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Ionbond UK Ltd Engages in Collaborative Research to Enhance Process Control Capabilities

20 November 2017

Ionbond is pleased to announce that its UK division, Ionbond UK Ltd, in partnership with the Materials and Engineering Research Institute (MERI) at Sheffield Hallam University, has won a 12 month collaborative research project supported by Innovate UK, to help develop and implement new and innovative quality assurance capabilities.

The aim of the project is to develop systems for real-time monitoring of our physical vapour deposition processes to increase the control of vital parameters such as coating thickness, coating composition, coating adhesion and vacuum quality, thereby providing enhanced quality assurance of the coatings we produce for our customers. The additional know-how will enable the business to access an estimated seventy five percent of the untapped market for PVD coatings in high value manufacturing, increasing turnover and supporting innovation in this important sector of UK manufacturing.

The monitoring and control of all process stages – vacuum quality, substrate cleaning and coating deposition – will be undertaken innovatively, using a single technology – optical emission spectrometry. The project will identify and monitor relevant emission lines associated with the separate process stages and use the information gained to control coating composition and identify and signal end points, including the cleanliness of parts prior to coating deposition and the thickness of the coating deposited. The technology will also be applied to condition monitoring of the coating equipment to optimise maintenance schedules, system availability, increasing productivity and efficiency.