Hard Material Coatings, PVD, CVD, DLC
Accurately test the properties of innovative functional surfaces to ensure optimal performance.
Hard coatings are used for many industrial purposes. Especially for machining and milling, the tools used are made with hard-coated cutting materials. Depending on the application area, specialised coating solutions have been developed to enhance abrasion resistance and, therefore, durability. Controlling the quality of these coatings according to distinct material properties such as micro-hardness is a tough challenge for most measurement technologies.
Milling cutters and drill bits are used for processing various materials. Depending on their intended application, they are made from different cemented carbide alloys. In order to determine the quality of the source material, manufacturers of such tools must verify the exact material composition of the hard metal alloy – which requires very precise analysis during the incoming goods inspection.
High-precision industrial saws, drills and dies used for the cutting, punching and forming of steel, hard metal or aluminium parts are subject to extreme wear and tear. To increase the service life of these often very expensive tools, they are coated with a hard material coating via a PVD (physical vapour deposition) process. The thickness of the PVD layer determines the durability and therefore the life expectancy of the tool. Tool and die makers must therefore guarantee a minimum coating thickness, requiring high-precision control measurement technology.
Whether used for eye protection or vision correction, spectacles with lenses made of plastic are preferred over glass for their considerably lower weight and better fracture strength. In order to provide the required life-long quality of such lenses a specific scratch-resistance is necessary.
In order to reduce emissions in combustion engines without sacrificing performance, manufacturers are continually working to improve the ability of the moving parts (e.g. camshafts, piston rings and gears) to resist abrasion and reduce friction. Coating them with DLC (diamond-like carbon) is just such an optimization. DLC coatings are not only very hard but also feature a certain toughness – which are two of the critical parameters that must be monitored during the coating process.