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Physical Vapour Deposition based processes


A view of the PVD process sputtering

What is PVD coating?

PVD (Physical vapor deposition) is a technique for creating extremely hard and very thin coatings of a few thousandths of a millimeter.

PVD coatings improve the performance and durability of precision components in almost any industrial and consumer good and extend the life of tools used in the metal and plastics processing industries.

How does the PVD process work?

PVD coatings are applied in self-contained systems of different sizes. In the PVD process, a high-purity, solid coating material (metals such as titanium, chromium, and aluminum) is either evaporated by heat (arc evaporation) or by bombardment with ions (sputtering). At the same time, a reactive gas (e.g., nitrogen or carbon-containing gas) is added. The gas forms a compound with the metal vapor, which is then deposited on the tools or components as a thin, highly adherent coating. The process is carried out under high vacuum and, in most cases, at temperatures between 150 and 500 °C. A uniform coating thickness is obtained by rotating the parts at a constant speed around several axes.

The coating properties, such as hardness, structure, chemical and temperature resistance, and adhesion, can be precisely controlled by the choice of metal and gas.

PVD processes include Arc evaporation, Sputtering, Ion plating, and Enhanced sputtering.

In addition to the commonly known PVD processes, Oerlikon Balzers also offers several in-house developed processes.

PVD Applications

Precision components in vehicles, aircrafts, machines, medical technology, semiconductor technology, power generation and in many other devices are coated with PVD coatings to enable them to function more reliably, powerfully, and efficiently. The result is a reduction in friction and an increase in service life, which contributes to sustainability.

Coating cutting and forming tools with PVD used in machines for manufacturing products significantly increase their service life and performance compared with uncoated tools and save on valuable raw materials, minimizing the environmental impact and helping to preserve natural resources.

The key to the success of PVD coatings is finding the right coating solution for a specific application. For tools and components subjected to friction and wear, the first step is analysis of the entire tribological system — the parts and their required materials, the desired surface finish, the environment, and wear mechanism.

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