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Low cost tribological coatings by ion plating on large and complex shaped metallic components


The industrial target of this project is the development of a new PVD processes and plants, by Ion Plating Plasma Assisted (I.P.P.A.) able to realise (at low temperature) tribological coatings at costs comparable to the traditional galvanic ones and much lower than the existing PVD based processes on mechanical parts characterised by a 3D complex geometry (primarily for car component industry, but also for textile applications, engine components, gears and hydraulic components) and/or large mechanical parts (i.e. forming tools). Three main objectives are foreseen.:
1) Set up of an isotropic deposition process for the realization of tribological coatings on 3D complex geometry substrates, like gears, even on surface details not in optical view of the sources.
2) Set up of a plant for local coating in situ of large mechanical components ( i.e. forming tools).
3) Lowering of coatings costs through the dramatic shortening of deposition process and cleaning times.
In order to reach these industrial objectives two innovative solutions will be studied concerning I.P.P.A.: "High Pressure Ion Plating" (up to 1 mbar) to obtain an high isotropy, and the "Multi Plasma Ion Plating" configuration, finalized to the independent control of the plasma for ionization of the vaporized material and the bias of the substrates, the high pressure ion plating process in particular the genarated multi plasma and their influence on 1ayer properties will be studied.
The deposition materials to be investigated are the metallic nitrides, in particular Titanium, Aluminum and Chromium ones, and ternary compounds as TiAI Nx and multilayer realized with e.g. TiN+TiAl+TiA1N. Particular attention will be paid to the process control methods: dynamic analysis of the process gas phase composition through Mass Spectrometry and Plasma Optical Emission Spectroscopy, with the aim of operating the deposition process in "bad vacuum" conditions. The consortium comprises an end user (OTOMelara), two industrial research/end user structures (Ce.Te.V. Daimler Benz), a Company specialised in tribological coatings (Multi Arc), three public research Centres experienced in treatments characterisation (FEM, ITM), and in Ion Plating processes (Univ. Innsbruck), and is stictly connected with an SME.
Once finalised, the project will produce very considerable
environmental and economical benefits: in fact I.P.P.A. technique will be a clean and high productive solution, expected to realize in a large replacement of galvanic processes, well known for high pollution effects.

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Alenia Difesa - Un' Azienda Finmeccanica SpA
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Via Valdilocchi 15
19100 La Spezia

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