Resin is a clear gel coating that is applied to a badge, and allowed to set, to create a semi-rigid ‘dome’ over the surface. This not only protects the badge surface but further enhances the look. The resin we use is imported from Italy and is a high quality UV stable mixture that will resist yellowing over time. It is a two-part mixture that is mixed inside a vacuum chamber to assist with de-gassing of the product, and is applied with specialist machinery to enable consistent, accurate dosing. Once applied, the resin is ‘baked’ in an oven for a period of five hours, then left to slowly cool down.
‘Hard’ resin is the standard coating we offer. This is a semi-rigid clear dome that offers the most protection to a badge and is applied to 70-80% of all our product. Standard resin will be able to be dented with heavy pressure from a fingernail, after which the dent will slowly ‘heal’ itself over the next 30 seconds, eventually returning to its original unmarked state. When the design of a badge requires print to go right to the edge, such as background colours(known as an edge-print), we automatically apply a resin coating to protect the edges of the badge from damage under impact.
Here at Crown we are proud to be able to offer our own Flexi-Resin coating, which is a system that allows the resin mixture to cure into a soft, pliable state that still offers the same benefits as regular hard resin. Flexi-Resin is a system developed by Crown and widely used nationwide by healthcare providers, nurses, rest homes and childcare facilities. Badges with a Flexi-Resin coating will not scratch or harm patients when lifting or leaning over them, and is useful for stickers that will be applied to curved surfaces such as vehicles or machinery.
A badge with a Flexi-Resin dome is able to be bent almost right in half and still spring back to its original state afterwards. Once cured into a dome over a sticker, it will more readily conform to curves and contours of any surface it is applied to, which has proven very effective in professional branding solutions. The centre of a car steering-wheel, the side of a cafe coffee machine, exterior panels of company machinery or the curves of a motorbike faring are all applications that Flexi-Resin is designed for.
Stamping vs Casting
Metal lapel pins can be manufactured in large numbers with a high degree of accuracy and repeatability by employing a variety of methods, each with it’s own advantages and drawbacks.
One of the easiest ways to identify a badge or medal as having been stamped is the extremely high definition of detail displayed in the finished product, plus the appearance of 3d curves and contours. A stamped badge is produced by first creating a stamping ‘die’ for both the front and rear of the badge. This step is often performed with CNC machinery, which starts with a block of steel and slowly cuts away metal to leave behind a perfectly formed model. This is then hardened to increase tool lifespan. Dies are designed to be pressed together with a piece of softer stock metal in between, which will then become the badge. Extremely high pressure is applied to the dies which forces the metal into the shape required and cuts it out – sometimes multiple stage dies must be used when the design calls for it.
Manufacturing a badge in this way allows for very high amounts of detail to be displayed, as any mark that is found in the die will transfer perfectly onto the finished product. 3D curves and contours can be easily produced with no blurring of edge detail that would be found in a cast piece. Stamping a run of badges will often be more costly than casting them, but the finished product is of a much higher quality. Setup costs are incurred to have the dies made, but this is a one-time cost as the dies can be kept and re-used thousands of times.
A cast badge is manufactured using drastically different processes, and is often cheaper than a stamped badge. Casting of an object involves first creating a ‘master pattern’ from the approved working drawings. This is achieved by use of CNC machinery or photo-etching methods applied to a soft base metal, often magnesium. Once the master pattern is complete, it must be cut out from the parent stock and cleaned up to an acceptable standard by hand, with the use of needle files, sandpaper and a jewelers saw.
The master pattern then has a mould made with a vulcanizing process, where heat softens the rubber before having pressure applied, which forces the shape of the master pattern into the mould itself. After being split open and having air channels cut in with scalpels, the mould is spun at a high speed while molten metal is added which immediately is forced into the badge mouldings by centrifugal force. Pewter or lead alloys are used for spin casting as they have a low melting point and are slow to solidify, which improves the quality and surface finish of the product. After the badges are cooled, they are removed from the mould and have any rough edges removed before being cleaned up in a rotary or vibrating tumbler with mixed media. Finishing the badges requires electroplating, paint filling, printing and a resin dome if necessary.
The spin casting process is the most cost effective way of producing badges, yet it is not without it’s drawbacks. Badges are split into two levels, an upper and a lower. The lower levels are where paint will eventually fill, and the upper levels will be what is left visible once the badge is complete. 3D designs, curves and contours are more difficult to achieve with this method, and edges will never be as sharply defined as a stamped badge.
A badge can be fixed to the wearer using a variety of methods, and it’s important to know which is the right one for you. Any fixture that is chosen is secured to the back of the badge with a high quality, double sided foam tape that resists breaking loose from impact or tugging, and will not weaken with heat.
A safety pin on the rear of a namebadge or lapel pin is the tried and tested method that hasn’t changed a lot in the last 60 years. The pin is unclipped and a small fold is made in the item of clothing that the pin is to be fixed to. The pin is simply pierced through the fold of fabric and clipped back into place, allowing the badge to remain securely fastened.
Pins are cost effective, simple and the most secure way of fastening a badge in place. The drawbacks are they pierce small holes through the fabric to which they are fastened to – which can lead to problems when wearing a badge on expensive clothing or rainwear.
A magnet is often thought of as the premium solution when it comes to badge fasteners. An elegantly simple design, consisting of a thin strip of steel permanently fixed to the back of the badge and supplied with a powerful magnet. To put the badge on, the magnet is first removed and slid up underneath the top layer of clothing. The badge is then held in the desired location and is clipped back onto the magnet, effectively trapping the layer of fabric between the two, and securing the badge in place.
Magnets are the easiest way to put a badge on, do not damage clothing and are secure enough for most applications where a name badge will be worn. Difficulties can be encountered when trying to apply the magnet onto thick items of clothing, and if given a firm tug they can let go, so are often not recommended for labour-intensive jobs.
Crocodile clips are named after their serrated spring-loaded jaws that resemble that of a crocodile. They are simple to use, safe and the quickest of all badge fasteners to apply – simply open the jaws and clip on! They can be clipped anywhere, to the collar, belt, safety harness, tie, or anywhere else that has an exposed edge. Crocodile clips also come with a safety pin attached as well to allow the badge to be pinned in place if desired.
Plastic or Aluminium
When having a new name badge designed, we offer a few options for the base material. 1.6mm PVC plastic comes as standard, and with a white background this allows us to print direct onto the surface in any colour and not be held back with tinting or other issues. For badges that will have our Flexi-Resin coating applied, a thinner 0.8mm PVC plastic is used that has the same properties yet is able to flex and bend when required.
Metallic plastic name badges are becoming increasingly popular in recent years for providing a more upmarket, premium solution. These consist of a laminated bi-colour plastic material, of which the bottom layer is plain black, and the top layer has either a brushed metallic silver or gold effect to it. This can be a cost-effective way to produce high quality solutions that really look the part.
Traditionally a name badge is either rectangular or square, yet when manufacturing a name badge from plastic, we can laser cut the material to literally any profile shape, which allows us to be able to manufacture shaped name badges.
We also import a range of solid aluminium sheet, in either 0.5mm or 1mm thickness, and a variety of colours and finishes including pure white, brushed silver and gold. Often regarded as the premium solution, an aluminium name badge holds more weight and will be a much longer lasting solution that it’s plastic counterpart. The only drawback is that designing an aluminium name badge is that a shaped profile only becomes feasible with larger orders.