Answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What is PVD coating? Is it the same thing as thin-film deposition? And what about DLC and CVD?
Thin-film deposition is what all VaporTech systems do: Deposit nanometers-thick metal or ceramic coatings to a variety of metal or plastic parts and products. Thin-film coatings are bonded to the substrate at the atomic level. Thin-film coatings are so thin they have no impact on dimensional tolerance and do not mask desired textures in the substrate. They are fade-resistant, consistent, and outperform other coating technologies.

Thin-film deposition is often referred to as “PVD coating,” but in fact, PVD is only one of several processes that are used in thin-film deposition systems. Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) is another process of applying thin-film coatings. DLC is an extremely durable Diamond-Like Carbon coating type that is created via PE-CVD (plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition) process. Regardless of the type of thin-film coating, the process makes parts and products more functional, durable, and beautiful.

2. Who should use thin-film coatings?
Any manufacturer of metal (or plastic) products can benefit from thin-film deposition for either functional and tribological benefits and/or product durability, aesthetics, and value. Our systems produce superior coatings, harder and more durable as well as appearance-improving, in a wide range of custom metallic materials and colors. Our lower-temperature application offers the ability to coat parts that can’t be exposed to high temperatures, including plastics. Industries we serve include automotive, medical device, home hardware, sports equipment, luxury items, firearms, consumer products, and more.
3. Will my product benefit from thin-film coatings?
Our thin-film deposition systems increase functional performance and offer exceptional hardness as well as scratch and corrosion resistance to improve the function of industrial and commercial parts. We can create the exact coating you need in a wide range of unique metal colors, from true deep black to brilliant blue, to all natural metallic colors and custom-designed variations. VT systems increase your product’s value and streamline your manufacturing process.
4. Which coatings would enhance my product?
Three basic coating types are possible. Pure metal coatings, reacted metal coatings, and diamond-Like carbon (DLC) coatings. Each type has a wide range of applications in industry as well as for durable-decorative products. VaporTech offers its coatings in three categories: VT Decorative™, VT Functional™, and VT Diamond™ (DLC). Our experts partner with you to understand your products and your process to match you with the perfect system and design coatings that meets your exact specifications.
5. Our company is a smaller manufacturer, do your systems scale for different applications?
VaporTech offers multiple systems so you’re only investing in exactly what you need. Each system can use several different processes to meet specific coating needs. Coatings are customized to meet your exact needs. Our systems support multiple coating types, materials, and recipes, rapid conversion to other programs, and meeting both large and small production run requirements.
6. Is it hard to integrate coating systems into my operation?
VaporTech guides customers through the process of integrating our systems into their existing manufacturing process easily and effectively. We provide on-site installation and training for your employees. Unlike a plating line, which requires operators with extensive education to maintain plating chemistry, customers do not have to hire specialized personnel to operate VaporTech’s systems. We also offer ongoing maintenance, services, and technical support.
7. Can I coat plastics with VaporTech deposition systems?
VaporTech’s proprietary Low-Temperature Arc Vapor Deposition (LTAVD) is a lower-temperature technology that enables our systems to coat objects, such as plastic parts or products, that would otherwise be damaged or destroyed by high temperatures. LTAVD offers a center-mounted arc source allowing more distance to the substrate being coated. This technology allows you to add value to your products with durability and beautiful metallic finishes.
8. Can thin-film deposition create chrome finishes?
Thin-film deposition is a popular choice for manufacturers that want to give their parts a chrome appearance and avoid the environmental issues associated with chrome electroplating. VaporTech equipment’s efficient, cost-effective processes deposit a chrome finish, providing the desired look and a longer-lasting finish.
9. How does thin-film deposition affect the bottom line?
Thin-film deposition makes your products function and look better for longer, thus increasing their value. In addition, bringing your systems in-house also saves manufacturing time and reduces related costs.
10. Can I create black coatings?

VaporTech has developed black PVD coating to meet consumer demand, offering a deep, dark PVD color that will not fade or discolor. The black PVD coating process can be tuned to achieve different shades and tints of black. In addition, our VT-Diamond™ (DLC) coatings give you the very current polished near-black and off-black of diamond-like carbon. Our Coating Optimization Program helps you achieve the exact colors your brand needs.

11. What is thin-film coating?
A general term for any functional or decorative finish applied with a vacuum deposition process.
12. What is vacuum coating?
Vacuum coating or vacuum deposition are often used to describe the PVD coating process .
13. What is PVD (physical vapor deposition)?
PVD is a thin-film process where a solid metal or other material is evaporated in a vacuum and deposited on the surface of a part.
14. What is diamond-like carbon (DLC) coating?
A thin-film coating made primarily of carbon with a diamond-like structure, extremely hard surface, low coefficient of friction, and gray to black color. DLC is often deposited using the PE-CVD process.
15. What is PE-CVD (plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition)?
PE-CVD is a thin-film process where elements in a gas (carbon, for example) are deposited on the surface of a part in a vacuum. This process is often used to deposit DLC coatings.
16. What Is magnetron sputtering?
Magnetron sputtering is a vapor deposition method where plasma is created at the surface of a target material, causing ions to bombard the target surface and eject coating material towards the surface of a part.
17. What is a cathodic arc?
Cathodic arc is a PVD deposition method where a high-current electrical arc is applied to the surface of a target, causing the material to vaporize, ionize, and condense on a part.
18. What is a PVD coating system/coating machine?
The equipment required to deposit PVD coatings consists of a vacuum chamber, pumping system, racking system to hold parts, power supplies used for deposition, and a control system/user interface. These systems are known as PVD coating systems or vacuum coating systems.
19. What is the target or source?
A target is the solid coating material before deposition. Different coating systems use various shape targets. Some common target materials include zirconium, chromium, and titanium.
20. What is an adhesion layer?
As part of the PVD or CVD process, a thin metal layer is often deposited on the product to make the coating adhere more effectively to the surface. Vacuum coating equipment will automatically deposit the adhesion layer as part of the coating process.
21. What is reactive deposition?
Reactive deposition is when a small amount of gas is added to a PVD process. The gas combines with the vaporized target material to form a new compound coating. This process can change the coating’s hardness, color, or other physical characteristics. An example would be adding nitrogen gas to chromium deposition, creating a more wear-resistant chromium nitride coating.
22. What Is metalizing (metallizing)?
Also called vacuum metalizing (metallizing), metalization (metallization) uses vacuum technology to coat a non-metal substrate.

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