PVD coating, or Physical Vapor Deposition coating, defines a variety of vacuum coating methods. These coating techniques are used to apply an extremely thin film to objects that require protective barriers, decorative colors, or various other functional benefits.
How does PVD Coating Work?
PVD coating vaporizes specialized materials through a high tech vacuum process. The vaporized material is deposited as a thin layer on selected objects. When a reactive gas, such as nitrogen, oxygen or a hydrocarbon-based gas is introduced to the metallic vapor, it creates nitride, oxide, or carbide coatings as the metallic vapor stream chemically reacts with the gasses. PVD coating must be done in a specialized reaction chambers so that the vaporized material doesn’t react with any contaminants that would otherwise be present in the room.
During the process of PVD coating the process parameters are closely monitored and controlled so that the resulting film hardness, adhesion, chemical resistance, film structure, and other properties are repeatable run to run. Various PVD coatings are used to increase wear resistance, reduce friction, improve appearance, and achieve other performance enhancements.
In order to deposit high purity materials such as titanium, chromium, or zirconium, the physical process of PVD coating utilizes one of several different methods, including:
- • Arc evaporation
- • Thermal Evaporation
- • Sputtering (the bombardment of ions)
- • Ion Beam Deposition
- • Ion plating
- • Enhanced sputtering
Each of these methods belong in the overarching category of “physical vapor deposition.”
The Advantages of PVD Coating
PVD coating is a good option for applications that require an extremely thin functional coating. PVD coating processes deposit a layer of high density material that’s only a few microns thick. Once applied, the coating is nearly impossible to remove, and won’t wear off on its own. Additional benefits include:
- • Clean, polished appearance when applied over a polished surface
- • Uniform, matte appearance when applied over a matte surface
- • Suitable for tiny, intricate parts, such as medical devices, watch pieces, micro tools
- • Dimensional changes are minimal due to the thinness of the coating
- • Resists damage caused by salt and other corrosive materials
- • Offers a long-lasting, tough exterior that is scratch resistant
- • The process to apply PVD coating is completely eco-friendly
- • Precious metal coatings can be applied cost effectively
Do you have pieces or parts that need a protective or decorative coating? Contact us if you have any questions and we’d be happy to chat!