The parts to be coated are first cleaned. The cleaning process varies depending on the level of quality from the electroplater, substrate material and geometry. The parts are loaded into the vacuum chamber on custom fixtures designed to optimize the chamber load size and insure coating uniformity.
The vacuum chamber is evacuated to 10-6 torr (high vacuum) to remove any contaminants in the system. The vacuum chamber is backfilled with an inert gas argon and ionized, resulting in a glow discharge (plasma). This is the gas cleaning stage and prepares the parts for the initial metal deposition.