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Surface Solutions Segment

35 years ago, Oerlikon Balzers ushered in the era of physical vapor deposition (PVD) hard coatings with its BALINIT brand. These kinds of coatings, which fundamentally change the surface properties of materials, are only 5 micrometers thick or 10 times thinner than a strand of human hair. At the leading trade show for metalworking, the EMO in Hanover, in September 2013, the Segment showcased its new generation of coatings, BALIQ, which has better properties and allows for tailored, application-specific solutions.

BALIQ is based on S3p technology (scalable pulsed power plasma). The process brings together the advantages of coating technologies, such as arc evaporation and sputtering. Due in part to the high ionization level, the coatings are distinct with their extreme density, hardness, adhesive quality and resistance to wear and tear, while being extremely smooth. This combination is a new innovation in thin-film technology.

It opens up completely new fields of application for coatings. Until now, it has not been possible to coat, for example, microdrillers or microcutters, as they are too small for the post-treatment that was necessary with the previous process because drops formed on the surface. The extremely smooth surfaces of BALIQ eliminate the need for this post-treatment. In the future, this coating will also extend the service lives of these cost-intensive tools by a factor of 30. Thread machining tools will also last 300 % longer thanks to the application of coating materials that had previously not been possible.