In-House PVD Coating vs. Outsourcing: Choosing the Right Solution

In-house PVD coating vs. outsourcing: It's all about the ROI.

If you want your products to benefit from superior coatings, you can outsource PVD (physical vapor deposition) coating to a service provider or invest in PVD coating in-house. Third-party coating service providers own coating equipment and will coat your parts and products along with those of their other customers. You must package, send, wait for, and receive products before repackaging for sale. In-house coating equipment is integrated into your manufacturing and QC process and requires purchasing capital equipment. This investment can be cost-effective, depending on your coating needs. Here’s how to make the right decisions.

Physical vapor deposition coatings make parts and products more functional, durable, and beautiful.

Before we get into the details about the pros and cons of bringing PVD coating in-house, here is a brief introduction to PVD coatings. Thin-film deposition is often referred to as “PVD coating,” but in fact, PVD is only one of several processes that are used, which also include CVD (chemical vapor deposition) and DLC (diamond-like carbon) coatings. PVD & DLC coating systems deposit metal-based coatings to many metal or plastic parts and products. Thin-film coatings are bonded to the substrate at the atomic level.

  • These coatings are so thin they have no impact on dimensional tolerance and do not mask desired textures in the substrate.
  • They are fade-resistant and consistent, and they often outperform other coating technologies.

Not sure if you should be coating in-house or outsourcing? Contact us today, and we can help you make the right decision.

Consider your company’s needs.

Many coating service providers offer PVD and CVD coating services for customers manufacturing architectural hardware (faucets and knobs), automotive parts, medical devices, cutting tools, molds & dies, firearms, blades, and other parts and products. Service provider users will manufacture up to the coating stage, package their items, and send them to a provider. The provider coats the items, repackages them, and returns them to the manufacturer. The parts are unpacked, returned to the manufacturing line, and repacked for shipment.

Manufacturers who coat parts regularly often purchase PVD coating equipment to bring in-house. Depending on company size, coating quantities, and desired coating types, these manufacturers must choose the right machine to fulfill their exact needs and provide the coating results required. Some coating equipment companies offer a standard color and coating composition chart. We create optimized coatings at Vapor Technologies (VaporTech®) to meet our customers’ product specifications or match legacy finishes.

Infographic showing pros and cons of using a coating service provider or bringing PVD in-house

Tips for choosing the right PVD coating system

Before you choose a system:

  • Find out what types of coatings your system can produce: If you introduce a new product or color, will it be challenging to use the same machine? Can you use it for PVD as well as DLC coatings?
  • Determine whether your desired system comes with your choice of standard coatings or with the R&D expertise to create custom coatings.
  • Ensure the system is right-sized to meet your needs; don’t invest more (or less!) than you need to.
  • Ensure the system footprint is small enough to integrate into your facility easily.
  • How easy is the system to purchase, install, operate, and maintain?
  • Does the company have the resources to support you from coating development to service throughout the life of your system?

in house or outsource blog header (1200 x 1000 px)

You can download an easy-to-read graphic PDF version of this in-house PVD coating blog post. 

Whether you are looking at systems or looking for a good service provider (we have good ones we recommend!), please contact us by email or call us at 303-652-8500.

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