After cleaning, the substrates are mounted onto fixtures for coating.
The fixtured parts are loaded into the coating chamber.
The air in the chamber is pumped out, leaving a high vacuum environment.
Substrate parts are pre-heated to process temperature
Substrates are ion-cleaned to remove the final atomic contaminants from the surface.
A flow of ionized nitrogen and argon is introduced into the chamber.
Titanium is flash evaporated and ionized by a vacuum arc. This generates a plasma within the chamber of ionized atomic nitrogen, argon and titanium.
A voltage is applied to the substrates to accelerate the ions in the plasma cloud to the surface of the parts.
The titanium and nitrogen combine on the surface of the substrate, forming a dense, hard coating of TiN. The combination of ionization, kinetic energy of the accelerated atoms, and thermal energy in the chamber provide enough energy to form the hard TiN film.
The coating bonds to the surface of the substrate, and even penetrates the surface slightly, to give an outstanding level of adhesion.
The coating cycle lasts several hours. All process variables are carefully controlled to insure a high quality coating.
Each coating batch is tested for quality, thickness, and uniformity.