Types of Enamel
There are three main types of enamel, each with their own unique properties and uses which are explained in detail below. We use all of these enamels in our own UK factory and are here to advise you on selecting the right type of enamel to suit your needs and reproduce your design perfectly.
Traditional Vitreous Enamel
Vitreous enamel is the original enamel used in the trade and the first use of Vitreous dates back to 13th Century BC. In its raw form vitreous enamel starts off in the process as powdered glass which is laid by hand into the badge. It is then fired off at around 1200oc until it melts together and bonds to the metal surface. Depending on the design another colour may be laid in at this point and then fired off again. Once all the areas have been filled and fired off the item is then linished flat and polished to reveal the design below.
Vitreous enamel has a limited colour palette. The dramatically reduced colour palette is due to the removal of and recognition that some harmful substances such as cadmium (which was used to produce vibrant yellows and reds) should not be used in manufacturing processes.
If you need pantone matched colours choose our modern premium hard enamel which is a resin based enamel that produces an equivalent flat high-quality finish to vitreous. Our premium hard enamel is not quite as hard wearing as vitreous, but is absolutely perfect for high quality badges and keyrings.
Vitreous Enamel is the hardest wearing of all the enamel, is weather resistant (often used in car badges) and resists temperature changes.
If you want a traditional authentic finish to replicate an old badge then vitreous is the enamel for you. We would be happy to guide you on what colours are available and if the enamel would be suitable for your purposes.
Premium Hard Enamel
Fake hard enamel, or Durenamel as it’s known in the trade is a resin based modern equivalent of Vitreous enamel. This is our highest quality resin based enamel that produces a superior flat finish to show off your design at its best.
As with vitreous enamel, colour is added and cured in sequence to the badge. The next stage involves linishing the resin down to produce a perfectly flat finish, which is then polished all over and plated in the chosen metal finish.
Exact pantone matching is possible and a special coating can be applied to give the same weather resistant properties as vitreous enamel.
Mid-Range Standard Enamel
Often referred to as soft enamel, our standard enamel is another resin based process. In reverse to to the premium and vitreous enamels, colour is laid in after polishing and plating so the retaining metal borders are higher than the enamel. The resin is mixed with hardener and applied in turn within the retaining lines of the design – think painting by numbers and you’ve got the right idea.
The different levels of enamel and metal really bring items to life and can be used to great effect with modelled designs such as coat of arms badges.
As standard soft enamel is faster and less labour intensive than either hard or vitreous enamel it is always more cost effective.
Epoxy coatings can be used to either give a flat finish to a standard enamel badge or make a thin metal badge appear thicker and increase the perceived value.
We also have a range of specialist protective Epoxy coating which can be used to provide weather and scratch resistance to your item.