PVD coatings: Physical vapour deposition

PVD – acronym for Physical Vapor Deposition – is an environmental friendly high vacuum coating technology for thin film deposition on different kinds of base materials in plasma atmosphere. During the process, inside a vacuum chamber, different metals – like titanium, zirconium and chrome – are vaporized and then condensed on the product’s surface creating the desired coating.

PVD coating is particularly recommended for innovative high quality products which require excellent chemical and technical features (like high hardness, resistance to abrasion, scratches, and corrosion) and, at the same time, offers a wide choice of colors. There are two different coating families: TECHNICAL PVD and DECORATIVE PVD.

PECVD and DLC Coating

PECVD – acronym for Plasma Enhanced Chemical Deposition – is another envirinmental friendly technology for high vacuum thin film deposition. In PECVD the coating material is contained in gas or vapor (precursor) molecules, those are cracked by the plasma action and the material become available for deposition. 
For example, a classic coating with PECVD technology is DLC, Diamond Like Carbon.

DLC Coatings

DLC is an innovative coating with high Carbon bonds sp3 (diamond like) where the Carbon comes from the plasma cracking of a hydrocarbon gas. DLC is used in different applications to increase, for example, abrasion resistance. Moreover, other important characteristics are high hardness, low friction coefficient and high performances in corrosive ambient. There are different DLC coating families depending on applications.

Technology

All Protec S.T. machines are made accordingly to the highest modernity and efficiency standards assuring innovative technology and low ownership costs, at the same time.
Protec S.T. has achieved know-how for many industrial appliance due to our broad experience in R&D and in direct job coating production.

Thanks to our machines’ high flexibility, it is possible to integrate different technologies.

  • Cathodic Arc Evaporation (CAE)

    Cathodic arc process is the most used in PVD coating. In this process a glow discharge runs on the solid metal (target) surface causing evaporation of metal. Evaporated highly ionized metal re-combines with process gas (in plasma form) to create a thin film deposit on products rotating inside the vacuum chamber. CAE target can be circular or rectangular.

  • Magnetron Sputtering (MS)

    In MS argon gas accelerated ions impact on a solid metal (target) causing ejection (evaporation) of material by mechanical action. Also in this case evaporated metal can recombine with process gas (in plasma form) to create a thin film deposit on products rotating inside the vacuum chamber (reactive sputtering). There are different possible Magnetron Sputtering configurations: Balanced Magnetron Sputtering, Dual Magnetron Sputtering (DMS), Dual Pulsed Magnetron Sputtering, Unbalanced Magnetron Sputtering (UBM), RF Magnetron Sputtering, HIPIMS, etc. depending on the power source and magnetic field configuration. Target geometry can be planar, circular or in some cases also cylindrical.

  • Plasma Beam Source (PBS)

    Plasma Beam Source is mainly used for PECVD coatings. Thanks to this technology, the plasma is denser and more energetic to obtain higher quality coating.

    Advantages of Plasma Beam Source:

    • Higher quality and uniformity
    • Lower temperature
    • Innovative gas or vapor (precursors) utilization 
    • Coating less tensioned and higher thickness possible
    • Higher coating speed compared to standard PECVD