How to succeed at foiling

Choosing the correct hot stamp foil for your product gives you a head start toward quality production. Put yourself in this scenario.

  • You’re a project engineer. Your new project has progressed beyond the prototype phase and is ready for first run production approval.
  • Marketing has finally decided on a color for the ABS part (black) and the markings which will be hot stamped (PMS 485C).
  • You call your foil suppliers with the request for a red foil sample to match PMS 485C which will be stamped on black ABS.
  • The samples are received, approved for color and specified for the job.
  • The first run is made, parts are assembled, and quality control advises you that the samples are not passing the falling sand test.
  • Back to the supplier with more requirements.

I call this process “The slow spiral toward quality production.” To help rid you of similar obstacles on your path to that goal, I’ve developed the following checklist. It will help you inform designers and decision makers of parameters required to produce foils meeting the standards for quality production. Foil color. If the foil is to be metallic, your foil supplier will be able to give you a range of standard shades from which to choose. Color matching a specific shade is possible if no standard exists, but the necessary quantity commitment is substantial.

If the decoration is a pigmented color, then a PMS reference or color standard should be submitted to the foil manufacturer. Pigmented color matches can be made in 2,000-ft. minimum quantities. Substrate type. Foils are produced by incorporating adhesive qualities that are substrate specific, therefore the intended substrate is very important. Part color. This is particularly important when a dark part is to be hot stamped with a lighter pigmented foil. Typically, color integrity is assured by using a white backing on the foil to prevent the part color from bleeding through the foil. A copy of the design. If possible, a copy of the intended design is helpful in developing the releasing characteristics of the foil. If, for instance, the design were to contain a lot of fine line copy, the foil would need to be clean-cutting and therefore relatively tight to the carrier. Application info. The following information about the decorating method has an impact on foil construction. Roll-on presses require a heavier carrier than parts stamped vertically.

  • -Die type (metal or silicone)
  • -Press type (vertical, roll-on, peripheral)
  • -Expected production speed
  • -Stamping temperature
  • -Dwell time

Special properties or test specs. Most major appliance manufacturers have specification sheets for hot stamp finishes. These relate to characteristics required for high-wear and intermediate-wear areas and define the requirements and test procedures used. These tests are widely used standards familiar to the chemistry departments of development-capable foil suppliers.

A copy of the required tests for the application will help the supplier in the manufacture of a foil designed to achieve these qualities.

Cover the bases

Requesting a color is only a small part of the information needed to produce a foil for an application. By involving your supplier early in the project and covering all the bases listed here, you’ll turn the proverbial spiral into a straight line.


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