Due to increasingly tighter government regulations, the auto industry has been compelled to increase the fuel efficiency of the vehicles they manufacture. One of the ways they have accomplished this is to reduce the weight of the cars they produce by using plastic materials instead of metal for many of their decorative touches. There are many decorative finishes used for automotive parts, but PVD coated materials have a real advantage for companies seeking interior and exterior decorative parts with the traditional metal appearance customers expect but the lighter weight of plastic.
PVD for Automotive Parts
What is PVD? PVD, or physical vapor deposition, is a family of vacuum coating fabrication processes used to deposit thin film coatings on various substrates. PVD is performed in an artificially created vacuum. Here at ECF we have the capability to create ceramic and metallic alloy decorative PVD coatings using magnetron sputter and cathode arc evaporation processes.
These processes allow for the customization of coating color, specific gravity, microstructure, and compositional and structural gradient, continuous or multi-layered, to any specification. PVD is a computer controlled process. Software recipes determine the necessary parameters to deposit color. During the PVD process, our technicians continuously monitor these parameters. As a result, we can guarantee excellence of coating color and quality for automotive parts.
Which colors can be produced using PVD? ECF has the capability to produce brass, gold, nickel, chrome, copper, bronze, gray, and black – all of which are available in bright, matte, satin, or pearl finishes.
Additional Advantages of Decorative PVD for Automotive Parts
- Using PVD, ECF can achieve appearances that are not possible using traditional chrome plating.
- A wide variety of plastic and metal substrates can be coated with PVD.
- PVD is more environmentally friendly than many other finishing processes. It can be applied without producing harmful chemicals or hazardous waste.
Decorative PVD is more often used for interior automotive trim as exterior automotive parts need to pass different testing requirements for OEM parts. While the primary use of decorative PVD is to enhance appearance, PVD does also increase the strength and durability of these parts. As a result they better resist rust and corrosion.
Electro Chemical Finishing has frequently helped automotive manufacturers develop finishes for their vehicles. PVD coatings are rapidly becoming a replacement for decorative electroplated chrome in the automotive industry. If you are looking for decorative finishing for your components, we can provide them. Call us today to discuss how our finish and process offerings can meet the surface finishing needs of your automotive parts.