New 3DHS finishing process reduces decoration costs

Fürth/Germany, 9 October 2013: The company Leonhard Kurz is presenting the patented 3DHS finishing process at this year's K trade fair. Visitors to the Kurz booth will be able to see a 3DHS machine in action as it's used to partially coat an automotive air vent panel with chrome. The special characteristic of this specific decoration application is that the air vent has a pronounced 3D geometry that cannot be coated in a conventional hot stamping process. In the past, plastic elements such as these have typically been decorated by means of galvanization, which requires two injection-molded parts: an undecorated base component, and a ring galvanized with chrome that is mounted onto the air vent. The 3DHS process, however, allows a single-component panel to be partially coated with chrome. This finishing method eliminates the need for an injection mold, along with the associated molding operation and assembly step, and therefore offers significant cost advantages. The alternative decoration solution, which is to galvanize a single-piece component over the entire surface, would also be significantly more expensive due to the larger coating area. A further advantage of the 3DHS technology is that it is more environmentally friendly and versatile because design changeovers can be performed simply by exchanging the hot stamping foil.

The 3DHS coating process requires three components that have been optimally tailored to one another: a special hot stamping foil, a 3DHS die system, and the 3DHS machine. The hot stamping foil developed by Kurz has been specially formulated to meet the requirements of 3D decoration. It has a high elasticity, which enables it to be thermally shaped to match the geometry of the plastic part in a work operation prior to the stamping process. The hot stamping foil is available as a true-chrome coating, as well as in a diverse range of metallic tones, a wide variety of brushed designs, and a large selection of pigmented colors.

The separately patented die system comprises fixing elements for securing the hot stamping foil to be shaped, and a hot stamping die that has been adapted to suit the 3D geometry of the part being decorated. This optimized hot stamping die has been specially developed by the expert stamping die manufacturer Hinderer + Mühlich, a member of the Kurz Group. The 3DHS machine is equipped with suitable fixtures for shaping the hot stamping foil. Another Kurz subsidiary, Baier, which specializes in vertical stamping machines, was responsible for the development of this machine. Thanks to its collaboration with these partner companies, Kurz is able to offer a complete 3DHS system with comprehensive process know-how, and fully support its customers in the implementation of their 3DHS decoration solution. To find out more, visit the Kurz booth A19 in Hall 5.