Contract Coating Capabilities

Contract Coating

With our extensive experience developing and applying coatings, contract coating potentially offers a lower risk and lower cost alternative to developing coating technology in your facility.

Whether it’s a handful of samples for feasibility studies, or short runs for clinical trials, or ongoing production coating, our contract coating services can help to get your new product out on the market faster at a lower cost.

Cathodic Arc Deposition (Arc-PVD)

In 2001, ACS “cut its teeth” in the tool coating industry with an ICM10 tool coating system designed by Isoflux, Inc. As the tool coating business grew, and technology changed, ACS transitioned to the Platit Pi80 cathodic arc deposition systems, and eventually acquired a Platit Pi311 coater. These three cathodic arc units are the production coating systems that handle all of the production work at ACS.

Inverted Cylindrical Magnetron Sputtering Deposition

In 2015, Isoflux shut down its “brick and mortar” PVD coating operation due to a transition in their business model. ACS acquired a few of the Isoflux-designed ICM (Inverted Cylindrical Magnetron) sputtering deposition machines. One of these units is currently dedicated to the VisTa coating process for the radiopaque tantalum coating. Another unit, called the Cyclone™, is set up on the main coating floor as an R&D tool.

Sputtering Coating

sputtering deposition, contract coatingThe Cyclone™ R&D unit is capable of magnetron sputtering of pure metals, plus reactive sputtering from metallic targets to form oxides, nitrides, and carbides. The machine is set up with DC, pulsed DC, and 40 kHz Dual AC sputtering power supplies. Conductive and semi-conductive substrates can be biased and pre-etched with DC or pulsed DC power supplies. Depending on your coating needs, two sputtering deposition motions are available:

  1. Simple planetary motion of the substrates
  2. Z-motion, which allows the substrates to move between the 3 sputtering cathodes to form multilayer stacks of 2 or more coatings


Custom Tailored Film Coating

Sputtering deposition has the capability to custom tailor the resulting film structures. This is possible by independently controlling sputter power, gas flow, sputter pressure, layer thickness, and gas ratios. Film stress can be modified from compressive film stress to tensile film stress by adjusting those same parameters.

Metallic Target Types

We have an extensive inventory of targets in stock to allow many films to be grown. The targets include: Al (aluminum), Cr (chromium or chrome), Cu (copper), Mo (moly or molybdenum) Si (silicon), Ta (tantalum), Ti (titanium), Zr (zirconium), 80Ni/20Cr (NiChrome), NiTi (Nitinol) and Inconel.

Film Coating Types

The films that have been grown include: Al, AlN (aluminum nitride), AlOx (aluminum oxide), Cr, CrN (chrome nitride), CrOx (chrome oxide), Cu, Mo, Si, Si3N4 (silicon nitride), SiOx (silicon oxide), Ta, Ta2O5 (tantalum pentoxide), TaN (tantalum nitride), Ti, TiOx (titanium oxide or rutile), TiN (titanium nitride), TiCN (titanium carbonitride),  Zr, ZrN (zirconium nitride), ZrCN (zirconium carbonitride), ZrO (zirconium oxide or zirconia) NiTi, TiAlN (titanium aluminum nitride), AlTiN (aluminum titanium nitride), Ag (silver), Au (gold), Pt (platinum), Ir (iridium), IrOx (iridium oxide), and Al/Au custom alloys.sputtering coating

Sputtering Coating Applications

While this ICM sputtering deposition machine isn’t capable of traditional production volumes of cutting tools (as are the cathodic arc systems), we have used it to coat low volume productions of: