Sputtering / vacuum metallization

Sputtering – more than vacuum metallization

Our main path of development is focused now on a project called “Implementing innovative technology of physical vapor deposition vacuum process used to deposit thin metal film on polymer surface”. This technology uses a method called sputtering to metallize plastics (e.g. ABS, ASA, PBT, PA6 and others) with different metals (e.g. gold, silver, titan, chrome, silicon, aluminum) and their compounds.

It is far more advanced than commonly used standard vacuum metallization. The main advantages of sputtering are additional visual effects (different colours of mirrors), providing nano coating that is resistant to scratches, very high quality aesthethic values, ecological process and short-term of our service.

This technology is highly innovative – it is being implemented in western European countries and in the USA. In Poland similar methods are used (galvanization and typical vacuum metallization) but they do not offer the same substantial advantages as sputtering.

Comparison to galvanization

The process of galvanization enables creating metallic film mainly on ABS/PC plastics. Achieving different colours of the mirror requires additional process of wet painting, the process is longer, very costly and environmentally unfriendly. Moreover, during galvanization it is possible to use only nickel and chrome.

The European Union has implemented a directive 2011/65/EU published in Official Journal of the European Union (attachment number I) that will prevent companies to use galvanization. The production of elements containing chrome VI will be banned due to ecological issues, therefore processes like sputtering will replace galvanization.

During the sputtering process (PVD coatings) we use chrome that is not cancerous and ecologically friendly. We can deposit different metals on different substrates – for example stainless steel on PP plastics.

Comparison to vacuum metallization

Common vacuum metallization enables achieving the film of  (only!) aluminum on plastics. Achieving different colours of the mirror requires additional process of wet painting, while in sputtering it is possible to use different metal compounds to make colourful mirrors. The coating after sputtering can be also more resistant to scratches and when chrome is used, there is usually no need to use protective top coat. The sputtering process (PVD coatings) is applied with the use of different metals and the thickness of the layer can be adjusted to the customer’s need – for example 0,01 – 10 μm.

This project is co-financed by WRPO (EU funding)