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Vacuum coating

Transforming surfaces for enhanced performance and increased longevity. With coating under vacuum.

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What is the role of vacuum in coating?

Vacuum coating is carried out in a vacuum chamber. Medium or high vacuum is applied to the chamber for the evacuation of any contaminants, such as oxygen and nitrogen. This creates a clean environment.
Vacuum coating is used to form layers ranging from a thickness of one atom up to a few millimeters.

Depending on the vacuum coating process, a reaction gas or solid raw material is vaporized and deposited on the surface of a substrate. Vacuum coating is used to form layers ranging from a thickness of one atom up to a few millimeters. Multiple layers of different materials can be combined to form optical coatings. This type of coating is designed to manipulate the transmission, reflection and absorption of light in order to enhance optical performance or achieve specific optical properties.

Our product range offers a large number of different vacuum solutions for coating processes. From individual pumps and complete vacuum systems.

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What is vacuum coating?

Vacuum coating, also known as thin-film deposition, is a process where thin layers of material are deposited under vacuum on the surface of a substrate. From metal to wood, plastic, and leather. Coatings help protect against wear, friction, heat, and other harsh conditions.

Which vacuum solutions from Busch are suitable for coating processes?

COBRA and R5 vacuum pumps, in combination with PUMA/PANDA vacuum boosters, meet the requirements of vacuum coating processes. We provide individual vacuum pumps as well as complete vacuum systems. Several factors should be considered when selecting the appropriate vacuum solution for your process.

To find out which vacuum pumps fit your needs best, use our product finder to compare our matching products or get in touch with our Busch experts.

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Are there different types of vacuum coating?

There are three main types of coating.

Physical vapor deposition (PVD)

A liquid or solid source material is vaporized inside a vacuum chamber and deposited onto the surface of a substrate. The substrate is carefully positioned and rotated to ensure that the correct areas are coated. This results in a high-quality impregnated coating that won’t chip or crack over time. Faucets, jewellery and microelectronics are just a few examples of products that can have a PVD coating.

Chemical vapor deposition (CVD)

CVD processes use a gaseous vapor source. A volatile precursor is introduced into a vacuum chamber and heated to a specific reaction temperature. As the temperature increases, the precursor gas reacts or decomposes into the substrate, bonding directly onto the material surface. CVD coating is used in the semiconductor industry by solar panel manufacturers to create ultra-thin films that are responsible for the performance of modern solar cells. The coating process is also often applied to machine tools and integrated circuits in devices such as telephones and televisions.

Atomic layer deposition (ALD)

ALD allows for precise and uniform deposition of ultra-thin layers on a variety of substrates. A special set of timed chemical reactions is used to create a film with atomic-level accuracy. This results in coatings that exhibit excellent uniformity and purity. It is one of the most comprehensive types of coating. ALD coatings are used for various applications, from encapsulating surgical devices and implants with titanium oxide to metal coatings for fine mechanics and watch parts.

What is the difference between physical (PVD), chemical vapor deposition (CVD), and atomic layer deposition (ALD)?

Both PVD and CVD are vacuum deposition methods. The main difference between them is that the coating material is solid or liquid in PVD processes and in a gaseous form in CVD processes. ALD is a specialized form of CVD that focuses on depositing materials one atomic layer at a time.

How do vacuum coating systems work?

Vacuum coating systems enable the deposition of thin layers of a desired coating material onto a substrate in a vacuum environment. This provides a high degree of purity and adhesiveness of the coating. Vacuum is used to enable the evaporation of source materials, avoid oxidation, and provide the optimum environment free of any contamination for coating deposition. In chemical coating processes, vacuum is also required to control reactivity.

What is the role of a vacuum chamber in coating processes?

Vacuum chambers play a crucial role in coating processes. They create the optimal low-pressure environment to enable the deposition of thin-films and other coatings onto a substrate. By removing oxygen and nitrogen from the chamber, the coating material can be introduced, vaporized, and impregnated onto the surface of a substrate in a controlled manner. Vacuum chambers also prevent contamination from outside sources, such as dust and other debris. This ensures high quality and consistency of the finished product.

What level of vacuum is used for vacuum coating?

The necessary vacuum level varies depending on the source material and the quality of the coating layer. Each method has different requirements. To find out which vacuum level fits your needs best, get in touch with our Busch experts.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of vacuum-based over non-vacuum-based coating methods?

There are several advantages to vacuum-based coating methods, including:

  • A clean environment with minimal contamination
  • Easy removal of excess materials and by-products
  • Optimal environment for controlling chemical reactions
  • Uniform coating

A disadvantage, depending on the source material, is that the deposition rate can be slow.

Vacuum coating in the metallurgy industry

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Dreistegen GmbH specializes in coating large metallic tools and components. They apply various techniques, including diffusion layer treatments such as nitriding, nitro carburizing or oxidizing, as well as coating methods like physical vapor deposition (PVD) and chemical vapor deposition (CVD) using cold plasma.

When applying hardened thin layers through arc evaporation (arc PVD) under vacuum, Dreistegen relies on a COBRA NC screw vacuum pump from Busch. The pump serves as a backing pump and works in conjunction with two parallel turbomolecular vacuum pumps to generate the necessary vacuum levels in the vacuum coating chamber. The combination of these advanced techniques and reliable equipment ensures that Dreistegen can provide high-quality surface finishes for their clients’ tools and components.

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Use our product finder to find the best solution for your vacuum coating processes in the metallurgy industry.

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Vacuum coating in analytics and R&D

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Located in Balzers, Liechtenstein, Inficon AG specializes in the production of high-quality measuring instruments, sensors for pressure measurement, and components for high-vacuum applications. These contain parts that are coated using atomic layer deposition (ALD).

Inficon exclusively relies on COBRA DS screw vacuum pumps from Busch for all of their ALD coating systems. Our COBRA DS vacuum pumps have proven outstanding reliability and durability. They deliver exceptional performance and service life. With our state-of-the-art technology, Inficon ensures the highest level of precision and quality for its products.

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Use our product finder to find the best solution for your vacuum coating processes in analytics and R&D.

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Vacuum Coating in other industries

  • Injection mold

    Many businesses struggle with parts sticking to their injection molds when they should be ejected. This issue can be resolved through the lubricity of vacuum coatings. Depositing a thin-film cover inside the injection mold as it is manufactured ensures that other parts can later be easily ejected. Thus, the process can continue effectively, whilst production time and costs are reduced.


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  • Semiconductor

    Vacuum coatings extend the lifespan of consumables, like substrate clamps and holding fixtures, and reduce chamber downtime in the semiconductor industry. Materials range from fused quartz to yttria-stabilized zirconia. The coatings are optically transparent and chemically inactive and improve corrosion resistance, durability and reliability.

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  • Additive manufacturing

    In a constantly evolving industry, vacuum coatings have the potential to enhance the performance capabilities of substrates in additive manufacturing. Thin-film coatings applied through PVD and ALD result in enhanced and improved surface characteristics, making the substrate more flexible and capable.

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  • Medical equipment

    PVD coating with black titanium nitride has become the standard for medical equipment. It provides benefits such as reduced friction, antimicrobial properties, and serves as a chemical barrier for nickel-sensitive patients.

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  • Manufacturing tools

    Thin-film coatings enable manufacturing tools to withstand harsh conditions such as high temperatures and dusty environments. Since the coating becomes part of the tool, it does not chip or wear with time.

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  • Aerospace

    Aerospace parts must be highly wear-resistant to fly through the sky at more than hundreds of kilometers per hour. Vacuum coatings are essential for parts subjected to heat, friction and other harsh conditions.

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  • Automotive

    Corrosion, rust and screeching breaks are just some of the problems that vacuum coatings can prevent. Coating steering column components, exhaust gaskets, brake clips and many other parts helps improve the durability and performance of automotive parts.

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Vacuum coating in practice

  • Screw Vacuum Pump for Arc PVD Coating

    Screw Vacuum Pump for Arc PVD Coating

    Dreistegen

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  • Latest Screw Vacuum Technology Lends Exceptional Reliability to ALD Coating

    Latest Screw Vacuum Technology Lends Exceptional Reliability to ALD Coating

    Inficon AG

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  • Creating High Quality Surface Properties Through Fluorination with Reliable Vacuum Technology

    Creating High Quality Surface Properties Through Fluorination with Reliable Vacuum Technology

    Fluor Technik System GmbH

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