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What is Hydro Dipping Film?

Hydro Dipping Film Basics

The film used in hydro dipping produces a quality and custom finish for any OEM parts. Special inks are printed onto a large roll of Polyvinyl Alcohol (PVA) film. This clear film is water-soluble, which means it will start to break down when floated on water and the activator chemical is applied.

Hydro dipping is the process of decorating an item with complicated or precise patterns by dipping it into water with a film floating on top. The graphic or pattern on the film adheres to the part perfectly and completely, no matter its shape. But how does the hydrographics film actually work? Let’s break it down.

Hydro Dipping Film Details

Hydrographics film generally comes in ½ m (19.7”), 1m (39.4”), and 1.3m (51.2”) widths. These widths allow us to use the film in the most efficient manner to decorate products for multiple industries. FinishTEK has the ability to dip any OEM part from the size of a cell phone up to ATV fenders. With our robotic dipping arms and tanks that accommodate parts 1 meter wide up to 2 meters long, Finish TEK can handle large parts and large production runs.

How is Hydro Dipping Film Used?

Before the film makes it to the dip tank, our experienced technicians inspect the film closely for any imperfections. Once it passes our quality testing, the printed hydrographic film roll is mounted at one end of the dipping tank. The film is pulled across the water to the size needed

to decorate the OEM part being dipped.

The pattern is printed on a dissolvable substrate of P.V.A. A liquid activator spray is applied to this film. This breaks down the PVA backing on the film, leaving only the ink which slowly softens as it re-wets. The part is lowered slowly from above and dipped into the tank, through the remaining ink. The dissolved PVA is then washed away, leaving the decoration on the part.

How Does Hydro Dipping Film Create a Perfect Finish?

Although the ink on the film is essentially liquefied after the PVA is dissolved, it still retains the crisp colors and lines of the pattern. As the part enters the water, the surface tension pushes the ink against the surface, hugging every curve and angle while leaving no bare spots behind. This is how any three dimensional part can be decorated  using hydro dipping.

As an industry leader in hydrographic decorating for OEM parts, FinishTEK uses only the highest-quality hydro dipping film for our applications. If you need decoration with custom patterns for your OEM parts, then call us today!