What Is PVD Chrome & What Are Its Uses
Physical Vapor Deposition (PVD) has come a long way since its introduction in the late 1980s and has continuously proven to be successful in a wide variety of functional and decorative applications. With advancing coating technology, there’s no doubt that we’re going to see a myriad of new possibilities opened for the use of this process. The combination of PVD’s coating aesthetics and its functionality secure it a unique place in metalwork.
PVD coating has been around for decades in the aerospace industry and has fast gained popularity in the automotive and medical industries. Considered a clean, light, extremely durable, and eco-friendly finish, PVD boldly stands apart from the traditional chrome-plating process that is known for peeling, pitting, and harmful chemical properties.
Here’s what you should know about PVD chrome and its uses:
PVD Chrome Features
PVD chrome is a decorative or industrial finish that is used on anything from car wheels and parts to faucets to jewelry to tools. It can be applied to any metal surface that can accommodate an extremely thin layer of chrome. It’s important to note that PVD chrome finishing is not only ornamental but also offers practical solutions to everyday problems. For instance, if you want to give your car wheels a new look while also protecting them from corrosion, scratches, and other normal wear and tear, PVD chrome finishing is a perfect solution.
PVD chrome finishing helps improve hardness and wear, as well as improving impact, temperature, and oxidation resistance. The process of electroplating chrome finishes on metal surfaces often involves a totally safe metal-plating process that improves the surface structure of the products being plated, making them more durable and even easier to clean. Generally, PVD chrome decorative finishes are custom-designed to help improve both the appearance and durability of your product.
Different Types of Chrome Finishes
There are different types of PVD chrome finishes that you can choose from. Considering that PVD chrome is available in high-quality decorative finishes, customers who need this type of coating can be assured of enhanced visual and functional performance for their products. An important quality of PVD is its ability to resemble more costly metals like brass, copper, gold, and even bronze.
The most common PVD chrome finishes in the market include:
- PVD black chrome
- PVD bright chrome
- PVD onyx chrome
- Other specialty colors
The type of PVD chrome finish you choose entirely depends on your specific application. A wide range of colors can be achieved, including silver and gold tones. By simply changing the surface preparation, different looks can be formulated, from polished to matte to brushed. Applications are wide, from a simple way to improve the curb appeal of your car to getting that sleek black-chrome finish for your wheels? A few finishes here and there, on top of maintaining your car to ensure it remains in top condition, will improve its value and appearance.
The Benefits of PVD Chrome
PVD chrome-plating offers a wide range of benefits, including increased strength and durability. In most applications today, this type of plating ends up being more cost-effective than other types of metal finishing. With improved durability, comes longer service life for your parts and products. Choosing PVD chrome for your finishing needs means peace of mind.
One of the biggest advantages of PVD chrome finishing is its lightweight and extremely thin deposits. When compared to the traditional chrome plating process, PVD chrome is up to 50% lighter and won’t add any unnecessary weight on your product. It’s also a more reliable and cost-effective metal-plating process when you want to achieve a longer lasting chrome effect.
Because of the unique characteristics of PVD chrome finishing, there’s a decreased need for secondary finishing or replacement. PVD chrome is a universally accepted environmentally friendly process, unlike traditional chroming that utilized toxic materials. PVD chrome can also be easily repaired and recoated. What you get is a finish that provides superior wear resistance, hardness, and will not fade, tarnish, chip, or corrode.
Here’s a short overview of the benefits of PVD chrome:
- Low maintenance
- Brilliant color options and brightness
- Uniform finishing and coating
- High wear, corrosion, and tarnish resistance
- Excellent hardness and extended durability
- Exceptional friction/scratch resistance
- UV radiation protection
- Electrical and chemical resistance
- An eco-friendly chrome plating solution
- Weather resistance
- Environmental licenses
The Uses of PVD Chrome
PVD chrome coatings have wider uses than most people realize—on car engines and wheels, bath taps, drill bits, medical equipment, electronics, architectural applications, and others. The market is actually growing at a rate of 10% per year with annual sales in excess of $2.5 billion. PVD chrome is used in the manufacturing industry to extend the life of tools and parts.
PVD chrome is also used to provide thermal and environmental protection for metal components in high-temperature turbine engines in the automotive industry. Wear-resistant PVD chrome is also used to harden and improve the overall durability of medical and dental equipment and tools. But perhaps the fastest-growing area of PVD chrome application is in the automotive industry.
PVD chrome finishing for wheels has captured a large market across the world. Whether you’re a first-time car owner or you already own several rides, you can easily switch your factory wheels for aftermarket PVD chrome wheels with a more appealing and stylish look. With the lighter and more durable coating, car owners can enjoy better fuel efficiency and fewer wheel maintenance concerns.
If you’re looking for a metal finishing process that provides a highly polished, long-lasting, and consistent decorative finish, look no further than PVD chrome for that slick look. For car owners, PVD chrome finishing offers a cost-effective way to protect their wheels and improve curb appeal for their cars.
Jordan McDowell is a full-time blogger with a keen interest in what’s going on in the automotive industry. He regularly contributes content for leading brands in the PVD chrome business like Wheel Creations PVD.