Thin film coating technologies

We’re combining the precision of surface engineering technologies with our coating expertise to develop techniques for depositing thin films of multifunctional nanostructured materials.

The Challenge

A need for tailored solutions

As manufacturers look for ways of achieving an edge over their competitors, more firms are seeking customised solutions to enhance their products. In many cases that means improving product surfaces to make them more wear-resistant and to increase their performance.

Coin Die coated with Titanium Nitride by our Filtered Arc Deposition System

Our Response

Customised surfaces to boost performance and productivity

We are focused on the industrial application of thin films and nanostructures. We recognise that by tuning surfaces and interfaces, we are able to control the physical attributes of a material and significantly boost the performance and productivity of the resulting products.

There are a number of ways to deposit a material like metal, plastic or ceramic onto a surface. Our thin-film coatings can be categorised as follows:

Hard coating

We can deposit superhard coatings such as metal nitride, carbides and oxides onto many materials.  We generate these coatings from our unique deposition technology that uses magnetic filtering to eliminate macro particles. Resulting coatings exhibit total smoothness, high density and strong surface adhesion.

This makes our hard coatings ideal for applications like:

  • machine tooling
  • precision dies for coinage production
  • micro-drills used in printed circuit board manufacture
  • surgical and dental tools
  • low friction coatings for gears and bearings

Apart from the superhard  material, we can also deposit metals, alloys, superconductors and optical films depending on customer needs. Our facilities allow us to deposit and form a variety of metals and insulating materials of a range of sizes, including multi-layer films of different compositions and patterns.

Diamond-like carbon

As its name suggests, diamond-like carbon (DLC), is a unique form of hard wearing carbon that also possesses mechanical flexibility and tailored compositions which are not found in crystalline diamond. We've developed a plasma-based deposition system that can apply these coatings on a commercial scale without compromising performance.

The diamond-like carbon (DLC) process enables a conformal coating. This allows not only for the retention of surface features but for a large quantity of substrates to be coated simultaneously.

Our plasma activated chemical vapour deposition facilities allow us to specialise in diamond-like carbon (DLC) coatings on materials of complex shape and large dimensions. 

This is an FDA approved material. Parts coated with DLC become harder, are protected from wear and are more lubricant, which can extend the overall operating life. Biocompatibility, coupled with these mechanical properties, make this attractive for a range of biomedical applications. This tough, low friction coating can also increase efficiency and reduce fuel consumption for engines.

Nanomaterials and nanostructures

Nanoscience offers  possibilities  to create materials and surfaces with novel and unique properties. We incorporate nanotechnology expertise in our fabrication capabilities as we develop engineering and synthesis techniques suitable for commercial uptake. Our cutting edge nano coatings include silicon-based mesoporous coating that forms via self assembly and greatly simplifies fabrication; and microspheres coating that allows physical vapour deposition (PVD) microbead coating technologies to coat spherical objects.

Our coatings have controllable features and can be deposited on a variety of surfaces.

The Results

Experts in material processes for industrial applications

Our facilities for producing advance thin film materials are unique in Australia. We are experts in material processes and can evaluate materials for specific purposes, with a focus on industrial applications.

Our technology has been adopted by the Royal Australian Mint to increase the operating life of their coinage dies and by the Australian Institute of Sport to enhance the speed and efficiency of their Olympic bikes.


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