POSITIVE COATING

FAQ

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TECHNOLOGIES

PVD (Physical Vapor Deposition) designates a technology, while DLC (Diamond Like Carbon) is the name of a black, carbon-rich treatment.

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PVD (Physical Vapor Deposition) is a technology which employs physical processes.

The main PVD techniques are::

  • Sputtering, as used by POSITIVE COATING
  • Evaporation
  • Cathodic arc

CVD (Chemical Vapor Deposition) is a technology which employs chemical processes.

The main CVD techniques are:

  • ALD (Atomic Layer Deposition), as used by POSITIVE COATING
  • Plasma Enhanced CVD
  • Thermal CVD

CVD (Chemical Vapor Deposition) designates a technology, while
ALD (Atomic Layer Deposition) is a technique within the CVD family.

Sputtering involves bombarding metal sources with ions (plasma). This evaporates the atoms on the surface of the source, which condense on the treated part.

ALD technology uses gaseous precursors which react on the surface of the treated parts to form a dense layer.

Galvanic treatments are applied in baths.

PVD and ALD treatments are carried out in vacuum chambers (i.e. at reduced pressure).

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CLEANING

Before each treatment, the parts will be degreased and cleaned in our automated washing facilities. Cleaning the parts is a crucial step in guaranteeing optimal quality when depositing our treatments.

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In order to respect the fragility of the parts, it is better to opt for high-frequency ultrasound-assisted washing.

Cleaning using products such as alcohol or acetone does not pose any risk to PVD treatments.

In order to respect the fragility of the parts, it is better to opt for high-frequency ultrasound-assisted washing.

Cleaning using products such as alcohol or acetone does not pose any risk to ALD treatments.

UNDER-COAT

The galvanic under-coat is required on corrosion-sensitive materials, such as brass, nickel silver, bronze, aluminium and tungsten.

For some applications POSITIVE COATING now offers an ALD treatment replacing this galvanic under-coat.

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TREATMENT THICKNESS

The treatment thickness is approximately 1 micron for internal watch components, and approximately 2 microns for other applications requiring wear resistance.

No. This type of treatment is used to obtain unalterable colorations while conserving surface finishes and decorations (polished, satin-finished, micro-blasted, Côtes de Genève, circular graining, etc.).

HARDNESS

The hardness of our HarDeCo PVD treatment for exterior use is around 1500 HV.

These coats, with high-rated mechanical and chemical properties, are derived from advanced technologies such as aeronautics, aerospace or cutting tools, fields with exposure to very tough stresses.

The hardness of PVD/ALD decorative treatments for interior use is situated between 250 HV and 600 HV, according to the applications.

TREATABLE MATERIALS

Coatings suitable for various metals and ceramics:

  • Stainless steel, titanium alloys, copper alloys, yellow gold, white gold, pink gold, heavy metal (tungsten), zirconia, alumina, sapphire, glass.

Yes. All titanium grades can be coated.

No. The components do not necessarily have to be conductive in order to be coated.

Yes. But the coatings will also adhere to the stones or diamonds.

PVD sources are equipped with a magnetron, producing a strong magnetic field which disrupts magnetic components, especially in terms of the adhesion of the parts.

Depending on the requested treatment , the possibilities are :

  • Polymer-based resist solutions
  • Metallic resist solutions
  • Mechanical fixtures

POST-TREATMENT OPERATION

Yes. It is possible to perform mechanical or laser machining after PVD/ALD treatments.

Yes. Yes, it is possible to transfer or varnish a coated surface.

Thanks to a deposition thickness of just around one micron, the post-treatment mounting and jewelling operations are not affected.

Similarly, tapped holes do not require any retouching before assembly

Yes, the colour tends to darken, lose some shine, and the decorations are softened by the cellulose varnish.

The coatings are resistant to the temperatures usually required for watchmaking operations, such as the drying of a varnish.

Yes. it is possible to epilame coat a PVD/ALD-coated surface without altering the colour.

This needs to be analysed on a case-by-case basis.

TREATMENT TEMPERATURE

In most cases, the deposition temperature of a PVD coating is between 50°C and 300°C.

TREATMENT DURATION

Most PVD treatments require 3 to 4 hours to apply, and most ALD treatments between 4 hours and 8 hours.

TREATMENT PRICE

The price depends on the nature of the component to be treated (size, shape, material, quantity), on the properties of the desired treatment (colour, function) and on the complexity of the request from the customer.