Picosun’s ALD solutions make quality watches tick

Picosun Group, a leading supplier of advanced Atomic Layer Deposition (ALD) thin film coating solutions, solidifies its position in the watchmaking market with repeat production system sales to prominent, high-class timepiece manufacturers.

Coating of watch parts is a prime example of ALD’s novel, innovative applications outside of the traditional wafer-based semiconductor manufacturing. It shows perfectly the flexibility and adaptability of the technology, and how several surface functionalities can be obtained with a single ALD coating. ALD films can be used to give the coated object a lustrous color which, due to the films’ excellent uniformity and conformality, is even all around the object and doesn’t vary between objects or batches. Also, the nanometer-scale tunability of the film thickness and the wide range of ALD materials create almost endless spectrum of colors to choose from. Alternatively, coatings that do not alter the object’s original color can be produced. Another key aspect is the protective function of the ALD film. As the ALD films are intrinsically pinhole-, crack- and defect-free, they form a hermetic encapsulation around the coated object. This prevents tarnishing and corrosion. As both color-tuning and surface protection can be attained with the same ALD film, material and process time savings are obtained. As a gas-phase method where relatively small amounts of process chemicals are needed and the process end products can be efficiently eliminated and neutralized, ALD is also an environmentally friendly technique.

Obviously, watchmakers are not the only ones who have adopted ALD as a key part of their manufacturing process. Other three-dimensional items such as machinery parts, metallic surgical implants and other metal items, and collector coins are routinely coated using Picosun’s production ALD solutions especially designed and optimized for these applications. Jewelry manufacturers also use ALD to produce anti-tarnish surface finish to their products.

When large amounts of objects need to be coated economically, batch size is what counts. PICOSUN™ P-300B and PICOSUN™ P-1000 production ALD systems are developed for fast, cost-efficient, high volume processing of various 3D items and they have already proven their capability and reliability at several industrial production sites around the globe for years.

“Picosun’s goal is to provide agile, comprehensive, and production-proven ALD technology throughout the global industrial field. ALD solutions for non-wafer 3D objects such as watch parts are Picosun’s specialty, an area where we have worked in close collaboration with our customers already for a decade. This has gained us the leading know-how and experience in this particular application area, making Picosun the go-to partner for all manufacturers seeking for a revolutionary way to improve their products to the cutting-edge of their respective markets,” says Mr. Juhana Kostamo, Managing Director of Picosun Group.

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