PVD coatings

Physical Vapor Deposition

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Ionbond™ PVD coating service

The Ionbond™ PVD process is used for the deposition of coatings made of nitrides, carbides and carbonitrides of Ti, Cr, Zr and alloys like AlCr, AlTi, TiSi on a large range of tools and components. Applications include cutting and forming tools, mechanical components, medical devices and products that benefit from the hard and decorative features of the coatings. The typical process temperature for PVD coatings is between 250 and 450 °C. In some cases, Ionbond™ PVD coatings can be deposited at temperatures below 70 °C or up to 600 °C, depending on substrate materials and expected behavior in the application.

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Advantages of PVD coatings

The coatings can be deposited as mono-, multi- and graded layers. The latest generation films are nano-structured and superlattice variations of multi-layered coatings, which provide enhanced properties. The coating structure can be tuned to producing the desired properties in terms of hardness, adhesion, friction etc. The final coating choice is determined by the demands of the application. The coating thickness ranges from 2 to 5 µm, but can be as thin as a few hundred nanometers or as thick as 15 or more µm. Substrate materials include steels, non-ferrous metals, tungsten carbides as well as pre-plated plastics. The suitability of the substrate material for PVD coating is limited only by its stability at the deposition temperature and electrical conductivity.

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What is PVD coating technology?

Physical Vapor Deposition

PVD is a method for producing metal-based hard coatings by means of generation of partially ionized metal vapor, its reaction with certain gases and by forming a thin film with a specified composition on the substrate.

Sputtering and cathodic arc

Most commonly used methods are sputtering and cathodic arc. In sputtering, the vapor is formed by a metal target being bombarded with energetic gas ions. Cathodic arc method uses repetitive vacuum arc discharges to strike the metal target and to evaporate the material.

Frequently asked questions on PVD coating services

PVD coatings reduce long term costs and increase efficiency. Costs are reduced due to longer-lasting tools and increased cutting speeds and feeds, which results in higher productivity. PVD coated tools can be run with dry or with minimum lubrication (or release agents in the case of forming tools) saving both operating and recycling costs. PVD coatings on mechanicals reduce friction and wear and improve performance and reliability.

Prior to coating, substrates (tools and components) need to be free of any foreign matter, oils and grease on the surfaces that are to be coated, but also in all other areas. The cleaning process is an essential element that determines the adhesion and thus influences the performance of the coated part or tool. All parts are cleaned by Ionbond prior to coating, using a designated process. Ionbond encourages customers to discuss the optimum requirements for their substrates in order to ensure top performance.

The PVD,coating process, is a line of sight process which requires substrates to be rotated in the chamber (from single to triple rotation) in order to achieve the required homogeneous coverage and thickness. Coating of inner diameters in PVD is restricted to a depth equal to the diameter of the opening.

Typical lead times are 3 to 5 days. Test parts and samplings take more time as fixturing and process design is required.

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