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Tutorial Course Descriptions

Detailed Syllabus

C-230 PVD Processing of Plastics for Better Protection, Reflection, and Decoration

Thousands of PVD coating systems are installed around the world applying reflective, decorative, electronic shielding and tribological coatings on 3-dimensional polymer substrates including: automotive lighting and trim, toys, white goods (kitchen and bath appliances), sanitary (plumbing components), and electrical enclosures. These films are predominantly created using PVD thermal evaporation, or sputtering, and PE/CVD technologies. The industry is always looking for innovative thin film solutions, whether it be a new material, color or physical property. Today’s technologists must be versed in the basic PVD technologies in order to prepare for these innovation challenges. This course will review the technologies of thermal evaporation and sputtering as it applies to the various applications, as well as the ongoing maintenance required to ensure coating quality and where to look when the process goes astray.

Individuals who will benefit from this course will include: a.) technicians and engineers responsible for the setup, operation and maintenance of the equipment, b.) technologists who are responsible to develop new application, c.) Purchasing managers/executives responsible for capital expenditures, d.) supervisors responsible for production, quality and throughput, and finally e.) companies that are investigating getting into PVD processing.

Course Details:

The following topics will be reviewed:

  1. Brief history of the integration of PVD coatings used in industry
  2. Review of thermal evaporation, sputtering and arc vapor deposition techniques
    1. Comparisons and selection considerations
      1. Thermal deposition
      2. Sputtering
        1. Metal deposition
        2. Reactive deposition
      3. Arc vapor deposition
    2. Process sequence
      1. Plasma cleaning
      2. Metal deposition
      3. Plasma polymerization
      4. Surface energy control
    3. Setting up the process for coating uniformity and coverage
      1. Substrate to source distance and orientation considerations
      2. Calculating current and evaporant loads
    4. Technique strengths and weaknesses
      1. Process complexity
      2. Personnel required
      3. General operating costs and configuration considerations
        1. Small batch
        2. large batch
        3. inline
  3. Substrate selection
    1. Material character, uses and issues
  4. Molding process issues: impact on the coating performance and what can be specified to the molder
    1. Substrate appearance for as molded PVD processing, versus paint base-coating
    2. Residual stresses
    3. Gating and substrate geometries
      1. Mold operating conditions
      2. Knit lines
      3. Blush
  5. Paint base and top coating
    1. Use and selection
    2. Application methods
      1. Spraying
      2. Flow coating
    3. Discussion of equipment costs and scrap rate
    4. International suppliers
  6. Fixturing and masking
    1. Methods and techniques used
    2. Coating uniformity modeling: Tin Model and Uniformity Pro
    3. Mask cleaning
      1. Frequency
      2. Safety
  7. When a process goes rogue
    1. Identifying the problem (thermal evaporation and sputtering)
      1. Coating quality issues
      2. Cycle time problems
      3. Coating system issues
  8. Inspection techniques and equipment
    1. Reflectivity
      1. Integrating sphere
      2. Spectrometry
    2. Corrosion resistance
      1. Caustic testing
      2. Weatherization
    3. Film thickness
      1. Profilometry
    4. Adhesion
      1. Tape test
    5. Color measurement
      1. LAB
    6. Intrinsic stress
      1. Coated silicon wafer and profilometry examinations
  9. Disruptive technologies
    1. Reflective paint
    2. In-mold decorating

Instructor: Gary Vergason, Vergason Technology, Inc.
Gary Vergason

Gary has been working in the PVD industry for over 38 years, from engineering and operations to executive management. His cathodic arc source designs, developed while he was employed by Multi-Arc (IonBond), are still used around the world today. Gary founded Vergason Technology, Inc. (VTI) in 1986 and under his leadership the company has become a leading international supplier of innovative rapid-cycle PVD coating equipment and toll coating services. Gary has served as an SVC instructor, a member of the Board of Directors, served as President from 2016 to 2018 and chaired its first Topical Conference in 2009. He holds several patents in the PVD field and continues to influence this industry.


This course is currently available via:
On Location Education Program

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