We aren’t making money, but we use the same process to make nameplates! Yes, we are referring to the same process used to stamp metal and create currency such as quarters, dimes, nickels, etc.
Coining uses a consistent volume of metal that is stamped or “coined” into a metal piece that takes on the details of the stamping tool. The pressure on the metal is so great that the metal becomes fluid and takes the shape and detail of the image in the tool. Let’s walk thru the process of making a “coined” nameplate.
First, a tool is built to the size of the nameplate and includes all the detail. The tool is then heat treated to be very hard and withstand high pressure. We are typically using a press that can generate over 300 tons of pressure so the tool must hold up.
Second, we precut the metal into pieces that have volume slighter greater than the volume of the die cavity. Typically our nameplates are made out of aluminum, however copper, brass and other metals can be used as well within this process depending on the application and goals for the look and feel of the nameplate. Outside the parts area but also in the tool are registration points that are used in the latter steps of the process.
While coins or currency are rarely painted, the majority of metal nameplates are painted so that just selected areas of the bare metal are exposed. This is normally the raised or embossed area of the nameplate highlighting the logo or company name.
We typically paint the entire part and then remove the paint on the raised surface exposing the bare metal. However, more than one color can be printed on a part when needed. We remove the paint on the top surface and a very thin layer of the raised or embossed metal. We call this process “skiving” or “diamond-cutting” since a diamond is used to cut with very fine detail. We can create a flat look or leave a pattern in the metal. By using a diamond, we can cut a fine “V” into the metal that will reflect light and draw attention to the logo. The proximity of the lines to each other, the radius of the “V” and the number of passes can all be adjusted to achieve the desired look.
Once the parts are “skived” or “diamond-cut,” an adhesive is used on the back of the part for mounting to the product they are designed for. In some cases the parts can be top coated to achieve various gloss levels, color tints and durability.
One of the benefits of this process is that the back of the part is flat and can easily accept a pressure sensitive adhesive for mounting. In addition, small alignment pins can be “coined” into the back of the part to help alignment when the nameplate is mounted to the product. Also, “skiving” the nameplate results in a more eye catching aesthetic than chrome due light reflection off the fine lines.
Included below is a photo of a DigiTech part in three stages of the coning process.