Innovative Coating Equipment

Bergisch Gladbach, (PresseBox) - The proven modular METAPLAS-DOMINO platform developed by Sulzer Metaplas, a Sulzer Metco company, stands for most possible flexibility and state-of-the-art innovations in coating equipment.

Due to the modular design later expansion possibilities are nearly unlimited. Starting with the basic solution the user is perfectly prepared for future developments and able to adapt to his individual needs for tomorrow.

APA (Advanced Plasma Assisted) arc and sputtering technology modules are implemented in the equipment concept to provide any solution for thin coatings. Furthermore DLC coating modules and combi treatment, the combination of Nitriding and PVD or PACVD are available. The latest HIPAC (High Ionization Plasma Assisted Coating) technology module is a further development of the only pulsed high-power impulse sputtering HIPIMS (High-Power Impulse Magnetron Sputtering) and perfectly appropriate to industrial and production related requirements.

All METAPLAS-DOMINO systems are equipped with the patented highly efficient plasma cleaning process AEGD. This additional fine-cleaning leads to unchallenged coating adhesion. The HIPAC technology also takes advantage of the extremely high ionization of process gases provided by AEGD. With HIPAC technology high-power densities of 100 up to 1000 W/cm² are set at the sputter target to allow the ionization of the atoms. To prevent target overloads high current impulses at low duty times of less than 10 percent are used. The ionization of the metal in the plasma can nearly reach the same values as in arc processes (10 up to 90 percent). With increasing current density at the target the layer density increases. HIPAC offers a huge potential for deposition of morphological dense coatings at low substrate temperatures.

The modular equipment system allows the combination of different modules and technologies to hybrid processes. The availability of two highionization processes, HIPAC and APA-arc, obviously leads to the logical combination of both processes to a hybrid process which meet industrial standards.

Hybrid technology is one of the most innovative approaches in surface technology. For those being real experts in both technological areas completely new opportunities open up. Process and material combinations can be realized for developing innovative high-performance coatings to be used in e.g. machining and forming applications. This market segment will be dominated by the constant developing arc technology also in future. In the area of high-end applications the importance of hybrid technique will keep growing incrementally. The limits of PVD technology are expanded by new complementary technologies. The hybrid technology provides materials for creating new coatings that cannot be deposited using only arc process like e.g. TiB2 or Si. Layer compositions can be tailored to the relevant applications by micro-alloying, doping, layer design and layer architectures.

First results of developed hybrid coatings already show great promise for the future. With a hybrid system customers are not only able to follow coating trends but also to set trends. Thanks to latest developments the equipment concept is prepared for future demands and applications.

The technical features of the system allow producing an enormous number of individually tailored coatings fast, reliably and fully automatic on metal, ceramic and plastic surfaces for different applications. First milestones in coating development of the METAPLAS-DOMINO platform were micro alloyed coatings (M■A■C). Coatings like the micro alloyed Mpower family are well-established in the market and show unchallenged advantages. Three different coating architectures are provided to fulfill various demands for the machining industry. For example the Mpower mono shows best results for micro tools with a diameter of 0.05 - 0.4 mm, customer feedback for nano structured coatings are remarkable for shaft tools and inserts and test results for multi layered coatings are unchallenged for forming tools.

The diverse technology combinations of the METAPLAS-DOMINO platform are expanded by the different system configurations of the DOMINO mini, DOMINO S or DOMINO L. They allow usable coating volumes from Ø 300 mm x 300 mm up to Ø 600 mm x 700 mm - Other than this DOMINO series, additional system sizes are available, e.g. for coating big parts and long parts. The platform has proven its production capability within Sulzer Metaplas own job shops worldwide.

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