|Rising gold prices and growing environmental awareness create new challenges for the electrical component industry. These challenges are the reason why Impact Coatings has driven the development of MaxPhase™ contact coatings and new PVD systems for electrical components.
MaxPhase™ coatings replace gold plating and offers full control of material costs. Our ReelCoater™, InlineCoater™ and PlastiCoater™ PVD coating systems replace traditional wet plating with environmentally friendly PVD technology.
The physical characteristics of our coating machines make them easy to integrate into existing production processes. The low environmental impact of PVD technology means no environmental permits are needed for production with Impact Coatings systems.
It’s a greener, more economical solution for coating electrical components.
|Electronics manufacturers are hurt by the high, unpredictable gold price. Cost is up 6 times since year 2000 and is expected to continue rising.
Silver MaxPhase™ is a metal alloy that replaces plated gold for connectors and other components at a drastically lower cost. Silver MaxPhase™ provides electrical properties and resistance to corrosion and wear that were previously only possible using expensive noble metals.
Silver MaxPhase™ is qualified for connectors that were previously gold plated. This includes low voltage and low contact force applications with many wear cycles, such as battery and i/o connectors for mobile phones. Silver MaxPhase™ can be coated both reel-to-reel and in batches of individual parts.
Ultra MaxPhase™ provides extreme corrosion resistance and a hardness exceeding 1600 HV. The metal alloy can be used in highly corrosive environments and for applications with very high cycle counts, such as test probes for PCBs.
Test probes with Ultra MaxPhase™ coated tips provide better durability than probes with plated gold or plated rhodium. Non-brittleness of Ultra MaxPhase also allows more aggressive tip designs than the plated finishes.
Green production technology
Highly hazardous cyanide is used in wet plating of gold. Better insights into environmental and human risks of plating have resulted in increased restrictions and a total stop in plating licenses in key regions for electronics manufacturing, such as parts of China.
In contrast to gold plating, MaxPhase™ coatings use the dry and clean PVD production technology without involving health threatening materials. MaxPhase™ does not require water and waste treatment facilities or government licenses for production lines.
PVD tools are standalone coating equipment with small footprints, yet with productivity similar to modern gold plating lines.
Silver MaxPhase for connectors
Silver MaxPhase as contract service
Ultra MaxPhase & Silver MaxPhase for test probes
|The ReelCoater™ system focuses on the special needs of the electrical component industry, where production is often reel-to-reel. The system is primarily developed to coat Silver MaxPhase™ but it can also deposit other materials.
The compact size of the system allows it to be easily integrated into existing production lines. Low environmental impact makes it fast and easy to expand or start up new production units.
Designed for integration and ”reel” speed
The ReelCoater™ system is designed for reel-to-reel coating of metal strips. Depending on the geometry of the strips, multiple reels can be loaded and up to eight strips can be coated in parallel.
The system has a modular configuration where system modules can be added or removed and where the strip type can be changed.
The reels are loaded into the ReelCoater™ vacuum chamber. Reels with material are loaded into the pay-out module and strips are attached to empty reels loaded in the take-up module.
The system is pumped down to vacuum and the metal strips on the reels are fed continuously through the system and coated using DC magnetron sputtering.
When complete strips have been coated, the system is ventilated and new reels are loaded into the ReelCoater™ and production can continue.
Apart from coating material sputter targets, the system only requires electrical power, cooling water, compressed air, process gas (such as Argon) for the deposition and clean air for ventilation.
ReelCoater product sheet
|Unlike traditional PVD tools, the unique design of the InlineCoater™ makes it well suited for continuous production flows, by handling small loads at a very high throughput. The result is higher productivity and lower cost compared to competing PVD solutions.
Designed for short cycle times
The InlineCoater™ load-lock enables re-loading of objects simultaneously with PVD processes running at full speed in three separated process chambers. Deposition runs mostly without interruption loading and pump-down. Cycle times are kept to a minimum depending on application, under 1/10 of the cycle time for a traditional box-coater.
Objects are transferred between load-lock and process chambers without loss of vacuum. Design is simple and robust without gates or valves for transferring objects.
In the process chambers objects are always in deposition plasma, resulting in high deposition rates. This makes the process robust with very low contamination in the coated films. The system is fully automatic, using preset process recipes and operated via a touch screen.
The InlineCoater™300 and InlineCoater™500 are used in industrial manufacturing, running 24/7.
The systems are used for a wide range of functional coatings on electrical components such as contact and tribological coatings. The system can also be used for plastic applications, such as EMI shielding of electronics.
InlineCoater product sheet
|Metallization of injection moulded plastics has never been easier. The PlastiCoater™ PVD metallization unit is designed to work alongside, and in syncronization with, a moulding machine, creating a truly integrated production unit.
You can integrate continuous quality control into the process to further improve yield.
Designed for flexibility and affordability
The productivity of the moulding machine is matched in the PlastiCoater™ by using a load-lock and two process stations working in parallel. The objects are in constant vacuum during processing and movement between stations inside the system. Only the load-lock is open to the atmosphere.
The process station can be equipped for magnetron sputtering as well as plasma activation.
Two different metals can be coated in the two process stations without contamination or oxidation between the metal layers. The two process stations can also be used for coating the same metal to achieve shorter cycle times for thicker metal films.
PlastiCoater™ offers unique flexibility for changing or adjusting the whole production line for new products. This is achieved by a compact layout, low weight and high portability.
The system produces a large variety of functional and decorative metal coatings. The design of PlastiCoater™ ensures good coating coverage of three-dimensional objects. Typical coating materials include Al, Cr, Cu, stainless steel, Ag, Au and the unique Silver MaxPhase™.
PlastiCoater product sheet
|Business Area Manager, Electrical Contacts|
Phone: +46 13 35 95 01
Mobile: +46 708 87 44 34
Impact Coatings AB
SE-582 16 LINKÖPING