Hot stamping is a process used for generating graphics or lettering on plastic parts. Unlike ink or paint, the hot stamping process is relatively quick and does not require drying time. Hot stamping also allows you to change colors and designs with ease. Hot stamping uses a heated die that presses a special foil down onto a plastic part (substrate). The pressure and heat cause the foil to transfer onto the substrate so that when the die is lifted back off the substrate, the foil is left behind on the substrate.
The desired design or lettering can be created in one of two ways. Either the die or the plastic part has the design, and the opposite component is smooth. For example, a plastic part could have lettering raised off the surface of the part (molded in during manufacturing). In that case, the die would be smooth. Once the die is pressed onto the plastic part, the foil and die only contact the top areas of the lettering. The advantage of this method is that the plastic has a raised designed that is slightly easier to see.
In the opposite case, the die would have the design engraved on its surface, and the plastic part would be smooth. When pressed onto a smooth plastic surface, the design is pushed against the foil and part, transferring the design onto the plastic part. This method gives you the ability to change out the die and create different designs on the same plastic part, whereas in the previous case, whatever is already molded into the part is what can be hot stamped.
Hot stamping is a relatively fast process but requires specialized dies and fixturing. These specialized dies and fixtures add upfront costs at the beginning of a project, but the ongoing price can be reasonable, especially at higher volumes. As with many manufacturing processes, it’s possible (at higher volume) to add automation equipment/robotics to lower these prices.
Hot stamping is one of several value added services offered by Basilius. These services are an extension of Basilius’ turn-key design, tooling, and injection molding capabilities.