15 Types of Surface Treatment Techniques (For Making Ridiculously Amazing Products)

The product design is diverse, and texture is one of the factors that affect the appearance of the product.

Different textures can bring different styles and feelings.

Let’s take a brief look at 10 amazing surface texture implementation techniques.



Metal embossing is performed by mechanical processing on the metal plate to make the surface of the plate appear concave and convex.

The embossed sheet metal is rolled with a patterned work roller and its work rolls are usually machined with an erosive liquid.

The depth of the bump on the metal sheet varies from pattern to pattern and can be as small as 0.02-0.03 mm.

After continuous rolling by the work rolls, the pattern is periodically repeated, and the length direction of the embossed sheets is substantially unlimited.

At present, the embossed metal plate is suitable for decorating elevator cars, subway cars, various cabins, architectural decoration and metal curtain wall etc.

It has the advantages of enduring look, durable, wear-resistant, visually pleasing, easy to clean, maintenance-free, resistant to impact, pressure, scratch and no fingerprint.

Metal Wire Drawing

Metal Wire Drawing

Metal wire drawing is a manufacturing process in which sand sheets are repeatedly scraped out of the line by sandpaper.

The metal wire drawing process can clearly show every tiny silk mark so that the fine matt shines in the metal matte. The product combines style and technology.

Metal Wire Drawing

Wire drawing can be made into straight lines, chaotic lines, threads, corrugations and swirls according to the needs of decoration.

Straight line: Wire drawing refers to the processing of straight lines on the surface of aluminum plates by mechanical friction.

Rough pattern: Under the high-speed operation of the copper wire brush, the aluminum plate is moved back and forth, left and right, and rubbed to obtain a random, no-grain matt silk pattern.

Thread: A small motor with a circular felt on the shaft is fixed on the table, at an angle of about 60 degrees to the edge of the table. In addition, make a carriage with a fixed aluminum plate depression bar, and a straight polyester film is pasted along the edge of the carriage to limit the width of the thread.

Using the rotation of the felt and the linear movement of the carriage to rub out the thread lines with the same width on the metal surface.

Corrugation: Generally made on a brushing machine or grain rub machine. Using the axial movement of the upper set of rolls, the surface of the aluminum or aluminum alloy plate is brushed to obtain a wave pattern.

Paisley pattern: A type of silk marks obtained by rotating and polishing the surface of an aluminum or aluminum alloy plate by using a cylindrical felt or a stone nylon wheel mounted on a drill bed, using kerosene to blend a polishing ointment. It is mostly used for the decorative processing of circular signs and small decorative dials.

IML Technique

IML Technique

First of all, it is necessary to explain in concept: IMD includes IML, IMF, IMR

  • IML: IN MOLDING LABEL (no stretch, small surface for 2D products)
  • IMF: IN MOLDING FILM (suitable for high tensile products, 3D products)
  • IMR: IN MOLDING ROLLER (remove the product surface film, leaving only the ink on the surface of the product)

The surface of the IML product is a layer of hardened transparent film with a printed pattern layer in the middle and a plastic layer on the back. The ink is sandwiched in the middle to prevent the surface from being scratched and rubbed, and the color can be kept bright and not faded for a long time.

The process is as follows:

Cutting: The roll film is cut into square pieces of designed size for printing and molding processes.

Graphics printing: According to the required icons and texts, it is made into a film network, and icons and characters are printed on the cut film square blocks.

Drying and fixing of the ink: The printed film square is placed in a high-temperature oven for drying, in order to fix the IML ink.

Paste a protective film: Avoid smearing the surface of the printed film during the punching process. Sometimes it is necessary to apply a single or double protective film.

Punch locating holes: Thermoformed locating holes must be aligned. The locating holes in the shearing process are sometimes punched in advance.

Thermoforming (high pressure or copper mold): After heating the printed film, it is molded in a preheated state by a high-pressure machine or a copper mold.

Cutting the outer shape: a scrap of the formed three-dimensional film is cut off.

Material injection: The film with the same shape as the front mold is placed on the front mold and the IML finished product is injection molded.

Texture can be realized: CD pattern, brushed, matte, grain, wood grain, various 3D patterns, but because the outermost layer is a film material, the texture is non-tactile.

Product features

The film production cycle is short, can display multiple colors; can change patterns and colors at any time in production; has excellent scratch resistance; IML production batch quantity is very flexible, suitable for multi-variety small production.

Product application

3C industry, mobile phone window, mobile phone button, mobile phone LOGO, decorative film, etc.

IMR Technique

IMR Technique

In the process, the pattern is printed on the film, and the film is bonded to the mold cavity by a film feeding machine for extrusion. After the extrusion, the patterned ink layer is separated from the film, and the ink layer is left on the plastic part to obtain a plastic part with decorative patterns on the surface.

There is no transparent protective film on the surface of the final product. The film is only a carrier in the production process.

IMR products are not easy to be deformed, the edges of the products are completely covered, the edge adhesion is strong, and the conversion production is very easy, just to change the roll of IMR transfer foil.

The process is simple, so the defect rate can be controlled within a few points, and the personnel demand can be minimized.

The pattern is perfectly aligned, the hardness can reach 2H, the automation degree in production is high and the cost of mass production is low.

Textures possible: various textures such as wood, bamboo, marble, leather, etc.

Product disadvantages: The printed pattern layer is on the surface of the product and is only a few microns thick.

After the product is used for a period of time, it is easy to wear off the printed pattern layer, and it is easy to fade, resulting in a very unattractive surface. In addition, the new product development cycle is long and the development cost is high.

Product application: IMR products are widely used because they belong to surface treatment of plastic parts, such as laptop case, home appliance case, mobile phone case, ABS, etc.

Water Transfer Printing

Water Transfer Printing

The water transfer printing technique is a type of printing in which a transfer paper/plastic film with a color pattern is subjected to macromolecular hydrolysis by water pressure.

As people’s requirements for product packaging and decoration have increased, the use of water transfer has become more widespread.

Its indirect printing principle and perfect printing effect solve the problem of surface decoration of many products.

There are two types of water transfer printing technology, one is watermark transfer technology, and the other is water cubic transfer technology.

The former mainly performs the transfer of text and photo-patterns, while the latter tends to perform the complete transfer on the entire surface of the product.

Cubic transfer uses a water-based film that is easily dissolved in water to carry graphics.

Due to the excellent tension of the water-coated film, it is easy to wrap around the surface of the product to form a graphics layer, and the surface of the product has a completely different appearance as a paint.

Covering any shape of the workpiece solved the problem of printing on the three-dimensional product for the manufacturer.

The curved printing can also add different grains on the surface of the product, and it can also avoid the virtual position that is commonly found in general layout printing.

In the printing process, since the surface of the product does not need to be in contact with the printed film, damage to the surface and integrity of the product can be avoided.

Product applications: automotive dashboards, control panels and other automotive interiors, 3C electronic products, household appliances, building materials, etc.

OMD Technique

OMD Technique

OMD mainly uses a temperature & pressure coexistence process. The film material is activated/softened by heat (T) and pressure (P) to make the coating stably transfer or wrap to the target, which will improve the surface hardness of the product and increase the appearance of graphic decoration.

There are two types:

① Extend IMR technology
IMR’s Out-side, over-molding transfer, also known as a high-pressure transfer.

OMR (Release): After printing the pattern on the transparent film, the high-pressure vacuum transfer is used to directly cover the surface of the plastic (or metal) to form a three-dimensional coating technology.

OMR (Release Film): The film must be torn after the transfer is completed, and the outer layer of the workpiece is not covered with a film.

The target that can be transferred: plastic, high glass fiber injection plastic; carbon fiber, glass fiber, metal (magnesium, aluminum alloy, etc.), touch glass, building materials, etc.

② Extend IMFtechnology

Material high-pressure drawing forming, film printing or different materials coated on the workpiece: OMF (Forming) OMF (Forming Film) coated film material, the outer layer of the workpiece is covered with a protective product.

OMF only opens general injection molds, and does not need to open high-pressure molds or die-cutting molds, which greatly reducing the mold costs and increasing customer development willingness.

The covered products are the same as OMR, and are mostly used in high-quality automotive interiors, decoration of aviation and transportation vehicles, 3C, and medical equipment.

Hot Press Forming

Hot press forming

After the mold was heated, the sample was injected. The model is fixed to the heating plate by pressure. Control the melting temperature and time of the sample to harden and cool after melting. Then take out the finished model.

Its products have applied this process from the fields of early rice cooker panels and membrane switches, air conditioners, washing machine panels etc.



Texturing is realized by chemical osmosis, resulting in a variety of patterns on the surface of metal products, such as: stripes, images, wood, leather, and satin.

It also includes a sandblasting procedure that directly sprays the glass sand onto the surface of the metal article.

Features after texturing treatment:

  • Improve the appearance of plastic parts;
  • Non-slip, anti-rotation, have a good hand feeling;
  • Can cover some shrinkage, glue line, as well as the traces caused by the parting surface and the slider;
  • The surface strength of the parts is increased after the sandblasting procedure;
  • Overcome the shortcomings of printing, easy to wear off paint;
  • Make the product appear more varied or brand new design.

Leather Grain

Simulating the texture of the leather surface, often with soft plastic such as PU, and it is applied to the steering wheel and interior trim of the car.

Leather Grain

Applied industry

The automotive industry, electronic and electrical industry, daily necessities industry, plastics industry, toy industry, leather industry, etc. The car interior decoration board texture.

Hot Stamping

Hot stamping

Hot stamping is commonly known as “gold stamping”. The essence of hot stamping is transferred. It is the process of transferring the pattern on the hot stamping paper to the substrate by the action of heat and pressure.

The pressure of the mold creates a depression, and the printed words or patterns are not easily blurred so that the pattern, logo, text or picture can firmly adhere to the surface of the product.

Hot stamping and foil are two key components of the hot stamping process.

Hot stampings are typically made of magnesium, brass, and steel, and some use silicone rubber on the surface of the metal stamping die for surfaces that are not very flat.

The hot stamping foil mainly comprises a carrier, a release layer, a protective layer and a decorative layer.

The hot stamping process consists of 4 steps:

(1) the hot stamping foil is in contact with the substrate;

(2) the transfer layer is transferred onto the surface of the substrate by heat and pressure;

(3) removing the pressure and peeling off the polyester film;

(4) Feed the hot stamping foil and replace it with the printing stamp that will be stamped.

Hot stamping

Technical application: Hot stamping is suitable for textiles such as polymers, wood, leather, paper, vinyl, polyester film, etc., as well as metals that are not easily colored.

The decoration is scratch-resistant, abrasion-resistant and peel-resistant. Used in retail and cosmetic packaging, book magazines, car decoration, advertising, consumer goods decoration, information identification, etc.

LV (Louis-Vuitton) provides personalized hot stamping service

LV (Louis-Vuitton) provides personalized hot stamping service

Laser Engraving (ray engraving)

Laser engraving

Based on CNC technology, the laser is the processing medium.

The physical degeneration of the molten metal and the vaporization of the metal material under laser irradiation, thereby achieving the purpose of processing.

The laser engraving machine uses laser engraving technology to easily “print” vectorized images onto the processed substrate.

Laser engraving

The technical advantages are:

  • Precision: The thinnest line width of the material surface can reach 0.015mm, and it is non-contact processing, which will not cause deformation of the product;
  • High efficiency: the new product can be obtained in the shortest time, and the multi-variety small batch can only be changed by the vector file;
  • Can be specially processed: to meet special processing needs, can process inner surface or inclined surface;
  • Environmental protection and energy saving: no pollution, no harmful substances, higher than export environmental protection requirements.

Metal Etching

Metal Etching

Also known as photochemical etching.

After the plate is formed by exposure and developed, the protective film on the region to be etched is removed.

When the metal is etched, it contacts the chemical solution to achieve the effect of dissolving the corrosion, and forming the irregularities or hollowing out.

Metal Etchings

In general consumer products, the pattern on the aluminum plate or the text, LOGO is often made by etching.

In addition, etching is often used to make a variety of metal horn nets.

VCM Plate

VCM Plate

The VCM plate is a finished metal sheet coated with a stainless steel sheet or a galvanized sheet surface.

The printed film product is laminated to the surface of the steel sheet by means of sticking, and since the products used for the film are various, it is possible to produce a very beautiful pattern.

The surface of the VCM board is very smooth and flat, with rich color and pattern effects, and even a customized pattern.

In recent years, VCM boards with metal wire drawing effects have been used on the rear case of high-end large-size TVs to enhance the quality of the back of the product.

  • VCM is based on the steel plate.
  • A metal color laminated steel sheet coated with vinyl chloride on the surface. The printed film product is bonded to the surface of the steel sheet by means of bonding.
  • Due to the wide variety of products used for filming, beautiful patterns and patterns can be produced.

CNC Machining

CNC Machining CNC Machining

CNC Machining refers to machining with CNC machining tools.

The CNC machine tool is programmed by the CNC machining language to control the feed rate and spindle speed of the machining tool, as well as the tool changer, coolant, etc., to physically process the surface of the substrate.

CNC Machining

CNC machining has great advantages over manual machining. For example, CNC machining produces parts that are very precise and repeatable. CNC machining can produce parts with complex shapes that cannot be completed by manual machining.

Metal Stamping

Metal Stamping

Refers to the transfer of hot stamping foil to the surface of the printing material by means of a special metal hot stamping plate by heating and pressing.

For metal substrate hot stamping, it is necessary to pass a proprietary metal hot stamping film or to apply a hot stamping film after spraying on the surface of the substrate.

Metal Stamping

Since the hot stamping foil has a variety of features, the metal substrate can be quickly and versatilely, and the surface hot stamping process can be performed more environmentally to achieve our original design.

Silk-screen Printing

Silk-screen Printing

Silkscreen printing is simple and cheap in the eyes of the designer and the effect is not bad, commonly known as cost-effective!

It is a product with an image or pattern attached to the screen for printing, suitable for products with a flat, single curved or curved surface in a small difference.

Usually, the screen is made of nylon, polyester, silk or metal mesh.

When the printing material is placed directly under the screen with the stencil, the screen printing ink or paint is passed through the mesh in the middle of the screen under the squeeze of the doctor blade and printed onto the printing material (the doctor blade has a manual and automatic type).

The stencil on the screen seals a portion of the screen aperture so that the pigment does not pass through the screen, and only the image portion can pass through so that only the image portion is imprinted on the printing material.

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