PVD Coatings - Physical Vapor Deposition

Richter Precision Inc. is North America's preeminent PVD coating company. For more than 30 years, our coatings have been helping customers realize the full potential of their tools, thereby improving the efficiency and profitability of their manufacturing operations.

What is PVD coating?
Physical Vapor Deposition, or PVD, is a term used to describe a family of coating processes. The most common of these PVD coating processes are evaporation (typically using cathodic arc or electron beam sources), and sputtering (using magnetic enhanced sources or "magnetrons", cylindrical or hollow cathode sources). All of these processes occur in vacuum at working pressure (typically 10-2 to 10-4 mbar) and generally involve bombardment of the substrate to be coated with energetic positively charged ions during the coating process to promote high density. Additionally, reactive gases such as nitrogen, acetylene or oxygen may be introduced into the vacuum chamber during metal deposition to create various compound coating compositions. The result is a very strong bond between the coating and the tooling substrate and tailored physical, structural and tribological properties of the film.

In addition to our standard TitankoteT PVD processes, we also provide several proprietary PVD coating processes to meet our customers' needs. Each of these processes represents a family of specific PVD coating compositions (TiN, TiCN, etc) that are processed in order to benefit specific applications.

Proprietary PVD coating processes include:
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Featured Coating Composition:
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DLC Coatings

Although all of our PVD coating compositions have some variation in their properties in order to augment their performance in specific applications, there are two main properties that are fundamental to all of our coatings:  high micro-hardness and lubricity. 

The average relative micro-hardness of our PVD coatings go well off the Rc Scale, but can be extrapolated to be well over 80 Rc.  When this hardness is compared to 58-62 Rc of tool steel, 62-65 Rc of HSS, or 70-76 Rc of cemented carbide, one gets a clearer picture of the comparative hardness of our coatings.  This higher hardness gives cutting tools, forming tools, and wear components much greater protection against abrasive wear.

As for lubricity, the Coefficient of Friction of our coatings is significantly lower than un-coated tool substrates.  This low Coefficient of Friction means that tools work with less force due to reduced resistance between the tool and the material being worked.  This also means that PVD coatings can reduce the tendency of materials to adhere:  this reduces friction and allows for more unrestricted movement.

For example, this is what PVD coatings can do to improve the performance of a cutting tool, such as an end mill or a drill:

  • The high micro-hardness provides excellent abrasion resistance, and allows the cutting edge to stay sharper for longer
  • The lowered Coefficient of Friction means there is less resistance during the cut; therefore, less heat is generated – heat build-up being another major factor in cutting edge break-down
  • The lowered Coefficient of Friction also means the chips generated during the cutting process are evacuated more efficiently; therefore, the heat that is generated does not have as much time to transfer from the chip to the tool – more heat stays in the chip
  • The lowered Coefficient of Friction will reduce machining noise and the load placed on spindle motors
  • The lack of chemical affinity between various coatings and work pieces will reduce material “pick-up,” another leading cause of cutting edge breakdown.  For example, when cutting titanium with a ZrN coated end mill, the titanium has no chemical affinity towards ZrN; therefore, you will experience almost no “pick-up.”
  • The lowered Coefficient of Friction creates a free-cutting tool – this may reduce or eliminate burrs and help to improve the surface finish or machined parts

Since every customer’s application is different, we invite you to contact Richter Precision Inc. for more information.  Our experienced sales representatives would be pleased to help you make the appropriate coating selection for your particular requirements.
Main Office: 1021 Commercial Ave. - P.O.Box 159 - East Petersburg, PA 17520 USA | Phone: (717) 560-9990 | Fax: (717) 560-8741 |
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