Swatkins Silverware FactoryPosted on Feb 20, 2020
Swatkins Group Ltd is very proud to be designing and manufacturing world-renowned Trophies, Awards and Silverware in our fully functional purpose-built factory, in Great Britain.
In our 15,000 square foot bespoke built factory, we proudly complete all processes of production. We manufacture all our signature Trophies from base metal to the finished article. From Sterling Silver Trophy Cups to Silver Plated Salvers – we are proud to manufacture many of the world’s most famous awards in our premises.
Factory Production Processes
Our handmade Trophies, Awards and Silverware are crafted in England using traditional manufacturing methods such as, metal spinning, hand chasing, soldering, hand polishing, silver, nickel and gold plating and hand finishing.
Manual spinning involves forming a sheet metal blank over a rotating pre-determined steel tool on a lathe.
Manual spinning is a real craft. The expertise of our spinners has a major influence on the end result of the shape of the Trophy Cup body, stem and foot. Spinning is a cold-forming technique and our spinners must know exactly how much tension can be applied at each progressive stage.
We do not use any automated machinery to spin our Copper, Brass or Sterling Silver products.
Hand chasing is a means of hand stamping a pattern onto the outer surface of metal using hammer and chisel. Hand chasing causes the metal to indent, allowing the pattern from the tool to emboss the metal. We are proud to also carry out Repoussé work. Hand chasing and repoussé work hand in hand, they differ only slightly – repoussé is the reverse method by hammering the metal from the reverse side giving a debossing pattern.
Repoussé work has ancient heritage, originating back in the Bronze Age. These techniques rely on highly skilled craftsmen and women, a traditional method of stamping metal that has been passed down through the generations.
We hand chase onto many different materials, particularly copper, brass and sterling silver. We have an extensive range of hand chasing tools with different markings, meaning we are able to stamp most patterns, logo’s and images onto our Silverware.
Soldering is a process of connecting two pieces of metal together by melting a filler metal (solder) into the joint. The solder has a lower melting point than the metal parts, meaning the solder liquidizes first with heat application. We use flux in the attachment process, which serves 3 different purposes. By removing any oxidized metal, dirt and oil from the surfaces that are being soldered, by sealing out air and finally improving the wetting characteristics of the liquid solder.
We most commonly use soft solder on our brass and copper connections such as our centres, connectors and handles. For sterling silver, we use hard silver solder – an alloy containing silver.
Polishing is a buffing process that smooths a products surface. We enhance the finish of the product by pressing the product against a coated buffing mop on the rotating lathe. Polishing requires years of experience and it’s a technique that requires a lot of practice to master – especially with Swatkins Silverware products.
Silver, Nickel & Gold Plating
Electroplating is a process that involves placing a thin coating of either Silver, Nickel or Gold onto a product made from different types of metal. We typically plate on Copper, Brass and Aluminium. We use a chemical electrolyte solution that contains the anode (Silver, Nickel or Gold positive electrode) and the cathode (Product we are plating – negative electrode.) The anode and cathode are submerged in an electrolytic bath and a direct current of electricity is passed through the solution. This current causes the metal in the anode to oxidize, allowing the metal atoms to dissolve in the electrolyte solution as positive ions. The current then causes the metal ions to move to the negatively charge cathodic surface, plating our product.
We are recognized worldwide for our supreme silver products, however plating also provides other benefits. It forms a protective barrier and improves the hardness of the base metal of our products. It builds thickness through the progressive use of thin layers and also, most commonly it alters the appearance of the base metal. Plating lends aesthetic appeal without exorbitant costs of a solid precious metal product.
We have a fully functional plating shop at Swatkins and we are proud to have exceptionally skilled team members that ensure each process is carefully carried out to ensure quality is our number one priority, meeting every health and safety standard required.
The ‘Bright Shiny Mirror Finish’ – the Swatkins world recognized trait. Finally, in our production line is our hand finishing department whereby our skilled craftsmen buff a product by pressing against various mops. On a rotating lathe is a sisal mop, we apply a buffing compound to begin and buff the entire surface of the product. We then use a white stitched mop that increases the shine and smoothness of the product and then finally we use a calico mop with a white compound to give that bright shiny mirror finish.
Having these facilities means we can cater for most of our customer’s needs, whether it’s a Bespoke Trophy or a stock product. We work with Sterling Silver, Nickel, Aluminium, Acrylic, Glass, Crystal and Brass as standard. If you have your own material in mind, Swatkins are able to turn your design ideas into a reality. We are constantly updating all of our machines, systems and learning to work with new materials.
With all of our processes being in-house, our customers benefit from extremely short-lead times as we control every process. Our state-of-the-art technology and machinery means no job is too big or too small for us to complete. Our clients can be confident they are purchasing a superior product, hand crafted with only the finest materials. We have an expert team of skilled craftsmen and women whom are dedicated to produce an award that anyone would be extremely proud to receive. We all work together to form a brand recognized as a world-renowned Trophy & Awards manufacturer.
Interested in our manufacturing process? Visit our Youtube channel to learn how our Trophies, Awards and Silverware are hand crafted here in Great Britain.
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