Idvac Ltd., a UK vacuum R&D specialist, has celebrated its 14th anniversary with the introduction of a new innovative product to the security, decorative, packaging and solar market. The new product is an elegant black coating with bright metallic reflection finish to allow the hologram to have a unique visual appeal to fight counterfeiting.

A special thermal evaporation vacuum metallizing process is developed for the production of the black coating to add an overt bright black lustre onto plain or embossed films or for other applications.

Black coating film roll                                                     Black coating film roll

Black coloured films such as polyester have numerous uses in industrial applications including filters, solar and for other optical purposes. The traditional method of producing black colour is to use black ink or pigment having a dispersing carbon black in solvent or water. This produces thick black coat with dull finish. Solvents used in the dyeing process are not environmentally friendly and requires heat to remove solvent. Also, solvents may be difficult or expensive to remove from the film and to reclaim or to dispose of. The presence of residual solvent in the dyed film may affect subsequent processes such as vacuum metallisation or printing.

Unlike using dyes, inks or pigments, Idvac process is dry and done in a roll to roll vacuum metallizer. The process is environmentally friendly and does not involve any wet chemicals or solvents. Idvac black coating consists of a single smooth thin layer of vacuum evaporated material which result in a bright black finish. The black coating, which is formed on the film side, is adherent, stable and environmentally durable. The thin coat can conform to the contours of the very small grooves of the embossed pattern thus allowing the light reflection from the grooves surface to be visible. The product can be used for hot stamping or for laminate.  The process can be combined with de-metallizing and aluminium or copper metallizing to produce bimetallic bright silver/black effect, copper/black effect, etc. Such effects can be used for security documents or labels. Furthermore, the coating can also be applied on flexible glass films for special optical applications.

Black coating on embossed film                    Black coating on embossed film

The new innovative process can be retrofit onto a standard vacuum roll to roll metallizer with minimum modification and without affecting the metallizer ability to produce other coatings including standard aluminium metallizing.

Since its foundation in 2004, Idvac Ltd. has been successful in researching holographic and other market demands, developing processes and introducing innovative  vacuum process know how and technologies for products such as HRI (ZnS), copper, colour shift, AlOx, SiOx, green/blue and gold finish to the security, packaging and solar market. Idvac offer R&D services to develop new innovative vacuum coatings or processes for its customers. Soon, Idvac will have the capabilities of offering narrow width R2R toll metallizing for various metallized products including black finish.

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About the author

Professor Nadir A G Ahmed

Professor Nadir A G Ahmed, a professor of advanced materials and nanotechnology has done his BSc in Physics from Basrah University, Iraq, then his MSc and PhD from the University of Salford, UK
Prof. Ahmed was a visiting professor at the Faculty of Science, Engineering & Environment, University of Salford, UK, from 2004-2013. He is the founder and managing director of Idvac Ltd. 

He presented papers in more than 85 international conferences, has more than 90 scientific publications and a book entitled (Ion Plating Technology) published by Wiley & Sons in 1987. He has 5 patents and won 4 SMART awards from the UK Department of Trade & Industry. In March 2013, he won the UK Technology Strategy Innovation Award. In April 2013, he received the GPCA, Dubai, award for product innovation. In April 2014, he was a finalist in the 'Talents in Plastics- Best Researcher' category of GPCA Plastics Excellence Award. In December 2016 he was awarded the Excellence in Holography for product innovation from IHMA, UK. Professor Ahmed is a regular speaker at the International Holography conference and his main activities are in advanced and nano-materials for security, packaging, solar and other niche markets.

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