 1.2 to 1.6 mm depending on size. When making complex highly artistic items or using rhinestones, it is required to use blanks with a thickness of 2 to 5 mm.
Recently, steel has become a widely used material for manufacturing flat badges. Steel is a hard material, less amenable to forging and polishing, but in case of large run quantities and in order to reduce the cost of products steel is used to make lapel pins, key chains, badges and tags. The standard thickness of the item ranges from 1 to 1.4 mm depending on size.
A stamped item is chipped out along the contour using a special press, a fixture is attached to the item, then galvanic coating of gold, silver, bronze or nickel is applied to the item. More sophisticated coatings are also used, specifically, antique copper, antique silver and antique gold, satin gold and satin nickel. Coating is applied using electrochemical, chemical or vacuum methods. The thickness of the coating layer generally varies from 0.5 to 1.5 microns. To make badges of various design you can use a coating by two metals, a bimetallic coating. After electroplating enamels are applied to the hollows resulting from stamping.
There is stamping with caulking, or embossing, the way where the relief is made on the blank by strongly pressing a tool with a protrusion; the blank is pressed into a steel cylinder, thus copying the reverse relief. The formed fixed die is put on the embossing die and emboss the item. The time of making products using stamping depends on the complexity and run quantity and is 1.5 - 2 months.
PROOF stamping (best quality) and PROOF-LIKE stamping (excellent quality) are processes of manufacturing products with a polished mirror surface field and matt relief. The flat blank cut along the edge, is stamped several times. Prior to stamping in order to prevent damage to the edge of the blank it is placed in a special form. This technique is used to manufacture medals, coins, badges. PROOF quality is mainly used in the manufacture of expensive medals and coins. The production of such items requires painstaking work, so the time of their manufacture makes up 2.5-3 months.
In centrifugal casting the molten metal is poured into the metal mold rotating around a horizontal or vertical axis. Under the effect of centrifugal forces the metal is thrown from the pouring gate to the periphery of the form filling its cavity, and freezes forming a casting. If the model has only one side to be processed, it is deepened in the mold box by pressing into and casted by open casting technique. If the model has a complex shape, the forming is performed in two or more mold boxes using “pieces” or cores. Sometimes the models are made with detachable parts that are casted with metal apart from the basic model, and then either soldered to it or joined in other ways.
The cost of products obtained by this method is quite high. The time of manufacturing is at least 2 - 2.5 months.
Photoetching – is a process of applying an image on the surface of the metal blank using chemical etching. This method is used to manufacture flat items such as badges, key chains, etc. The standard thickness of the blank is 0.8 mm. First, by photo method an image is transferred to metal coated with a photosensitive layer, developped and treated with acid. The acid dissolves the unprotected metal layer to a depth of 0.2 mm. Then you can cut an item of desired shape out of the metal blank with a transferred relief. The fixture is attached to the item. The item is coated with a thin layer of gold, silver, nickel, and then painted with enamels. As the hollows obtained in this way are not deep, only soft enamels are used, and for matt effect matt paints in the colour of the metal are used. The badge has a low flat relief under this technology. To create the volume effect and to protect the enamel the badges are covered with a layer of epoxy resin. This technology does not require manufacturing dies, so the period of production is less and makes 1 - 1.5 months.
The surface of the product may be polished, matte or combining both.
Polishing is a process of surface treatment of the product to smooth the rough edges.
Matting is a process of applying matt paints in the color of the metal. It is used for of steel stamping, photoengraving and casting.
Sandblasting is a process of giving a uniform roughness to the product surface by processing it using sand blast under pressure. The roughness can be low, medium and high. It is used for stamping of copper alloys.
Cleaning is a partial removal of a part of coating from the product surface using a soft abrasive material to point out the relief.
In order to protect metal products from corrosion and give them the desired colour there are used the following technologies.
Gold plating (silver plating) is a process of applying the deposition of gold (silver) on the surface of the product or its part.
Patinating is a process of applying artificial patina on the surface.
Vacuum deposition is a vacuum coating of products with environmentally friendly materials by plasma spraying using special equipment.
Oxidizing is a process of creating on the surface of products made of silver based alloys an oxide film, which is dyed with organic dyes in the colours from steel gray to black.
Toningis a process of creating on the surface of products the coating having different colour hues.
Enamellingis a process of covering the parts of the product with enamels.
Enamel is a coating applied to the product with artistic purpose, heat-proof and heat resistant to corrosion. Enamels can be hard and soft.
Hard enamel (“hot”, cloisonné)is transparent and opaque leaded glass containing precious metals and rare earth elements. The enamel is applied to the product and subjected to annealing. This coating provides a smooth surface at the same level or higher than the metal collar. The possibility of the placement of hard enamel above the collar level makes it particularly valuable: it is used to make orders. It features high strength and stability. The range of colours includes about 120 colours. For a wider colour range according to PANTONE PROCESS COLOR IMAGING GUIDE Solid to process it is used imitation hard enamel which is also subjected to annealing. The badges with hard enamel have a presentable appearance, and experts value them higher than those with soft enamel.
Soft (organic, “cold”) enamel is a suspension of pigments and fillers in the mixture of organic solvents. Having been applied to the product this coating has the level below the collar. The colour range of the enamel can be chosen according to the colour table.
Both hard and soft enamels can be opaque or transparent.
Opaque (blind)enamel is a coating through which the metal base of the badge is not visible after processing.
Transparent (transparent) enamelis a coating through which the metal base of the item can be seen after applying the enamel. It is the most commonly used at the same time with making an image or texture on the metal where transparent enamel will be applied.
Glossy and matt enamel is a coating which after drying has a glossy or matt surface.
Flat badges have a flat image with a height of 0.2 - 0.5 mm depending on the technology.
Three-dimensional marks have an image of different heights from 0.5 to 4 mm. More expressive images can be made on the matt surface.
Badges of 2 - 3 separate elements of different thickness have a height of 1 to 3 mm, which are joined with rivets, soldering, or using a special glue.
A cylindrical or domed shape gives an even larger volume to the item due to the deflection of the central part (2 - 10 mm). The first shape is used for oval-shaped badges, the second – for round-shaped badges.
Dye sublimation printing is a way of transferring images from thermal paper onto the surface to be dyed. Dye sublimation inks pre-applied to thermal paper are heated and in passing to the gaseous phase penetrate into the structure of the material to be dyed. Dyeing takes place at a temperature of 185 - 195°C in special heat presses. The method is used for printing images on fabrics having a synthetic content of at least 40%. It enables to transfer photographic images with a resolution of up to 1440 dpi. The print quality is high, the colours are bright and resistant to environmental conditions. With the popularity of dye sublimation printing on the rise, new materials have appeared to be used mainly for advertising and souvenir purposes. Particularly popular are aluminum panels and ceramic tiles coated with a special polymer permeated by sublimation dye. This enables to make award diplomas and certificates, office plaques, photo tiles and much more!