Why strive for a high surface finish and how to achieve it?

Plastic and metallic components are manufactured with various surface finishes, all from shiny and glossy to functional surfaces of different appearances.

Tools for plastic moulding do require a high surface finish especially when extreme transparency and/or high gloss are aimed for.

High surface finish reduces the risk of local corrosion and fracture or cracking due to temporary over loading or pure fatigue. The tool surface finish may also have an impact on productivity as in the case of injection moulding. Here, the release forces of the plastic component from the tool steel surface are dependant on the adhesion properties of the polymer to the mould surface. An improved smoothness of the tool surface may lead to higher release forces and eventually to sticking phenomena, which partly can be overcome by an optimal choice of tool steel and preparation strategy.

Depending on the application and requirements we can distinguish between two types of surface finishing methods: high gloss polishing and functional polishing.

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