PVD Coating System Case Study: Kitchen & bath fixture supplier increases ROI with unique coatings applied in-house
PVD systems apply functional, durable, and decorative hard coatings that improve and add value to parts and products in many industries, including transportation and energy, medical devices, industrial tooling, home
Brasstech (manufacturer of Newport Brass® and Ginger® brands kitchen and bath products) knows what it takes to differentiate from competitors. Operating successfully for more than 30 years, the plumbing fixtures leader first saw a need for higher-quality finishes back in 1989, when it installed its first in-house physical vapor deposition (PVD) coating system.
By 2015, this equipment no longer met the company’s growing needs. Brasstech evaluated finishing options including powder coating, lacquering, e-coating, and electroplating. In the end, the company chose to continue and expand its successful PVD coating options and created a list of requirements for a new system:
- A single system that can apply durable coatings to various
part sizes and geometries in
an array of colors.
- Easy-to-operate equipment with low maintenance
- Attentive customer support
and strong process development capabilities.
- Low operation and maintenance costs as well as efficient use of consumables.
- Minimal changes to the
Making the best decision in PVD coating machines
Brasstech was looking for a single system capable of applying durable coatings to a variety of part sizes and geometries. The machine had to meet volume requirements and be easy and efficient to operate. The company also needed an external resource for new finish development.
Brasstech evaluated available PVD coating systems and found only one that met all its requirements. The system the company chose provided the required throughput and operational flexibility, a superior lower-temperature cathodic arc process, and coating development scientists to develop and test new coatings. The system’s proprietary process could cost-effectively deposit durable, decorative, color-fast finishes on Brasstech products. The system Brasstech chose was the VaporTech® VT-1500™ system (now updated to the VT-1500i™ system).
In addition to the machine’s capabilities, Brasstech felt confident working with VaporTech, a PVD equipment manufacturer with a solid history and installations worldwide. Brasstech appreciated the commitment to helping customers understand costs, determine ROI, and effectively incorporate PVD coating systems into its manufacturing process. Finally, as part of the equipment purchase, VaporTech provided expert services from initial installation and training to continuing service and support.
PVD Coating System Case Study: Higher throughput, higher yield
The VT-1500 was up and running after only two weeks of process and maintenance training for manufacturing plant employees. “Installation went like clockwork,” Brasstech’s plant manager reported soon after, “The VT-1500 is so simple, we had five employees with no knowledge of PVD running the system right away.”
Since installing the VT-1500, Brasstech has incorporated the PVD finishing process into both its brands. For example, the company converted one of its top products from plating to PVD for a harder, more durable finish. The VT-1500 has also increased PVD throughput by 350% and boosted yields by 15%. The company has significantly increased its metallic color options while continuing to match legacy finishes. Most important, these coatings are more scratch-resistant, don’t discolor, and are easy to clean.
Brasstech is so satisfied with its VaporTech system the company is in the process of adding a new VT-Series machine to its operations (the new higher-capacity VT-3000i™).
For higher volume or quickly growing operations, the VT-1500i may be an excellent fit. This system provides approximately 70% of the throughput of our largest production coating system but in a very compact footprint when manufacturing space is limited. With the ability to coat parts up to 100 cm long and 10 high-capacity racks, the VT-1500i is positioned as a high-volume, price competitive coating system for larger manufacturing operations.
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