Coating materials for the toughest tasks: Plansee at the ICMCTF in San Diego

Plansee will present its impressive developments in the field of ceramic target materials at the ICMCTF (International Conference on Metallurgical Coatings and Thin Films), which will be held from 29.4. to 3.5.

Forcing materials such as hardened steels, aluminum or titanium alloys into exactly the shape you want is a demanding job. Extremely thin, wear-resistant hard material coatings prepare drills, milling machines and other tools for their daily challenges.

Hard material coatings have a wide range of applications. The hardest coatings are used in the tooling industry. Aviation components and engine parts in motor vehicles are also protected by wear-resistant coatings that allow them to withstand the extreme conditions they are exposed to. Typical material coatings are produced from chromium or composites such as titanium-aluminum or aluminum-chromium using sputtering or arc evaporation methods. In these procedures, the evaporated target material combines with a reactive gas to form a ceramic layer.

Plansee is one of the few suppliers that is able to produce the ceramic itself as a target: Tungsten carbide, silicon carbide, chromium silicide and titanium diboride are the new coating materials that can cope with even the most demanding applications.


The benefit for the customer: The material composition of the thin film corresponds exactly to that of the target and is precisely defined. Over- and undersaturation are things of the past. "Ceramic targets are opening up completely new possibilities in coating technology. We can now create coatings with new combinations of properties without the addition of reactive gases," explains Ulrich Miller, Head of the Hard Coating Market Unit at Plansee. At the same time, Plansee has also developed the corresponding carrier system for the arc evaporation process: an integrated carrier plate made of molybdenum or copper with a cathode ring which encloses the coating material and maintains the arc on the cathode material.

Since 2008, Plansee has been manufacturing ceramic targets in series on a hot press system. At the start of April, the world's most modern and largest SPS (Spark Plasma Sintering) system was put into operation at the production site in Lechbruck/Germany. This makes it possible to create production-scale prototypes even faster and more economically than before. The aim is to expand the portfolio of target geometries and customer-specific material compositions. The system will be used for runs of all sizes through to fully automated series manufacture. Its near-net shape production capability saves material and therefore reduces the cost for the customer.

Would you like to find out more? Meet our experts at the ICMCTF! From 29.4. to 3.5.2013 in the Grand Exhibit Hall, booth 222.

You can get more information about our ceramic arc cathodes at: