A surface treatment may allow the exterior of a metal part to display desired physical properties, such as a preferred color or enhanced electrical conductivity. Industrial parts designers today can draw upon numerous available surface treatments to modify metal work piece surfaces. Many of these finishing technologies rely upon proprietary formulations and technologies.
For example, manufacturers have developed a variety of different types of widely used surface coatings for products. These include titanium nitride, as well as chromium nitride, aluminum nitride, titanium aluminum nitride and other coatings. Titanium nitride coatings enjoy popularity because of their beauty and utility.
Titanium Nitride (TiN)
Titanium nitride frequently contributes to water-resistant, attractive gold-colored hard surfaces. A part coated with a formulation containing TiN will typically last longer without suffering erosion or surface abrasions. The coating helps safeguard the metal from the degrading impacts of friction, helping cutting corners to retain sharp edges and resist cavitation and chipping. It offers a way to toughen and harden the exterior. This type of coating material bonds well to most metal surfaces without blistering or peeling away easily. TiN won't oxidize; it remains inert in most settings.
The TiN Coating Process
Manufacturers usually apply titanium nitride coatings to the surfaces of metal parts through the use of physical vapor deposition ("PVD") (also sometimes called "physical vacuum deposition"). Many methods exist for implementing this type of industrial finishing method, including numerous proprietary techniques. Metal parts fabricators use PVD in order to produce a thin film or coating on the exterior of a work piece. Essentially, the coating material vaporizes within a vacuum chamber before bonding to the surface of the metal, where it forms a thin film or surface coating tightly bonded to the exterior of the metal work piece. Some coating suppliers market TiN coatings in powdered or film form.
Materials And Applications
Manufacturers sometimes utilize proprietary technologies to produce TiN coated parts. Some widely utilized materials and applications include:
Many manufacturers use PVD to apply TiN surface coatings. While this process may require a significant capital investment in equipment and facilities, it does offer the advantage of significantly greater efficiency than some other manufacturing technologies. Companies widely utilize PVD as an alternative to electroplating as a surface treatment, for example. The use of PVD permits manufacturers to apply TiN surface coatings very uniformly across the exterior of a work piece, and to control the depth of the film with precision. In order to employ PVD methods, fabricators typically require an industrial-grade vacuum chamber and the ability to regulate environmental conditions (such as temperature) closely.
In order to apply a titanium nitride coating to a metal component, a parts fabricator must first select a suitable proprietary TiN coating for the specific metal or metal alloy work piece. Most commercially available metals and metal alloys will accept a TiN surface coating. Then the manufacturer must adhere faithfully to the coating supplier's application instructions for using that particular formulation. For example, some proprietary coatings require high temperatures during production, while others do not.
Titanium nitride coatings have obtained popularity as surface treatments for the industrial components relied upon by many different industries. Their attractive golden color makes them suitable for a variety of decorative objects, for instance. Jewelry manufacturers sometimes apply an attractive gold-colored TiN coating to their metal products in order to obtain desired aesthetic changes in the appearance of costume jewelry. This surface treatment will transform a stainless steel bracelet or ring into an appealing golden colored product, for instance. These coatings have also found widespread applications among manufacturers of outdoor sporting goods and knives.
TiN coatings enjoy especial popularity as a way to harden the cutting surfaces of tools. Manufacturers of taps, drill bits and other precision parts employ this technology widely today in order to extend the useful lifespan of their products. The process has also reportedly found application as a hard coating for some medical implants. Manufacturers of food processing machinery and pharmaceutical equipment rely heavily on titanium nitride coatings, as do medical and dental tool suppliers.
Advantages of Titanium Nitride Coating
The use of TiN coating as a surface treatment furnishes several distinct benefits for manufacturers.
- By applying this type of coating using modern PVD technology, some companies streamline the manufacturing finishing process to enhance efficiency. They can harden and toughen metal exteriors cost-effectively, enabling their products to withstand the impacts of heat and friction better.
- TiN-coated surfaces possess an appealing golden color. By employing a TiN coating, the manufacturer makes a finished product more attractive from an aesthetic standpoint. This surface treatment greatly enhances the marketability of some decorative items, for instance.
- As a surface treatment, TiN coating permits the creation of harder, tougher, more erosion-resistant metal exteriors. It will thus extend the useful life of some tools. Drill and tap manufacturers appreciate the ability to protect cutting edges from daily wear using this coating.
- TiN coatings bond firmly to most metal surfaces. Unlike paints, they won't blister or peel away over the course of time. They offer long term utility as a way to protect metal surfaces from environmental degradation.
- Reportedly these surfaces accommodate high temperature sanitizing processes, making them suitable for use in equipment widely used by industries which create products for use in close contact with human beings. Some metal surfaces produce allergic reactions in people. It remains important for metal parts manufacturers to utilize surfaces which won't damage patients. Their nontoxic qualities and ability to withstand heat and cleaning agents without wearing away have rendered TiN-coated surfaces popular in the food processing, jewelry, pharmaceutical and medical industries.