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Case Study: Increasing Vacuum Coating Capacity for a Leading Optical Component Manufacturer

In Spring 2015, PVD started working with a customer who specialized in providing and manufacturing subsystems, process controls, and instruments for markets using thin film technology. In their search for a new vendor who could build a vacuum coater to their detailed specifications, the customer solicited ten companies. Out of those ten companies, PVD was selected for the project. Recently, we spoke with the customer about the process of working with PVD. They told us:

The Challenge

We were looking to increase capacity of equipment in order to increase output, so we wanted a new vacuum coating machine to support the work of our existing facility. We needed a coating system that matched our unique process, and we came to PVD with a specific design in mind.

We modeled our requirements on a 50-year old legacy machine and wanted a more modern version that would offer certain capabilities. Beyond increasing capacity, we were looking to increase process automation, reduce variability in processes, and gain greater control. The new coating system design required features that made all of these possible.


Cost was a big factor in our decision process. Throughout our search for a partner, PVD proved to be most attractive in terms of final expense and engineering value. They weren't the lowest quote, but they were 10-15% less than others we reached out to.

PVD's genuine interest in the project also contributed to our decision to work with them on this custom vacuum coating project. When I contacted PVD, Jim was eager to help and very knowledgeable. Working with a partner who understood the work we were doing built a foundation of trust from the beginning.

The Approach

The PVD team was easygoing and willing to work with what we laid in front of them. They didn't try to talk us into a different system or modifications; they created what we asked for.

Based on our design, PVD further built out the concept for the final vacuum coating system. They offered design suggestions based on their engineering expertise that would help us achieve the results we wanted. While building out the final concept, PVD's process was very conversational and collaborative. The review process was thorough and the communication was excellent.

The Result

We have been working through test runs and production with our customers, and we are excited about our production capacity as their demand increases.

PVD stuck to their install date and worked closely with our team to ensure that the delivery and install went smoothly. Overall, the process with PVD was really good. They helped us get what we needed in order to make the advancements we wanted to achieve.

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Topics: Custom Systems

Written by PVD Staff

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