Soft enamel pins production can be mainly divided into the following steps:
1 Molds preparation
2 Blank pin preparation
3 Plating, coloring and packing
Step one, molds preparation
1.1 Inputting designs to engraving machine
After discussion with customers, now the artwork/mock-up has been decided. Our factory has obtained customer approved artwork file, with details like below .
This left black-white version drawing is sent to a CNC engraving machine.
In this machine, the drawing is converted into road map instruction for engraving. With the help of computer, the engraving routine, engraving depth,etc are decided.
1.2 Molds engraving
After all these are decided, one mold is put on the workbench. With a touch start-up on the engraving machine, it begins to engrave the surface of the mold. After engraving, the mold surface is like this:
For each pin, two molds are needed, namely upper mold and lower mold. The lower mold is used to make the main/front side of the pin, the upper mold is for back side of pin. If there are no details on the backside of pin, then blank mold is used. If it has logo, etc, this mold will also be engraved like the lower mold.
1.3 Pin cutting dies preparation
After the engraved pin mold come out, it is put on a special machine similar to a scanner. From this machine, the real outer shape of pin is scanned. On this machine, another two molds/dies are cut out. One upper die, one bottom die. Now all molds are ready, they are to be used for black pin production.
Step two, blank pin preparation
2.1 Blank pin forming and cutting
After the upper mold is ready, it is put on the top side of one hydraulic punching machine platform. The lower mold is put on the bottom base, waiting to punch iron plate.
At the same time, an iron plate is put on a plate shearing machine, iron plate is cut into pieces with width slightly bigger than pin size.
Then one piece of iron strip is put on the lower mold which is already installed on the bottom moving part of the hydraulic punching machine. With a signal sent to punching machine, the iron strip, together with bottom mold and bottom platform, moves upwards, the iron strip then hits the upper mold. In this way, the iron strip two sides are shaped with pin design.
After pin design is shaped, it is sent to another machine. On this machine, the upper cutting die is installed on the top and bottom cutting die is installed on the bottom.
Now the stamp formed iron strip is put on the bottom cutting base, the pin outline is perfectly aligned to the shape of bottom cutting die. Then the top cutting die punches down with big force, hitting the outer shape of iron strip pin design. With this hit, blank pin is punched down from the iron strip.
Newly produced blank pins have burrs at the edges. They are put into one vibration machine to get rid of these burrs.
After steps above, blank pins are put back side up. At the correct position, spurs are lead-free soldered, then the blank pin is put into a heater to make the back spurs fastened tightly on the back of pins.
After this step, blank pins are ready for next step-plating.
Step three, Plating, coloring, packing
Based on different requirements, various platings such as antique gold, antique silver, black nickel, black dye, bronze, copper, gold, matte gold, matte silver, nickel, rainbow, rose gold, silver, etc can be plated.
The basic process of plating includes
Pre-plating treatment, including degreasing, acid pickling, washing, activating;
Plating phase, electroplating one layer or multi-layer metal or alloy;
Post-plating treatment, including dehydration, passivation, etc.
While blank pin is under preparation, the design of proved artwork is printed into one paper. On this paper, the color of every place on the pin is defined, and the Pantone solid coated color number is given.
When blank pin plating is completed, the next step is preparing enamel material. Every color is realized by the mixing of different percentage of basic colors. After all color enamel materials are ready, labor consuming coloring step comes. One reference is given as below, these pins are rainbow plated, not colored yet.
Then one injector filled with one color enamel is used to fill the right area of each pin. In order not to make one color mixing with others, normally non-neighbouring area colors are painted at one time, then it is put on an oven to dry the enamel materials. Then take out for other area painting, then dry again. Until all area colors are filled, dried and cooled down, it is sent for next step.
Besides hand-made coloring, automatic coloring machine is also used to speed up this step.
After coloring, now the pins are ready for back clutches adding, then packing for delivery.
Above is the basic production procedure of soft enamel lapel pins, for coins and medals with soft enamel process, the procedure is same as above. For hard enamel, only a little difference, it is first coloring, then plating(opposite to the process of soft enamel), then polishing and packing.
Should you have pins, custom coins and medals, etc need production, welcome to contact us.