Metallization is basically the deposition of metal vapor under high vacuum to coat the surface of a substrate, such as paper or plastic film. The ability to add a metallic coating to paper or plastic film opens a wide range of creative possibilities. In addition to creating a bright, shiny appearance for decorative packaging, metallization can impart or improve barrier properties to help keep food fresh and tasty.
Printing metallization applications include:
Metallization in the printing industry usually happens inside a roll-to-roll web coating machine. The substrate material moves continuously through a high vacuum chamber. There, a metal (mainly aluminum) is heated in an evaporation boat. The resulting metal vapor deposits on the substrate surface as a thin coating.
An evaporation boat is chosen based on its characteristics such as evaporation rate, wetting behavior, lifetime, etc. For example, a 3M™ Dimet evaporation boat has a higher evaporation rate and longer lifespan than a 3M™ Trimet boat.