Jet Metal’s liquid spraying technology, which had already proven its worth on glass, still needed to be tested on plastic. A challenge taken up by Sincoplas, a family-owned SME specializing in the moulding, decoration and assembly of plastic parts serving the luxury and cosmetic industries. As early as 2014, the French company equipped itself with a varnishing and metallization workshop, representing an investment of nearly 1.5 million euros.
"We were the first plastic injection company in Europe to bank on this innovative technology," highlighted Nicolas Leroy, grandson of the founder and CEO of Sincoplas since 2017. "We have significantly contributed in advancing it to the industrial stage for plastics, and to date, we are the only ones in Europe to master this technique," he added.
Gradient effects and semi-transparency
Relatively simple to achieve, liquid spray metallization allows working on different substrates: plastic, metal, ceramic, glass. But in practice, the industrial process for plastic, demanded solid development work and the acquisition of a high level of expertise, which is now well mastered by Sincoplas.
The metallization chain, in the historical production site of the Company in Folembray, France, can produce up to 50,000 pieces per day. The technology has already attracted many customers for the decoration of caps, in large series (up to three million pieces per year for a masstige perfume brand), or for the limited editions of prestige brands.
To go even further, Sincoplas has successfully adapted its process on premium glass-polymer bottles (a PET grade for thick-walled bottles and jars) of Qualiform (Groupe Certina), in particular the "Grand Luxe 50ml" bottle that combines the appearance of glass (flat bottom and transparency) with the lightness of plastic.
"In partnership with Qualiform, we tested different types of decorations: gradients, semi-transparency effects or, more classically, opaque metallization effects, that would suit body mists particularly well, products which are currently experiencing strong growth. The first returns of brands, who were given a sneak preview of the process are very positive", confirmed Julie Welté, Commercial and Marketing Director, Sincoplas.
From an aesthetic point of view, the effect offers exceptional brilliance. The technology is based on silver salts in replacement of aluminium, which dramatically increases the reflectivity.
Several drop tests enabled to validate the decoration’s holding power and control the impact of different types of varnishes on the ultimate strength of the decor, the types of possible effects and also the final cost of the operation.
"Environmentally speaking, the Jet Metal technology allows working at ambient pressure and temperature, it is therefore much less energy-consuming," explained Nicolas Leroy. In addition, the water used during the process is treated upstream and downstream, the wastewater is therefore very pure. The residues and sludge charged with aluminium salts are treated and recycled.
On the side of the "Grand Luxe" bottle, it requires much lower manufacturing temperatures than for glass, resulting in lower CO2 emissions, according to Qualiform. And, icing on the cake, the product can be made with bio-sourced PET, to further reduce the environmental impact.
The results will be presented by Qualiform, a French manufacturer of standard and specific plastic bottles serving the prestige and masstige markets, at the next Luxe Pack show in Monaco (From September 30 to October 02, 2019).