You may love the durability and aesthetics of thin-film finishes and outsource that service but wonder how much it costs to PVD coat your products in-house. We at Vapor Technologies, Inc. (VaporTech®) talk to many manufacturers about physical vapor deposition (PVD) coating and how much PVD coating costs. Some of the most common questions asked about bringing physical vapor deposition (PVD) or diamond-like carbon (DLC) coating equipment in-house are:

  1. What is the cost of the consumables used to process each batch of parts?
  2. What is the throughput of parts in a typical PVD system? How many parts per batch, and how long does it take to process one batch?
  3. What is a typical PVD coating cost-per-part based on this information?

Per-part PVD & DLC coating costs

VaporTech® equipment applies PVD and DLC coatings using the same machine. The coating process for both finishes involves placing parts on vertical parts racks or fixtures and loading them into a vacuum chamber for processing. Our current product line includes a range of equipment sizes, from the smallest VT-1000i™ system (6 parts racks), to the larger VT-1500i™ system (10 parts racks), to the largest VT-3000i™ system (16 parts racks).

Calculating PVD coating costs

For example, let’s figure out PVD/DLC coating costs for a 3-dimensional part measuring less than 6 inches (15.2 cm) on its longest side. To apply a durable decorative finish on all surfaces, we would be able to load 16 parts per rack. The loading capacity may be significantly higher or lower for smaller or larger parts (contact VaporTech for a loading estimate for your specific part type and dimensions).

Estimated PVD cost-per-part

The chart below estimates a typical coating cost-per-part for a durable decorative finish including all consumables. Consumables include electricity, metal “target” material used for coating, and process gases. Note that the process does not generate any hazardous waste streams requiring disposal.

PVD System# Of RacksExample Parts/Rack
(6” part)
Example Parts/Batch
(6” part)
Estimated PVD coating cost per batchEstimated PVD coating cost per part
Small
(VT-1000i™ system)
61696$14$0.15
Medium
(VT-1500i™ system)
1016160$16$0.10
Large
(VT-3000i™system)
1616256$22$0.09

A typical batch requires 1-2 hours for a durable decorative finish and 2-3 hours for a performance wear coating, meaning you can run multiple batches (2 to 6+) in a single work shift. You can clean parts for the next batch and rack them while you coat the first batch to minimize unloading and loading time for high-volume operations.

Low per-part coating costs, increased efficiency, and better quality control are important factors in making the decision to bring PVD coating in-house.

About VaporTech

Vapor Technologies, Inc. manufactures VaporTech® PVD & DLC coating systems. To learn about achieving low per-part PVD/DLC coating costs with our right-sized equipment, fill out our contact form today.

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