Color management and plastic product decoration is serious business. That is one reason why Springfield CMF Technology Co. Ltd. and Covestro are making serious efforts in color technology innovation and development.
At the CHINAPLAS 2018 held in Shanghai in late April, the organizer Adsale Exhibitions Ltd. devoted significant attention to the topic of color, material and finish (CMF) with the CMF Design Forum on one of the show floors. The presentations attracted a standing-room only crowd.
The organizer also devoted space in another show hall to the CMF Inspiration Walls to display a wide variety of CMF-related plastic resources. Those large displays featured primarily products and samples from Covestro and Hong Kong-based technology integration company Springfield CMF Technology Co. Ltd.（源辉表⾯装饰科技 有限公司）
In an interview at the fairgrounds, Springfield CMF Chief Executive Officer Alfred Au described how his firm has worked with plastic film and machinery partners to develop the Differential pressure Overlay Decoration (DOD), to apply diverse surface treatments to a wide range of substrates.
DOD, Au explained, is a new, post-production process that decorates parts by laminating a layer of printed/embossed film. It operates by proper control of vacuum, differential pressure and temperature to stretch and transfer functional or decorative materials via a film that is spread evenly and conforms to the shape of various substrates.
Springfield CMF buys its film from suppliers such as AkzoNobel, and applies the hot-melt glue. Au’s firm also has developed the vacuum application process at its plant in Shenzhen, China. “We control the vacuum, differential pressure and temperature to stretch and transfer functional or decorative materials via film to the molded part,” he said.
Welltec, part of Hong Kong-based Cosmos Machinery Enterprises Ltd., worked with Springfield CMF to jointly develop this proprietary, patented DOD process that can be used to produce parts with various surface colors, textures and effects – including glossy, stone-like, leather-like, wood grain, soft-touch and backlit metallization. Au said these can be applied to different substrates, including carbon fiber, in the same color at the same time.
In the process, a vacuum chamber descends over the fixture holding the part to be decorated. Currently, the largest film size available – limited by the size of the chamber – is 500 x 700mm (19.7 x 27.5 inches), Au said.