What is flocking? Flocking is a method of applying very short (2-6 mm) fibers, called flocks, onto a substrate such as cloth, foam or film coated with adhesive. Millions of these fibers are loaded into an electric field that ensures that all the fibers align vertically, creating a smooth textile surface.
All adhesives used for flocking are of high quality, so the resulting surfaces are very durable and resistant to abrasion. Changes in fiber thickness and length result in different surface structures, from velvety smooth to abrasively hard.
Most types of flocking made around the world use finely chopped natural or synthetic fibers. Flocking is an inexpensive method of making imitation extra yarns.
Natural or synthetic fibers such as cotton, rayon, nylon and polyester can be used depending on the specific end use.
In principle, any textile fiber can be used for flocking. However, depending on the area of \u200b\u200bapplication, certain materials have been established as the standard.
wallpaper with flock
Flocked products can be washable, dry cleanable, fire retardant, water repellent, stain resistant or light resistant, depending on the specific requirements of each.
The characteristic is often related to the capabilities of the products. These include:
- Decorative and visual applications (walls, coverings, jewelry, clothing).
- Friction modification.
- Soundproofing and isolation (music studios, vacuum cleaner body).
- Thermal insulation and thermal stability (blankets, upholstery, curlers).
- Increased surface area for evaporation and filtration (building panels, humidifiers).
- Liquid retention or splashing (paint varnishes, makeup applicators).
- Buffering and polishing (jewelry packaging, lamps and ornaments).
- Gasket and protection.
Like any technology, flocking also has several limitations. Very fine lines and contours are difficult to achieve with this technology. Especially long fibers tend to swell and make it difficult to produce sharp edges. Therefore, small letters and very delicate motifs should be avoided. If they are required due to design features, the motif should be flocked using short fibers.
Typically, fibers are available in a variety of colors, but during electrostatic flocking, only one color can be processed at a time. Therefore, multi-colored motifs are possible, but due to the high workload and associated costs, they are rarely used. In contrast, color gradients are unlikely to be achieved.
Flocking as a business
Still a rare, but very promising business idea, this is flocking – turning any surfaces into velvet / plush ones. Moreover, this business will require a minimum of investment and will recoup the initial costs in a short time.
The main criteria for a home business are minimum financial investments, full payback in a short period of time and the possibility of arranging a workplace right at home (in the garage, in the country). At the same time, in the future, if such a desire arises, there should be an opportunity to expand your business (almost indefinitely). Flocking is a business that meets all these criteria.
According to the most professional flock manufacturer, the flocking process itself is the application on almost any surface of small, fleecy fibers of cotton, wool, flock, velvet, etc., using an electrostatic field. This is done using a specialized device – a flocator. The principle of operation is quite simple – the generator generates a small voltage, which in turn is applied to the electrode.
As a result, the charged flock flies out with a given force and is evenly distributed over the surface. In order for the pile to firmly adhere to the material and to form the necessary patterns, the surface is covered with glue. The most suitable in terms of price, quality, and ease of use are Russian-made manual flokators. The choice must be made based on the power of the device. Another important point is that the power must be adjustable, then the flokator is suitable for processing small parts and for large flat surfaces.
The second most important component for flocking technology is glue. It must be purchased depending on which surface you plan to use: plastic, glass, metal, as well as soft items, such as upholstery for furniture, etc.
And finally, the flock itself, and here just the Russian one will not work. It can be different:
- simple, different colors;
- glowing in ultraviolet light;
- for nail design;
- polyester, water-repellent.
The whole flocking process is quite simple:
- The choice of the product and the drawing on it.
- Applying glue to the details of the drawing.
- Flock application.
- Allow the glue to dry.
- Repeat everything with another part of the drawing and a different color.
It is very important that everything looks as neat as possible, especially on small details, and this will take a lot of practice.
Where flocking is applied
The scope for application of flock coating is unlimited. These are various small souvenirs (lighters, boxes, boxes, toys, etc.), doors (wooden and metal), Clothes (inscriptions and drawings), Refrigerators, cell phones and cases for them, laptops, tablets, system units for computers and many other things.
The main category of application (and the most profitable) is cars. You can flock all the plastic parts of the interior, trim, panel. Not only is it incredibly beautiful, but also practical: noise and heat insulation is increased. As a result, the car will be transformed beyond recognition. But there is a small nuance here – it is necessary not only to imagine what flocking technology is, but also to understand cars (or find an assistant who understands cars). After all, the parts on which the flock will be applied must be dismantled, and later installed in place. It is not recommended to apply the material to parts that have any defect: chips, scratches, cracks. All this must be leveled, eliminated. In the future, the flock will simply preserve the part and it will not crack either under mechanical or thermal exposure.
How to start a flocking business?
You will have to start with the purchase of equipment. Residents of large cities in Russia can buy flokator, glue and the material itself in their city, but those who are less fortunate will have to make regular orders on the Internet. Further, a room is needed, since the flocking glue has an unpleasant odor and dries for a long time. The room must be dry and relatively warm. A grounding table is required. Ventilation (at least primitive) is required. Good lighting is also an important part of setting up a workplace. In general, as with any business, a minimum investment is required at the initial stage.
And the last thing is practice. The creative component will help you find many options for using flock, but the technology will have to be studied in practice and on your own. Different types of material imply different pile lengths, different densities, different application patterns. It will be much easier to paint a regular bottle of champagne with a flock than a photo frame with many small details or a car panel, where the coating should be not only beautiful, but also durable. It will take time to learn all this.
Development prospects in flock business
Flocking is the kind of business where there are practically no limits. Having learned how to make simple coatings, you can start decorating your car. Nowadays, wall repair with flock application is in vogue. The material well hides all wall imperfections, is pleasant to the touch, is not subject to fading, moisture, mechanical stress, etc. Did it work? Fine. The next step is mastering 3D images. This is aerobatics, you will need additional equipment, but it’s worth it.
Having mastered the creative component and production technology, becoming a flocking master, it is time to move on to selling products or services. There are several ways:
- Offer finished products to various stores. This is the most time consuming way to sell. « Peddlery » has always flourished in Russia, but in the modern trading world it is irrelevant.
- « Word of mouth ». Perfect if you work with car dealerships. In this area, highly qualified craftsmen are appreciated like nowhere else, and it does not matter whether it is a mechanic or a decorator. Not much time will pass and there will be no end of clients.
- Organization of Internet sales. Now it is not difficult to create your own website and upload photos of your products. If the business is supposed to be small, home, then products can be prepared exclusively to order.
If you intend to trade your flock-covered crafts via the Internet, then you will not need to spend either on advertising or on posting information about them on the Internet. Specialty services usually earn a percentage of the sale, here is a list of the most popular ones:.
Despite the fact that flocking is a business with a minimum investment, if you intend to make money not only on the Internet, but also in your own city, you will have to spend money on advertising, at least at the initial stage, in order to attract the first customers.
The sequence of technological operations (Fig. 5.3) performed in the production of electroflocked materials is quite simple. First of all, the product on which you want to create a pile surface is prepared for the electroflocking process. To eliminate irregularities or to prevent the penetration of glue into the pores of the material, its surface is pre-primed (applies to materials such as wood, chipboard, fiberboard, plywood, gypsum, etc.) If the surface is smooth and without feathers, then there is no need to apply the primer … After that, on the surface of the base prepared in this way, the previously prepared glue is applied in a solid plate or in the shape of a pattern. Then on the uncured surface of the glue, fibers are applied using the forces of an electric field, which form a pile on it. The flock charged by the electrostatic field flies and digs into the adhesive base perpendicular to the surface. It is important to start flocking no later than 3-4 minutes after the glue has been applied, otherwise a film of glue with a changed surface tension will form on the surface. which makes it harder for the flock to stick to the glue. Regardless of the complexity of the product and the method of flocking, it is necessary to ensure a good electrical contact between the ground loop and the adhesive layer.