Material

Plastic

Material

Plastic

Important plastics characteristics are their technical properties, such as mouldability, hardness, elasticity, breaking strength, temperature and heat resistance and chemical resistance.

Resistance, which can be varied within wide limits by selecting the macromolecules, manufacturing processes and usually by adding additives. Plastics are divided into three major groups in accordance with their physical properties: Thermoplastics, duroplastics and elastomers.

Plastics are further processed into moulded parts, semi-finished products, fibres or films. They are used as packaging materials, textile fibres, thermal insulation, pipes, floor coverings, components of paints, adhesives and cosmetics, in electrical engineering as material for insulation, circuit boards, housings, in vehicle construction as material for tyres, upholstery, dashboards, petrol tanks and much more.

The respective macromolecules in a plastic are polymers and therefore composed of repeating basic units. The size of the polymer macromolecules varies from a few thousand to over a million basic units. For example, the polymer polypropylene (abbreviation PP) consists of multiple repeating propylene units. The polymers can be unbranched, branched or cross-linked molecules.

The polymers can be derived from natural substances or purely synthetic. Synthetic polymers are produced by chain polymerisation, polyaddition or polycondensation from monomers or prepolymers. Semi-synthetic plastics result from the modification of natural polymers (mainly cellulose to celluloid), while other bio-based plastics such as polylactic acid or polyhydroxybutyric acid are produced by the fermentation of sugar or starch.

As the field of plastics is very wide we will leave it at the examples above.

Applications Applications

Engraving

  • Mechanical insertion by milling / engraving of texts and symbols into the material.
  • Engraving depth: 0.10 - 0.2 mm, depending on customer requirements, standard is 0.10 mm
  • Multi-layer plastic panels are often used for engraving, so that the second layer underneath is exposed by removing the top plastic layer. The desired colour contrast is achieved by using a different colour.
  • Engraving today is often carried out by laser for cost reasons, special laser-compatible multi-layer materials are required here, the engraving depth is also often very low here and can lead to problems later on depending on the application. It is therefore essential to check the application before implementation.

Screen printing

  • In the classic screen printing / overprinting process, the ink is pressed through the fabric by means of its fabric screen and a rubber squeegee and applied to the underlying printing medium.
  • The printing medium is the front plate, front film or sign on to which the ink/print is applied.
  • Printing medium can be e.g. aluminium, stainless steel, brass, plastics or others.
  • It is always important to ensure that the correct printing system, i.e. ink system, is used for the print medium. An ink for T-shirts is not necessarily suitable for aluminium.
  • There are single colours or multi-component inks which are used depending on the intended purpose, in some cases the colours are baked in the oven to improve adhesion.
  • For overprint colours, almost all RAL or Pantone colours can be mixed.
  • The screen print / overprint is largely UV-resistant and is therefore often used for outdoor applications.
  • Silk screen printing / overprint is not scratch / solvent resistant, therefore the application must be checked before implementation.

Digital printing

  • Digital printing uses an inkjet printer to print the colour onto the print medium or onto the reverse side (reverse printed).
  • The overprint is often used for signs.
  • Backprinting has proven itself especially with films, here the back is often self-adhesive, thus the ink is secured by the self-adhesive and on the front side by the film.

Products with Plastic

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