Material Compatibility and Process Characteristics

Material & Coating Process Compatibility Guide

Material DescriptionCommon DesignationTypical ApplicationTypical Hardness
Air HardenedA6Form Tools, Stamping58 - 60 Rc
Air HardenedA2, A2SForm Tools, Stamping58 - 60 Rc
Oil/Water HardenedO1, O6, W1Draw & Press Tools58 - 62 Rc
H-SeriesH13, H21, H26Hot Work52 - 58 Rc
M-Series (HSS & HSCo)M2, M4, M42Cutting Tools60 - 65 Rc
Specialty SteelCPM 3V, 9V, 10VStamping & Forming59 - 64 Rc
Specialty SteelVanadis 4, 10Stamping & Forming59 - 64 Rc
Specialty SteelDC-53Stamping & Forming58 - 62 Rc
T-Series (HSS & HSCo)T1, T15Cutting Tools60 - 66 Rc
P-SeriesP20Molds, General25 - 30 Rc
S-SeriesS2, S5, S7Heading Tools56 - 58 Rc
D-SeriesD2, D3, D6Press & Form Tools58 - 62 Rc
CarbideTungsten CarbideInserts, Dies/Punches72 - 82 Rc
Martensitic PH SS17-4, 13-8, 15-5, 465Molds, Medical, General44 - 50 Rc
400 Series SS410, 416, 420, 440Molds, General40 - 60 Rc
300 Series SS302, 303, 304, 316Corrosion ProtectionVarious
Cold Rolled Steel1008, 1010, 1018General71-110 HRB**
Carbon Steel1045, 1065, 12L14General90-210 HRB**
Alloy Steel4140, 4340, 8620, 9310Molds, Gears, General35 - 45 Rc**
Medium Carbon SteelNAK 55Molds35 - 40 Rc**
High Carbon, Low Alloy52100Bearings60 – 63 Rc
Aluminum6061General ComponentsVarious
Beryllium CoppermoldMAXMolds, General35 - 45 Rc
High Nickel AlloysInconel 625 & 718, InvarAerospace, General80-371 HRB
TitaniumTi-6AL-4VMedical, Generalxxx
Al/Zn/Mg Castings *xxxGeneral Componentsxxx
ABS Plastic*xxxDecorativexxx
* - Can be coated only after being chrome or nickel plated
** - these steels will often be case hardened to increase surface hardness

A very good material for the indicated coating process.

An acceptable material for the indicated process; however, there may be some special process modifications required, such as temperature.

Material can be coated with the indicated process; however, possible material stability or composition issues may result. Not recommended.

This material is absolutely inappropriate for the indicated process: do not attempt.

Please Note the Following:

  • Sampling of Materials used in PVD/CVD/TD ProcessesThis is only a sample listing of materials and should not be considered definitive.  Information has been generalized – please contact a Richter Precision Inc. representative regarding your specific application.
  • All parts, regardless of coating process, should be sent to us already heat treated to your required hardness.  In the case of the CVD process, parts will be annealed during coating and then re-heat treated afterward.  However, being hardened prior to coating will reduce stresses and distortion during coating
  • When considering the PVD process, whenever appropriate for the material, we recommend that final draws be > 800° F in order to ensure that no annealing and/or distortion will occur.

Comparison of Coating Process Characteristics

Process Characteristics


Physical Vapor Deposition


Chemical Vapor Deposition


Dynamic Compound Deposition


Processed in a vacuum chamber (10-2 to 10-4 Torr)Processed in atmospheric or vacuum reactorProcessed in a proprietary vessel


Low process temperature (320° to 800° F)High process temperature (1925°F)Low process temperature (100° F)

Deposition Limitations

Line of sight processCoats wherever gases contact the tool surfaceCoats wherever coating media contacts the surface

Bond Type

PhysicalChemical & metallurgicalMechanochemical

Average Thickness

1-5 µm, or .00004-.0002"4-12 µm, or .00016-.00047"0.5-2 μm, or .00002"-.00008"

Material Limitations

Suitable for a wide range of substratesMore limited range of substrates than for PVDSuitable for a wide range of substrates


Ideal for closely toleranced components (+/-.0001)Requires loose tolerances (ex.: +/-.0005 per 1.0" dia.)Ideal for closely toleranced components (+/-.0001)


No heat-treating required after coatingHeat-treating required on steel partsNo heat-treating required after coating

Edge Build-Up

No excessive coating build-upRequires hone on edges due to thicker coatingNo excessive coating build-up

Surface Finish

Coating generally replicates existing surface finishPost-coating polish can achieve good finishesCoating may have slight matte effect

Metal Materials Stacked

Metal Materials Stacked