FAQ

GENERAL AND PRODUCTION-RELATED INFORMATION

The Group’s companies focus their core businesses on the Fashion & Luxury sectors, in particular for fashion accessories, footwear and leather goods, clothing and eyewear. The innovative technique of X22 (PVD Technology System) has also made it possible to address different areas, such as prosthetics, glassware, automotive components, touch screens and moulds.

We work for the most prestigious and well-known brands in the fashion and luxury sectors.

Yes, all processes are 100% Made in Italy, and carried out in our plants in Tuscany.

LEM has a production capacity output of 1700 support frames per day from its static plant, while the barrel plant can yield 150 dm3 per day. The production capacity of X-PLATING, by respective plant, includes the daily processing of 720 frames via the static plant and 200 racks per day from the PVD plant.

Our processing is accomplished by means of manual and automatic, static (for frames) and semi-automatic barrel systems, both nickel and nickel-free. Rotating vibrators are used for vintage pre or post-finishing operations, while many other processes are entrusted to the high craftsmanship of our expert technicians. The X22 technology (PVD Technology System) is achieved through PVD systems (Physical Vapor Deposition).

Galvanic treatments, through electrodeposition processes, allow the deposition of precious and non-precious metals on accessories in zamak, brass, aluminum, steel and copper.

In the field of electrometallurgy, electroplating is an electrolytic process of covering a metal, discovered through studies conducted by Luigi Galvani, considered the father of modern galvanic processes via biological electricity.

In an industrial sense, galvanisation (also termed galvanization) is the process of applying a protective zinc coating to iron or steel to prevent rusting, the most common method being hot dip galvanising, where steel sections are submerged in baths of molten zinc. The key difference between galvanisation and electroplating, is that the electroplating process can be used to apply any suitable metal on an object, whereas galvanisation is used to apply a thin zinc layer on a steel.

We have a flexible planning structure, in order to be able to satisfy all client requests. Delivery times vary according to the type of processing required and are always guaranteed when an order is finalised.

There is no base requirement. We are able to satisfy any request and quantity.

Yes, and we also guarantee effectiveness on time, and with maximum attention to quality control.

Yes, each client will be presented with a precise and transparent price list.

Yes, we have an entire area dedicated to sampling.

It is of the utmost importance to us to protect and safeguard every single item. We in fact carry out all packaging and item protection according to client requests and preferences using both packaging machinery and qualified artisan methods.

Yes, we are committed to satisfying each and every request. Most of our work is customised through markings (for example through lasering), engravings and colouring.

Our Sales Team can be contacted to arrange a demonstration of our facility lines, processing, and to see our plants. You can request this by writing to commerciale@lemgalvanica.com

MATERIALS, TREATMENTS, PROCESSES AND FINISHES

Each accessory is subjected to specific thickness, deposit, colorimetric measurements, as well as humidity chamber and galvanic adhesion tests. Our internal laboratory, LEM LAB, guarantees the deposits of precious materials. In addition, tests are performed on baths and on processes for correct and complete process controls.

The principal materials used include brass, zamak, steel, aluminium, acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (abs thermoplastic polymer) and plexiglass.

Everything we produce is destined for the windows of flagship brands and malls all over the world. We deal with materials for fashion accessories, footwear, leather goods, clothing and eyewear. The innovative technique of X22 (PVD Technology System) has also made it possible to address different sectors, such as prosthetics, glassware, automotive, touch screens and moulds.

We create each finish according to the specific needs of our clients, from the classic types to glossy, satin, sandblasted, or the more sought-after options such as vintage effect, pastel colours and special paints.

The various finishes that we are able to create allow us to offer the effects and aesthetic quality characteristics requested by the client.

The surface finishing of metals is the process that involves the embellishment of the object by means of precious metals through techniques such as static, barrel electrodeposition or sputter deposition. This differs from methods which include painting, enamelling and rhinestoning.

The galvanic, or more appropriately, electroplated finishing, is the process that allows the deposition of precious metals on a surface, such as that of an accessory in order make it unique, smooth, resistant, durable and valuable.

Our facilities offer the client a wide range of treatments including sandblasting, rhinestoning, enamelling, lasering, vintage effects, PVD treatment, welding, binding, melting, assembly, quality control and packaging.

The galvanisation (electroplating) process allows the enrichment and embellishment of an object, making it unique, protecting it, thereby rendering it durable over time.

It is an electrochemical process by which electrically conductive objects (usually metallic) are covered with a thin layer of another electrolytically deposited metal. The operation is carried out in a cell (a galvanic bath) whereby the ‘anode’ is the covering metal and the ‘cathode’ is the item to be covered.

Our Research & Development Team constantly collaborates with our laboratories and our clients in designing, defining and implementing, not only current needs, but also pursue technologies that do not yet exist.

Our facilities are structured in such a way as to guarantee precise and meticulous attention to the client. More than 400 professional employees in the sector, divided into specific departments, are dedicated to every single step in obtaining and delivering the highest quality.

The collaboration between our R&D department, laboratories and the Technical Office, has made it possible to develop innovative, safe and resistant solutions for both options, by ensuring equality between cycles with nickel and cycles which are nickel-free.

During various processes, both basic deposits such as copper, nickel and bronze are used, while other precious materials such as gold, palladium and ruthenium are also used. We are also able to satisfy all types of client requests in terms of the type of deposit and thickness.

If an appropriate method of protecting the accessory is not employed, then the risk exists that it could become damaged during the tanning of the item’s leather parts.

We are able to treat accessories through physical vapour deposition (PVD) for a permanent finish so as to ensure extreme hardness, resistance to wear and corrosion.

It represents the quantity of physiologically non-compliant items in a production process. Our performance means that this is always under 1%.

Yes, we possess a particular barrel plant in the company, unique due to its large size and through which we are able to fulfil requests for minimum quantities, based on the specific needs of our individual clients.

No, the application of transparent varnish is not necessary, but it can be applied at the client’s request, depending on the specific use for which the item is intended.

The galvanic, or more specifically, the electroplating treatment consists of an electrodeposition of metals, while PVD involves physical deposition of the material during the vapour phase of the process.

REGULATIONS AND STANDARDS

The company undertakes to comply with all applicable national and international regulations and guidelines in terms of the environment, health and safety at work.

We have been awarded both the ISO 14001 and ISO 9001 certifications.

Although we provide clients with galvanic deposits according to their specific requests, we are able to supply deposits that comply with all the REACH regulations and the brand requirements for respective metal accessories.

Although the company is not obliged to submit annual communication on conflict minerals, the LEM INDUSTRIES Group has implemented due diligence measures for responsible sourcing of minerals, in compliance with the reporting template of the Conflict Minerals Reporting (CMRT) as created by the Responsible Minerals Initiative (RMI).

FAQ X22

PVD is the acronym for Physical Vapour Deposition, a collective set of processes used to deposit thin layers of materials. It is a family of technologies which allows for the creation of surface layers on an object.

The first studies of phenomena based on PVD date back to the fourteenth century, while the first patent for industrial use was applied for by Thomas Edison in 1892.

PVD is a process of atomistic deposition in which materials are vapourised from a solid or liquid source in the form of atoms and molecules, and transported to an intended destination surface through a controlled setting at low pressure. Once the materials reach the target surface, they solidify to create a molecular bond of extremely durable quality.

To create coatings of thicknesses a few nanometres ‘nm’ (billionths of a metre) to a dozen or so micrometres (microns) ‘µm’. These deposits can consist of pure elements, alloys or composites. It is even possible to create multi-layered or graduated compositions.

Fields of application are diverse. The main uses are for the creation of films of increased durability, resistance to wear-and-tear and against corrosion for applications in manufacturing for the mechanical, aerospace and biomedical industries. PVD technologies are also used in the production of microchips, touch screens, lenses and energy-efficient glass. An emerging field of application includes decorative deposits with optimal properties to ensure mechanical resistance to wear.

PVD enables practically any element on the periodic table, solid at ambient temperature, to be deposited. For decorative applications, base materials including titanium, zirconium and chrome are used, given their intrinsic resistance characteristics to combat corrosion and associated mechanical wear.

In principle, PVD allows the use of substrates of any material which is compatible with appropriate vacuum deposition processes (generally, delicate materials require delicate processes). X-PLATING has optimised its plants and processes to work on steel, brass and zamak.

Items in brass and zamak require a phase of galvanisation prior to PVD deposition. There are no additional steps required in the process where stainless steel is used. It is worth noting that the PVD layer mimics the surface of the item, so any polishing, satinising or sandblasting should be carried out before the deposition stage.

Even though PVD layers are extremely resistant to environmental chemical wear, the structure of deposition, by nature, presents the likelihood of the substrate experiencing corrosion. To avoid this problem, a galvanic barrier layer is applied from which it is possible, if requested, for the item to have a glossy finish.

PVD layering proposed by X-PLATING does not utilise any materials containing irritants or allergens. Furthermore, each developed finish is verified to ensure that the release of metallic by-products is within regulation limits. The majority of materials deposited are validated for application in the medical and food industries.

There are no limitations to the geometry of items to be layered, as long as their dimensions allow them to be inserted in the appropriate processing plant. It’s worth keeping in mind that the actual PVD deposition occurs in the line of fire. In other words, the layer increases only on the exposed surfaces.

The PVD plant consists of a vacuum chamber in which the deposition occurs. In this chamber, there is a carrousel on which items to be treated, are mounted. The carousel provides a cyclic motion allowing all mounted items to obtain a uniform application of PVD. Source inlets which provide the release of PVD material are located on the sides of the chamber.

Once attached to the frame of the carousel, the items are thoroughly cleaned and dried to remove any residue or contamination. The items are then inserted in batches into the PVD plants, after which the air is removed from the vacuum chamber until an atmospheric pressure of one hundred-millionths is reached. At this point, the deposition phase has begun. Once the process is complete, the frame containing the layered items is removed and the plant is prepared for the successive batch.

Deposition usually takes approximately one to three hours to complete. Among a number of factors, the main principle is the type of layer to be realised.

The temperature can vary from ambient levels up to 250°C for decorative finishes. Generally, processes used by X-PLATING require a temperature of between 90 and 100°C.

PVD technology has a reduced environmental impact as compared with other layering methodologies. In particular, the consumption of materials to create depositions and processing residues are extremely limited. In addition, there are no substances used which may present risks to the operators or the environment.

For each batch there are key parameters verified for adhesion and colour of the deposition. Items are furthermore checked individually to verify the absence of defects like blemishes and flaws before dispatch.

Brass and zamak items require a coating by means of galvanic electrodeposition prior to the X22 treatment (PVD Technology System). Since the X22 coatings replicate the surface of the item, it is necessary to proceed with polishing, sandblasting, satin finishing or vibrating before the PVD treatment. It is also required that the articles to be treated arrive free of residues from previous processes such as polishing pastes or oils which could compromise the successful outcome of the process.

These are imposed by the dimensions of the process chamber and by the support frames to which they are fixed. X-PLATING systems can accommodate articles up to 80 cm in length and 15 cm in diameter. In special cases it is possible to exceed the indicated diameter after analysing special frames. However, it is not possible to exceed the indicated height. The minimum dimensions are instead dictated by the possibility of fixing the items to the frames, but there is no minimum limit.

The duration of the treatment may vary according to the material to be deposited on and the substrate to be coated. Treatments on temperature-sensitive materials (such as zamak, for example) may require longer times. Deposits of different materials and colours, require different treatment times which can vary from 1 to 3 hours.

If possible, it is advisable to proceed with assembly after the PVD treatment. Since the deposition takes place in the “line of fire”, it is likely that on a particular mounted part, it might not be possible to cover all of the areas of interest, which may cause shadows. In addition, the washing and preparation of assembled parts can be problematic, leading to manufacturing defects.

The X22 (PVD Technology System) coatings mirror the underlying surface, so it is therefore possible to obtain both glossy and matte coatings according to the preparation of the part. A cleaned and polished surface will be shiny while a sandblasted surface will not.

Yes, X-PLATING has solutions to remove most of the PVD coatings applied. Depending on the material of the item, additional steps may be required after the removal of the PVD deposit to proceed with subsequent processing.

X-PLATING is able to create gold coatings via its systems with shades ranging from light gold (0.5N) to pure gold (3N) in addition to pink gold.

It depends on the material to be deposited on. X-PLATING has optimised its processes, where possible, to allow the simultaneous processing of steel, brass and zamak. If it is required to work on different materials, it is preferable to use a process suitable for the most sensitive material involved.

The thickness of the deposits applied by X-PLATING varies between 0.4 and 3 µm, so they have no influence on the tolerances of the coated item.