Welcome to the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page of Advamat. We are a leading supplier of advanced materials nanotechnology, providing innovative solutions for a wide range of industries. On this page you will find answers to the most frequently asked questions about coatings. If you do not find the answer to your question here, please do not hesitate to contact us. Our goal is to provide the best possible support to our customers and partners.

#1 How does PVD coating work?

In the PVD coating process, the parts are placed in a chamber in which a clean vacuum of approximately 1 mPa is created. Subsequently, a plasma is generated which etches the target materials (targets). The released material hits the substrate and forms either a ceramic or metallic layer. Once the coating is complete, the substrate is removed and the process is complete. For a closer look at the coating technology, see our website PVD Coating Technology.

#2 Why use PVD coatings?

PVD Coatings are characterized by high hardness, excellent corrosion and wear resistance, and excellent frictional properties. These properties ensure long life and reliability of the coated parts.

#3 What materials can be coated?

PVD coating can be applied to a wide range of materials, with the choice of deposition apparatus depending on the specific material:

Tools: Special apparatuses are designed for coating of machining, forming and machine tools. These apparatus are designed to provide high hardness and wear resistance.

Glass: For glass coating, apparatus with fast suction is used, which is important to remove excess gases and achieve a clean coating. This process improves the optical and protective properties of the glass.

Plastics: Coating plastics requires low temperatures and a fast process to avoid deformation of the material. PVD coatings on plastics provide improved scratch resistance and a decorative appearance.

Thanks to different technologies and apparatus, almost any material can be coated as long as the appropriate technology is used, allowing the process to be adapted to the specific needs of different industrial applications.

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#4 What types of material can be coated?

With standard coating, we are limited not only by the shape of the parts, but also by their heat resistance. Some materials, such as some metals, can withstand high temperatures of up to 450-500 °C. In contrast, hardened steels can withstand a maximum of 180 °C and duralumin even less. This limitation is crucial, as temperatures can reach up to 350-400 °C in the normal hard coating process. It is therefore necessary to determine in advance which type of coating is suitable for the material.

Thanks to special HiPIMS technology, we are able to apply hard coatings even at lower temperatures, around 150-180 °C, while maintaining their mechanical properties. This allows us to coat materials that are sensitive to temperature, such as plastics. For plastics, of course, it is necessary to work with even lower temperatures. Even if coated plastics do not have as good mechanical properties as coatings applied at higher temperatures, PVD technology can be adapted to make coating of these materials possible. Read more about HiPims technology here.

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#5 How thick are PVD coatings?

The thickness of PVD coatings is generally in the micrometer (µm) range. For conventional engineering tool coatings, thicknesses between 0.5 and 5 micrometers are typical. For decorative or optical applications, the thickness of coatings can be in the order of hundreds of nanometres. Conversely, for specialty applications, coatings can be over 10 micrometers thick.

In general, the adhesion of the coating to the substrate decreases with increasing coating thickness. Therefore, for applications that require high adhesion, such as machining or forming, the thinnest layer that still meets the required functional properties is preferred, typically in the range of 2 to 3 micrometers.

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#6 Can PVD coatings be applied to all shapes and types of substrates?

Theoretically yes, practically no. The problem with PVD coating is especially the long hollow holes where the coating cannot practically enter. Another limitation is the size, as the process takes place in a vacuum apparatus, which has limited dimensions. The maximum size of the coated parts is therefore determined by the size of the vacuum chamber.

In terms of shape, the effectiveness of the coating depends on the type of equipment. For example, a maximum of five pieces of A4 glass can fit into a drum machine, whereas a flat machine allows a more efficient process. The shape of the part therefore has a major impact on the cost of coating. For coating 2D objects such as glass or sheets of paper, flat equipment is more suitable. Conversely, coating very large parts will require a large platen, which reduces the efficiency of the coating process. For hard coatings, objects with relatively compact dimensions, where the height, width and thickness are approximately the same, are most suitable.

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#7 What are the types of PVD technologies?

The most common PVD methods include arc deposition and magnetron sputtering.

Magnetron sputtering works on the principle of atom-by-atom dusting of material from targets in the plasma. The target material is bombarded with argon ions, which leads to the release of atoms that subsequently hit the substrate.

Arc deposition Arc steaming differs in that it creates an arc discharge on the target, which vaporizes the material in larger groups, which can lead to the formation of droplets.

A table showing the advantages, disadvantages and suitability of HiPims, arc steaming and magnetron sputtering can be found on our website PVD Technology. 

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#8 How does PVD coating affect surface roughness?

PVD coating hardly changes the surface roughness because it covers the surface atom by atom. Think of it like a thin layer of snow on a mountain. If the surface was polished before coating, it will remain beautifully polished afterwards. If the surface has been sanded or had some roughness, it will have the same roughness after coating.

Therefore, the use of PVD coating cannot be expected to improve the surface quality.

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#9 What is the best surface finish in PVD coating for injection moulding?

There are two main strategies for improving mould release:

Sandblasting and coating: This method is ideal if you are working with plastic that is not too flowable or if you are using lower injection pressures. Sandblasting produces a rougher surface which aids in mold release.

Polishing and coating: This method is suitable if you have plastic with good flowability and use high injection pressures. By polishing, you achieve a smooth surface that makes it easier to release the mouldings.

In general, you need to test and find out what chemical interaction between plastics and coatings is best, as there is no one-size-fits-all solution. For example, a CrN (chromium nitride) coating is often better than steel alone, but there may be better PVD coatings for specific applications.

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#10 What are DLC coatings?

DLC coatings are special types of PVD coatings based on carbon. The acronym DLC stands for "Diamond Like Carbon". These coatings combine the properties of diamond, such as hardness and durability, with the low-friction, self-lubricating properties of graphite.

By combining graphite and diamond, we create a structure that is both strong and low friction. DLC coatings include a variety of coatings: some are made purely of carbon, others of carbon and acetylene, and some are doped with various metals.

Choosing the right DLC coating depends on the specific application. Some DLC coatings are suitable for use with oil, others without. Some are used for aesthetic purposes, while others provide protection against abrasion or corrosion.

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#11 What are the types of DLC coatings?

DLC coatings can be primarily divided into doped and undoped:

Doped with DLC coatings: In addition to carbon and residual gases such as hydrogen, these coatings contain metal atoms such as tungsten, chromium or titanium. These metals form carbides in the coating, which provide additional mechanical or chemical properties useful in specific applications.

Undoped DLC coatings: These coatings contain pure carbon in the form of TAC (Total Active Carbon) or ACH (Activated Carbon High). TAC and ACH have very good non-stick properties but react poorly with lubricants, for example. Undoped DLC coatings are characterized by high hardness and low friction, making them ideal for applications where adhesion and wear need to be minimized.

Choosing the right type of DLC coating depends on the specific requirements of the application, such as the need for wear resistance, chemical stability or interaction with lubricants. Learn more about our DLC coatings.

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#12 What is the use of DLC coatings?

DLC coatings are widely used due to their excellent properties such as low friction and high durability. Here are some of the main applications:

Low friction self-lubricating layers: They are used, for example, on gears or bearings where there is a need to minimize friction and extend the life of components.

Parts of injection moulds: DLC coatings are applied to drills or ejectors where it is important to achieve low friction, long life and prevent seizure of parts.

Decorative and protective coatings: They are used, for example, on knives or watches, where, in addition to aesthetic appearance, they also provide protection against scratches and wear.

These properties make DLC coatings ideal for a variety of industrial and consumer applications. Are you interested in our decorative covers?

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#13 How long does the PVD coating last?

PVD coating is generally very hard and corrosion resistant, but its durability depends on the specific use and proper application:

Machining tools: The lifetime can be in the order of minutes, depending on the machining conditions.

Moulds or parts of moulds: The coating usually lasts hundreds of thousands of cycles, which means high durability with repeated use.

Protective and decorative coatings: These coatings can last for decades, providing long-term protection and aesthetic appeal. Find out more about our decorative covers here. 

Proper application and maintenance are key to maximizing the life of PVD coatings.

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#14 What are the anti-corrosion properties of PVD coating?

PVD coatings can be very corrosion resistant, but their effectiveness depends on the correct choice of coating type and the use of appropriate coating technology. Different technologies such as arc sputtering, DC magnetron sputtering or HiPims magnetron sputtering give different results.

HiPims magnetron sputtering achieves the best anti-corrosive properties. Due to the high ionization in this process, the coatings are very dense, free of defects and droplets, which ensures excellent corrosion protection.

Chromium nitride is generally considered the best coating for corrosion resistance. Chrome itself is very corrosion resistant and when combined with the hardness of chromium nitride provides excellent protection. The key is to use the correct technology for applying this coating to ensure its maximum effectiveness. Read about our chrome plating replacement technology.

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Technical and business questions:

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+420 605 512 060

ADVAMAT s.r.o.

Jugoslávských partyzánů 1580/3
160 00 - Prague 6, CZ
Czech Republic

E-mail: [email protected]
Phone: +420 605 512 060

What we do
  • Development of customised coatings
  • Production optimization
  • DLC coatings
  • PVD Tool Coating
  • PVD Parts Coating
  • Tribological coatings
  • Friction measurement
About us

AdvaMat s.r.o. is an innovative company engaged in the production and development of thin films and materials. We apply PVD coatings to increase the life and usability of tools and components. We coat common and special coatings for leading Czech and foreign clients.