Frequently Asked Questions

Surface Solutions

Offers five different physical vapor deposition (PVD) coatings.

As an essential business, Surface Solutions will remain open throughout the pandemic.

What is TiN coating?

TiN stands for titanium nitride.  TiN is an extremely hard, vacuum-deposited, material that is applied to industrial tools to make them last longer. TiN is wear-resistant and reduces the friction between the tool and the workpiece.

How is TiN coating applied?

There are several ways to apply TiN coating.  One of the most common methods is the cathodic arc process in which titanium is melted inside a vacuum chamber using an electric arc.  The process ionizes most of the titanium that evaporates, and these ions are attracted to the tools being coated by applying a negative voltage to the tools.  Initially, the voltage is very high, and the parts being coated heat up to 500°F – 1000°F via ion bombardment.  Once heated, nitrogen is introduced into the vacuum chamber.  The nitrogen reacts with the titanium ions forming titanium nitride, which condenses on the tools, building up to form a wear-resistant coating.

How hard is TiN coating?

The hardness of very thin, very hard materials is usually determined with the Vickers Hardness Test (Hv).  TiN coating has a Vickers hardness of about 2500 – 2700 Hv.

How thick is TiN coating?

Most TiN coating is applied between .00005” and .0003” thick.  The thinner coatings are more decorative in nature, while thicker coatings provide wear resistance.  For most applications, a thickness of 2 – 5 microns (.0001” – .0002”) is specified.

Surface Solutions tries to apply about .0002” of coating to most parts since this thickness can provide double the tool life, or more, compared to .0001” thick coatings.

Can TiN coating be removed?

TiN can be removed from tool steels, other ferrous materials, and some other types of metal using a hydrogen peroxide solution.  The process is exothermic, so parts can be damaged during the stripping process if they are not closely monitored.  It is best to leave stripping to the experts.

Removing TiN from some materials (carbide, titanium, etc.) is not advised because the hydrogen peroxide can chemically attack the substrate material (leaching cobalt from the carbide, etc.).

How much does TiN coating cost?

The cost of TiN coating can range from less than a dollar to a thousand dollars, or more, depending on the type of parts and size of the part.

TiN coating is done in batches, so the price is primarily dependent on how many parts or tools can be coated in one batch.  Size of the vacuum chamber, type of part fixturing required (part spacing), part cleaning requirements, and coating thickness are just some of the factors used in determining the price.

In general, commodity type parts (cutting tools, drills, taps, end mills, etc.) have lower coating prices than one of a kind type parts like punches and dies, injection molds, etc.  Also, the higher performance coatings cost more than TiN.  Here’s our pricing for coating cutting tools. (link to PDF)