Physical vapor deposition

the level of expertise

Aalberts Surface Technologies provides expert engineering services to enhance product material characteristics through tailored surface treatments, with a focus on meeting the specific requirements of local customers and global key accounts.

the process

The term, “functional coating” has often been used as a synonym for tool coating: typically the coatings used are Titanium Nitride (TiN), Chromium Nitride (CrN), Zirconium Nitride (ZrN), Titanium Carbon Nitride (TiCN) and Aluminum Titanium Nitride (AlTiN). They are applied at higher temperatures and in greater thickness than other PVD coatings. While coating color and surface uniformity are important, the main emphasis is on hardness, density, mechanical bond strength to the part substrate, and overall wear resistance. Typical applications include instrument blades, knives, augers, drills, automotive wear parts, machine bits and metal forming tools. Take a look at one of our functional coating projects, a Hydrogen Fuel Cell coating process.

Machine process enhancements have led to the development of a new class of coatings. Many of the performance attributes listed are complemented by the addition of “release or non-stick” properties. This has been a very important development for applications in the Plastics Industry involving calibrator plates for extruded vinyl windows, extruder screws, compression rings, injector pins, etc. There has also been a dramatic increase in tool life (e.g. metal forming dies, stamping tools, etc.) due to increased lubricity and anti-galling properties.

All our Vacuum Chambers are “Batch Type” coaters. This simply means that whether there’s one part in the chamber or as many parts that could physically fit in the chamber, the process needed for coating 1 part is the same as a full run. Therefore we work diligently with our customers during sampling and quoting to minimize their cost per piece.

Aalberts offers all new prospective customers a ONE-TIME free sample of any NON-PRECIOUS metal coating in our inventory on an approved customer supplied substrate.

Aalberts surface technologies in Woonsocket, RI has one of the largest Non-Captive Gold Sputtering Chambers in the USA. Available for both R&D and Production quantities.


cathodic arc MZR-373

Aalberts workhorse for Cathodic Arc Deposition is a Sulzer MZR-373 cathodic arc system. This chamber can apply both decorative and functional coatings to a wide range of substrate materials. With its large effective coating zone and multi-option racking carousel, our MZR-373 system can handle both large and small parts cost effectively. It’s a true “job shop” machine, engineered for production flexibility. Target changes are simple, process times are quicker.

DC magnetron sputtering

Our Sputtering Chambers employ two twin cathode systems. Although all PVD coating is “Line of Sight” our double cathode system allows our coating plasma to totally envelop the substrate. This special cathode arrangement makes it possible for us to deposit evenly on all exposed surfaces whatever the geometry of the part is.

Twin Cathodes also allow depositing two different elements without breaking vacuum.

Regular Equipment Updates of Hardware and Software through OEM insures peak performance.

required plating thicknesses

PVD coatings can be applied to a variety of substrate materials (customer parts). Suitable substrates include stainless steel, high carbon steel, glass, ceramics, chrome, and select plastics.

Ultimately, the suitability of a particular substrate will depend on the required film characteristics. Aalberts will work with you to ensure that the coating thickness, target material, product masking and other process parameters yield the end product best suited to your application.

Brass Substrate: Nickel 20-30 microns
Chrome .25-.5 microns

Plastic Substrate: Copper 8-10 microns
Nickel 20-30 microns
Chrome .25-.5 microns

Zinc Substrate: Copper 10-15 microns
Nickel 20-30 microns
Chrome .25-.5 microns

Stainless Steel Substrate : There are no electroplating requirements.

*Note – For severe field applications, a duplex nickel and micro-porous or micro-cracked chrome is recommended.

Please see our FAQ for more information or call Steve Muccino, 401-766-3353. 

PVD services available at this location only

Aalberts surface technologies
222 Goldstein Drive
Woonsocket, RI 02895