For contract thin film coating companies, securing the right thin film deposition system, with the right enhancements for optimal control, manufactured by the right partner, is critical to business success. With significant growth in several target markets projected over the next five to ten years, thin film deposition equipment that enables both flexibility across multiple applications and reliability across multiple runs is essential to keeping up with dynamic customer demands.
Industry Growth Leads to New Demands on Systems
Several markets for the precision optics industry, including hard coatings and electrically-conductive coatings, are expected to see substantial growth over the next decade, thanks in large part to demand for consumer electronics. Since contract coaters tend to serve customers across multiple industries and end-user applications, they need to be able to support – and often switch quickly between – many application-specific requirements.
Contract coaters need to produce consistent, reliable thin films across multiple runs, and apply these coatings quickly in various run sizes and form factors. The right thin film deposition equipment is crucial to helping contract coaters take advantage of the coming demand in their space.
Basic Requirements for Thin Film Deposition Systems
System flexibility and reliability are critical, and keeping these requirements top of mind is paramount to selecting the right thin film deposition system. While low-budget solutions might seem enticing, chances are they will not be as reliable and won’t be able to deliver the control needed for real-world production. ETO (engineer-to-order) solutions won’t deliver the flexibility needed to meet customer demands in such a dynamic industry. The best systems will be highly customizable, but built on standardized platforms to ensure they are production-proven.
The decision goes beyond the system itself – establishing a partnership with a thin film system solutions provider is also important. The right partner will ensure that the solution is tailored to specific needs, while bringing deep process knowledge to bear on system configuration. Their knowledge should include system enhancements such as ion sources or in-situ controls, which improve thin film performance.
What makes the ideal thin film deposition solution for a contract coater? We look at the unique needs and trends of the industry and discuss the most important factors to consider in our white paper, Solving 5 Big Thin Film Deposition Challenges Facing Contract Coaters.