Surface Finishes for Injection Molding Parts of Experienced molders

plastic mold structure 1

Surface Finishes for Injection Molded Parts

The right surface finish is critical for enhancing the aesthetics, functionality, and perceived quality of injection molded plastic parts. A wide range of decorative options can be applied either in the mold or through secondary post-molding processes.

Common surface finishes provide textures, decorative effects, branding, wear resistance, sealing, EMI shielding, and other benefits. Smart selection of appropriate finishes for each product adds value and differentiation.

Chinese injection molding suppliers offer extensive expertise with the latest molding and decorating capabilities to achieve premium surface results cost-effectively.

Primary Surface Finishes

Primary surface finishes get applied directly in the injection mold through tailored tooling and processes:

Gloss Polishes

Highly polished mold steel creates reflective, glossy surfaces that show refined quality. Different grits control the degree of glossiness.


Textured mold surfaces impart decorative patterns. Brushed metals, leather, wood grain, and abstract patterns provide unique tactile and visual effects.

Chrome/Metal Plating

In-mold metallization deposits metal particles onto mold surfaces under vacuum. This creates a chrome-like plating effect right in the tool.

In-Mold Labeling (IML)

Pre-formed plastic labels insert into the mold and fuse to parts during injection. This enables high-resolution graphics and custom branding.

In-Mold Painting

Specialized tools spray paint directly into open molds. Pigments thermoset onto surface layers before molding.

Secondary Surface Enhancement

Secondary finishing gets applied after parts have been demolded through additional processes:


Painted coatings in various sheens add colors, accents, and branding. Automated paint lines enable high volume throughput.

Pad Printing

Ink pads transfer decorative images, lettering, logos, and warning symbols onto molded parts. Multiple colors extend capabilities.

Laser Etching

Lasers mark, ablate, or texture the plastic surface. This provides permanent patterns, labeling, symbols, and unique designs.

Vapor Polishing

Chemical vapors slightly melt the surface to smooth mold release texturing and blend away subtle tool marks. This enhances gloss.

Chrome Plating

Electroplating deposits glossy, reflective chrome coatings. Both plastic and metal plating is possible.


Electrolytic oxidization creates colorized metallic finishes. Used for glossy, durable aluminum coatings.

Powder Coating

Charged polymer powder thermally bonds into a colored, protective finish. Provides a smooth, resilient coating.

Specialty Surface Treatments

Advanced finishing creates specialty surfaces with enhanced properties:

Soft Touch Coatings

Rubbery coatings give molded parts a soft, luxurious feel. Available in matte or glossy effects.

Antimicrobial Finishes

Silver ion treatments create antibacterial surfaces for electronics, medical devices, and high-touch components.

Electromagnetic Shielding

Vapor deposited metal coatings block electromagnetic interference (EMI) for electronics.

Wear Resistant Films

Thin urethane, silicone, and epoxy coatings protect molded surfaces from abrasion and chemicals.

UV Protection Films

Clear coatings filter UV light to prevent damage and fading to underlying plastics.

Design and Manufacturing Considerations

Several factors influence surface finish selection and application:

Product function – Technical requirements like wear resistance, conductivity, grip, visibility, etc.

Aesthetic goals – Branding, textures, precision, clarity, color, effects, luxury, etc.

Chosen process – Molding, decorating, secondary steps required to achieve the finish.

Performance needs – Durability, chemical/UV resistance, hardness, flexibility, etc.

Part geometry – Accessibility for decorating complex shapes and hidden areas.

Production volumes – In-mold finishes offer high initial cost but lower incremental cost at volume.

Final costs – Balancing quality with budget constraints.

Experienced China mold maker offers invaluable guidance in selecting and implementing the optimal surface finishes to elevate product value through enhanced aesthetics, quality, and performance. Their broad expertise across the latest molding and decorating methods provides global customers with exceptional design flexibility and process capabilities. Leading Chinese manufacturers maintain comprehensive in-house finishing departments with skilled technicians and the latest equipment.

They stay on the cutting edge of emerging methods and material formulations. These molding partners provide valuable consultations during design reviews to identify the best surface treatments options to meet program goals. Their hands-on knowledge of both injection molding and secondary decorating processes ensures optimal integration and quality execution.

Continuous advancement in plastics finishing enables new innovations in consumer product styling and branding. Relying on expert Chinese injection molding partners provides access to the widest range of surface finishing possibilities.