Thin-film coating for wear protection and decorative coatings
Nearly every object you use has a thin layer of coating to improve its characteristics. Metal and plastic parts are often coated to improve their durability, protect them against friction or simply make them look better.
Decorative coating of plastic and metal parts
Take the automotive industry, for example. Thin layers of special coating materials improve the appearance of plastic parts in car interiors while reducing the vehicle’s weight, as heavy metal parts can be replaced.
There are many more examples that exist outside the automotive industry. Decorative coatings are very common in mobile phone covers, for example. Most covers that look metallic are actually coated plastic. In the cosmetics industry, highly-reflective coating gives packaging a luxurious look which matches the product inside.
Wear protection coating for tools
Have you ever had a good look at your screwdriver (or any of your other handheld tools) and wondered what types of technology have been used on them? Strong, thin layers can harden the surface of your metal tools, protecting them against wear and tear and increasing their lifetimes. Even the drill bits you use in your power tools are coated for better performance.
Vacuum coating with physical vapor deposition (PVD), thermal evaporation or electric ARC evaporation
Thin layers of wear protection or decorative coatings are typically applied via physical vapor deposition (PVD), thermal evaporation or electric ARC-evaporation processes.
These processes all require vacuum conditions between 10-2 and 10-6 mbar, delivered by a variety of vacuum pumps:
Process chamber evacuation: Roughing vacuum pumps ensure a quick evacuation of the process chamber. Explore our fore vacuum pump ranges: DRYVAC, VARODRY, SCREWLINE, POWER BOOST and SOGEVAC, (often combined with RUVAC Roots blowers).
For conditioning, the process chamber is evacuated down to a pressure range of up to 5x10-6 mbar with high vacuum pumps. During the process, these pumps later ensure continuous operation in the pressure range of 10-2 and 10-3 mbar, handling process gases like argon, nitrogen and oxygen.
The high vacuum pumps required for this process often must be oil and vibration-free to keep the environment in the process chamber clean in order to guarantee accurate coatings. Our TURBOVAC i, TURBOVAC MAG and COOLVAC pumps are the best choices for these high requirements.
If the production process is simpler or if very high flows are required, diffusion pumps such as the DIJ and DIP are the perfect choice. Whatever solution you choose, the high vacuum system must have the ability to work continuously for long durations with a high load of process gases.
Reliable and timely maintenance. Coating processes require a lot from your vacuum pumps, so you’ll want to make sure they stay in optimal shape. Choose a quality pump and schedule regular maintenance to help keep your production up and running.
Install process control solutions. To ensure the highest quality and performance of your vacuum deposition process, you’ll need accurate vacuum measurements. At Leybold, we provide durable process gauges to cover all possible pressure ranges.
Build an integrated system. Whatever coating process you’re running, you’ll need multiple pumps working together. As such, you should choose pumps that are designed to efficiently work together. PLCs or controllers can ensure that all equipment integrates seamlessly for a smooth production process.