Physical Vapor Deposition

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At CMC, ceramic coatings are applied using plasma-assisted technology to create nanostructure and nano-layer deposits.

Further improvements to the properties of hard Physical Vapor Deposition (PVD) ceramic coatings are achieved by depositing multilayers and superlattices. These are thin films formed by alternately depositing two different components to form layered structures. Multilayers become superlattices when the distance between the different layers is less than 100Å. Research has shown that multi-layered ceramic coating structures improve: hardness, toughness, wear, corrosion, and oxidation resistance, in comparison to single-layer applications of the same material.


Nano-Arc technology combines plasma ion-assisted and plasma arc-deposition to create high-energy particles for implantation in a nano-chrystalic and multi-layered form, resulting in high-density functional coatings. PVD coatings are deposited under concurrent ion bombardment. High energy ions allow for the deposition of a dense, hard film by supplying the sputtered neutrals with sufficient energy to find a suitable nucleation site and inducing high compressive stress. PVD coatings with a hardness of 1000 – 4000HV increase the hardness of high-speed steel by up to 500%.


A general-purpose coating designed for moderate to high abrasion applications.


Universal high-performance coating for cutting, drilling, milling, reaming, and turning. Also suitable for dry machining.


High-performance coating with high aluminum content and very high heat resistance for dry high-speed machining, especially for hard machining.


Unique coating with an optimum release for forming tools, used for molds and dies, machine components, piercing, and punching.


A conventional carbon nitride coating for interrupted cutting, milling, tapping, stamping, punching, and forming.


A special universal coating with high hardness, heat resistance and low friction coefficient. Suitable for several applications such as milling, hobbing, tapping, stamping, and punching.


A special coating for aluminum and copper cutting tools for drilling or milling.


  • Performed in a vacuum (10-2 – 10-4 Torr)
  • Low substrate process temperature 38°C – 425°C (100F – 800F)
  • Suitable for a wide range of substrates
  • Substrate surface preparation (polishing, de-oxidation, de-grease, US cleaning)
  • Line of sight process (inside pipes – possible with specially designed equipment)
  • Ion source (high energy) and magnetron (low temperature process)
  • Arc evaporator and low energy plasma generator – excellent for functional deposits
  • Strong adhesion to the substrate (bend test, cutting tools)
  • Average thickness: 2 – 5 µm, or (0.00008” – 0.0002”)
  • Maximum thickness 25 µm
  • Ideal for close tolerance components (+/- 0.0001” is achievable)
  • No post heat-treating is required
  • Good for sharp edges – no excessive coating build-up
  • Coat mirror finishes with no post-coating polishing
  • Mature technology – ready for industrial production


Cutting Tools, Punching and Forming

The use of PVD coating for metal cutting is one of the biggest advances in recent industry technology. This process is widely used in applications where a particularly sharp and hard cutting edge is required for optimal performance, such as drilling, threading and end-milling.

PVD coatings on cutting tools are an extremely profitable solution to increasing the lifespan and productivity of materials as well as reducing costs. They:

  • operate faster, thereby reducing cycle times and increasing production volume;
  • are resistant to all forms of wear, including abrasive, crater, built-up edges, and depth-of-cut notching;
  • reduce the need for cutting fluids or coolants, thereby reducing total budget production costs by up to 15%. High-speed, dry machining involves extremely high temperatures. PVD coatings such as TiAlN poses incredible thermal stability, hot hardness, and oxidation resistance, and are able to operate dry or with minimal amounts of coolants;
  • cut extremely hard materials;
  • can be re-sharpened and re-coated; and
  • significantly improve the surface quality of the final product.

Mold & Die Casting

PVD and Plasma-Assisted Physical Vapor Deposition (PAPVD) coatings, when used in the plastic tooling industry:

  • Extend product lifespan;
  • Facilitate easier demolding;
  • Reduce residue and polishing requirements;
  • Increase fluidity and performance of forming material;
  • Lessen wear and abrasion resistance;
  • Shorten cycle time;
  • Diminish mold adhesion;
  • Improve injection pressure, melt flow, and mold filling; and
  • Enable dry or lubricant-free operation.

Automotive industry

PVD, PAPVD, and Plasma-Assisted Chemical Vapour Deposition (PACVD) coatings are used for engines, gear drives, and hydraulic components to reduce friction, thereby reducing both wear and energy loss. High friction causes excessive heating, deformation of plastics, abrasive and adhesive wear (galling), and eventually seizing tribological components. To avoid these problems, light alloy parts are coated with a high-performance, low friction coating (see Diamond-Like Carbon or DLC coatings).

Medical Components

In addition to hardness and adhesion, PVD coatings provide a number of benefits to widely used medical devices. The most significant include:

  • Improved wear resistance;
  • Reduced friction;
  • Biocompatibility;
  • Decorative colours and greater aesthetic appeal; and
  • Chemical barrier against saline solutions and other oxidants.

Titanium nitride (TiN) coating is clinically being used on orthopedic implants for hip, knee, shoulder, and ankle replacements as well as dental implants.


PVD coating has the capability to produce a broad spectrum of decorative and aesthetic colour options. Titanium, Chromium, and Zirconium are the most commonly used materials for decorative coatings.

Questions & Answers

How it works?

Physical Vapor depositions are thin film coatings that are produced in vacuum chambers. The vacuum 10 -2 torr to 10 -4 torr.

The metal vapor is produced directly by arc evaporator, ion source or sputtering and reacts on the component with reactive gas (nitrogen) to form a very hard deposit. Its applied temperature can be as low as 100C with no environmental pollution.

PVD coatings can be single metal nitrides such as TiN, CrN, ZrN or multiple metal nitride as TiAlN, TiCN, TiAlCN.

What are some common Applications for PVD Coatings?

Since PVD coatings are known to enhance the oxidation resistance of a surface, it’s often used in a number of different applications.

Some common applications include: automotive, cutting tools, fire arms, dies and molds, aerospace, nuclear, medical industries.

Who should use thin-film coatings?

Most applications where wear and abrasion resistance are needed will use PVD coatings. Our coating technologies produce superior coatings, harder and more durable as well as appearance-improving, in a wide range of custom metallic materials and colors.

Industries we serve include plastic tooling, automotive, medical devices, cutting tools, firearms, aerospace, nuclear, turbine blade and many more.

Is it hard to integrate coating systems into my operation?

CMC guides customers through the process of integrating our systems into their existing manufacturing process easily and effectively. We have the expertise to recommend the right coating for the application, and work with our customers on various projects, in the time frame it is needed.

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