FAQ Fixtures

 

Why is the design of fixtures so important?

How do I achieve a good and cheap solution?

Can I manufacture my fixtures in my own factory?

Is the same style of fixtures suitable for different kind of coating plants?

What kind of materials should be used for fixtures?

Why does 4pvd provide so many different styles of fixtures?

For which applications are the sphere fixtures designed?

Do you recommend to use temporary fixtures for sample coating?

Do optimized fixtures provide a competitive advantage to me?

Where do I get answers to additional questions?

Why is the design of fixtures so important?

    The design of the fixtures defines three decisive properties regarding quality and economy of the coated product. At first the fixture defines the position and the movement of the product relative to the evaporator sources. With this the film thickness and the distribution of film thickness on the different functional areas is controlled.

    At second the distance between the functional areas and with this the free space around the product defines the number of available ions and electrons, which will hit the surface. This influences the ion cleaning of the substrate but also the density and hardness of the applied film.

    Last but not least the design of fixtures defines the number of products, which will fit in one batch, and how long the cycle time will be. For the same style of coating furnace the design of fixtures may have higher impact than an expensive process development.

How do I achieve a good and cheap solution?

    4pvd offers design, project management and manufacturing of high quality fixture systems without risk. Against a sketch of your product or a ISO definition code we will provide a noncommittal proposal including different options from design only until complete supply of the fixtures.

    From this proposal you will roughly get, how the fixtures will look like and how many pieces will fit in your chamber. As a minimum option 4pvd offers to prepare this draft for your design department, so your experts can transform it into manufacturing documentation.

    As a further option 4pvd offers to provide complete manufacturing and assembly documentation for your workshop or your suppliers. As a third option 4pvd offers to supply the complete fixture system to you. If the request comes in time the fixture can be in your coating production prior to your products.

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Can I manufacture my fixtures in my own factory?

    If the right documentation for the manufacturing process and the assembly is available, usually all qualified work shops are able to build and assemble fixtures for PVD process. Prior to and during the assembly roughly the same requirements as for PVD coating are necessary.

    For workshops, which do not have experience with the manufacturing of PVD Fixtures we recommend a training course and audit regarding the basics and necessities of the relevant process. 4pvd will be happy to assist you to undertake the relevant steps.

    Additionally 4pvd offers training related to draft and design of PVD fixtures. This is to recommend, if your design department intends or needs to care about fixtures on a regular basis.

    Beside of this 4pvd offers a lot of tools to make your life easier. Just have a look at our batch calculator, which enables you to submit proposals, without an intensive calculation process. The batch calculator is also available on EXCEL basis and can be adapted according to your demands.

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Is the same style of fixtures suitable for different kind of coating plants?

    In general the 4pvd fixtures can be adapted to multiple kind of coating systems. By this the flexibility of your production is significantly increased. By the way: In general the life cycle of fixtures is usually longer then the one of PVD coating systems.

    In any case a new qualification process will be necessary, as the differences between the process may cause that the position and distance of the products have different impact on the coatings properties.

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What kind of materials should be used for fixtures?

    At the maximum process temperature the base materials for fixtures should provide:

    • sufficient strength
    • low evaporation pressure
    • resistance against corrosion
    • electrical conductivity

    Common material for general applications is stainless steel and for tiny parts like springs and rods Inconel or Tungsten. For bearings bronze materials are useful or other materials with coatings. Magnetic materials are available up to 500C.

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Why does 4pvd provide so many different styles of fixtures?

    The necessity for the fixture systems Nova, Colt and Sphere can easily be explained by use of examples like drills, mills, punches and taps.

    Taps usually require a thin but very constant film thickness along all the cutting edges. For this the axle of the taps is positioned parallel to the surface of the evaporators, and than rotated around the tool axle. This request is fulfilled by the colt fixtures

    Even though drills and mills can also be coated by use of the colt design, this way will not achieve the optimum film thickness distribution along the functional areas. If drills DIN 338 are coated in sphere fixtures with a tilt angle of 28, a ratio of coating thickness of 1:1 on the tip versus the diameter can be achieved. As a nice side effect, the number of pieces is higher for sphere fixtures, as the batch calculator proves.

    For micro drills, mills and punches with a short working area sometimes the coating thickness is only specified for a very small area around the tool tips. Now the fixtures nova can be used. If the demand on the coating quality is not extremely high, nova will place a huge number of tools into your chamber.

    Rotating tools with cutting edges on both ends are ideally coated in boxer fixtures. Boxer fixtures are unbeatable in terms of quality, safety and economics.

    We will be happy to assist you with the selection process of your individual and optimized solution.

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For which applications are the sphere fixtures designed?

    Sphere fixtures provide best profit in case of drill and mill coating. However it is necessary, to have enough pieces available, to fill complete towers with tools of one dimension. 

    In opposite to the colt fixtures, the design of sphere fixtures is influenced by the diameter and the length of the tool. Therefore colt is tie better solution to combine different length and different diameters in one table.

    Conclusion: Sphere is for tool manufacturers with high volume and for large scale coating service production. Colt is rather for small scale production or for tool repair.

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Do you recommend to use temporary fixtures for sample coating?

    This is a difficult question. We know, that sample coating always suffers from a leak of time and budget. It is risky to invest in new fixtures without a contract about the coming business.

    On the other end a not optimized fixture may result in a lower quality which may bring your coating only into second place. Beside of this it has to be understood, that the sample coating is from customers point of view a kind of qualification run, and any subsequent change of the set up will require a new qualification.

    Therefore 4pvd strongly recommends, to use fixtures as similar as possible to the production design. Especially the position of the products relative to the evaporators and the distance between them should be the same.

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Do optimized fixtures provide a competitive advantage to me?

    The advantage which can be achieved by the use of optimized fixtures is huge. There are only few manufacturers of PVD coatings, which can truly state, that they possess a unique coating technology. But among comparable coating units, the fixtures can make that decisive difference in terms of economics and quality, which outperforms the competitors.

    To get this, it is important, to check out the real requirements from the customer very quickly and transform it into a reliable optimized fixture system. 4pvd will be happy to assist you exactly with this task.

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Where do I get answers to additional questions?

    We are always ready to serve you. You can reach us at
    Tel.: +49 (0)241 997 446 7-0 or
    info@4pvd.de.

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