The Diamond Like Carbon (DLC) industry has had a great deal of advancement in the area of thin-film deposition in recent years because it extends the life of surfaces exposed to challenging wear and extreme environments. DLC coating vacuum equipment is a special application of low-pressure plasma systems. Building the process equipment required to scale up a manufacturing application or building a process tool to implement a leap in process capability is possible with the use of a plasma system for DLC coating.
When working with DLC, the issue of bonding often comes up. It can be challenging to clean your base material before coating or apply a coating to your base material that covalently bonds the base material and the DLC coating. Plasma technology can provide solutions for these problems. Difficult to remove materials can be cleaned with low-pressure plasma on a microscopic level over the surface of your entire part.
Low-pressure plasma can also be optimized to selectively etch the contamination or coating to be removed from the surface of your part. Oxygen-based plasma, hydrogen-based plasma, or corrosive gas plasma can be some of the options used as starting points to etch a specific type of contaminate you are experiencing. Often a stepped process of different plasma etch gas chemistries are used to clean or etch a coating from the surface before DLC coating.
Low-pressure plasma can be used to add an adhesion promotion coating that will be compatible with the base material and your DLC coating. This way, your base material, and the DLC coating are covalently bonded together with the application of an intermediate adhesion promotion coating. All these process steps can be engineered into a single tool so that you are not exposing your part to atmospheric contamination or handling damage between process steps.
The system we build for you can range from 10 liters to 12,000 liters or more. Your primary focus on upgrading your controls or material handling capability is not a problem. Systems integration with an existing production line, automation solution, or existing material transport system would be the type of design constraints we work with.
Our highly experienced team is ready to help you build and optimize DLC coating vacuum systems for your advanced applications. The innovation of low-pressure vacuum concepts, tooling, and controls to produce a specific process in a repeatable way is what we do every day. We look forward to meeting you and discussing your new vacuum system requirements soon.
To learn more about the use of plasma in manufacturing, please read our eBook titled "Manufacturer’s Surface Activation Guide for Improved Adhesion."