PVD coatings have no leveling effect, since it is a line-of-sight process. Also, the PVD cost is still high enough that the thickness is a cost-determining factor. The thickness of decorative PVD coatings is generally the range of 0.3 mm. At this thickness, a PVD coating does not act as a corrosion barrier; therefore, usually applied on top of electroplated products.
With the PVD coating as the final step in the finishing cycle, the previous steps play an important role in end product quality. In this respect, a distinction has to be made between different substrate material, such as brass, zinc die-cast and ABS. Stainless steel as a substrate material does not need to be electroplated and can be coated together with brass and zinc products.