*Marko Schoebitz, Wolfgang Fukarek, Tenneco, VTD Vakuumtechnik Dresden GmbH, Dresden
The paper introduces the design and parameters of a new PVD coating system, MINIMET, and highlights the capability of being integrated into a lean production flow, resulting in lower Cost of Ownership compared with standard batch coaters. Options and limits concerning the coating of 3-D parts are discussed. The MINIMET is a fully automated PVD coating system for the metallization of plastic parts such as small reflectors used in lighting devices. Substrates can be pre-treated by a plasma, metallized with Al, Cr or other metals by means of magnetron sputtering and top coated using a MF-PECVD process. The MINIMET can operate with a cycle time down to 20 s and thus be operated synchronously with injection molding or lacquering systems. Developed for an automated loading and unloading process, the PVD coating system can be loaded directly with substrates from injection molding or lacquering systems utilizing a robot or an automatic handling system. This eliminates several handling and storage steps, reduces the risk of substrate contamination and damage, and finally ensures high uptime at very low labor cost.