PVD and CVD coatings on carbide - 4 advantages

Explore the benefits of PVD and CVD coatings on carbide milling cutters for high-performance industries.

PVD and CVD coatings on carbide: 4 advantages

Carbide tool coatings have a long history and PVD (Physical Vapour Deposition) and CVD (Chemical Vapour Deposition) technologies have revolutionized this industry.

Since the 1970s, with further acceleration in the 1980s, PVD and CVD coatings have begun to significantly influence the performance of inserts and cutters, improving tool life, speed of execution and quality of finishes.

The color of the various coatings is given by the structure, chemical or physical.

Other bright colors were born for aesthetic use, such as furniture ornaments or aesthetic parts in tuning.  In chip removal, the best natural characteristic obtained from the original coating is needed, because the dye additives could decrease the mechanical qualities.

In this article we will talk about the advantages of carbide coatings and the innovative IRIS coating from SAU.

Keep reading.

Coating types and applications

As we have mentioned there are two large families of coatings that SAU proposes. 

Let’s look at them together

PVD coatings:

PVD coatings are particularly suitable for inserts with the need for a good cutting edge, solid milling cutters and tapping tools. 

These coatings, with lower thickness and better cutting precision, are ideal for materials such as stainless steel and super alloys, or finishes of materials such as steel and cast iron, ensuring excellent finishes.

Here are some application examples of PVD SAU coatings:

- orange coating: used on tools for the processing of stainless steel and especially on super alloys that require in particular high resistance to high temperatures.


-grey coating: ideal for machining cast iron and steel, thanks to the increased resistance to abrasion.

CVD coatings:

CVD coatings, with higher thicknesses, are more suitable for machining operations that require greater resistance to abrasion, such as machining of cast iron and steel. 

They are not recommended for tools at very high speeds, due to the extreme temperatures reached.

The Multilayer coating

Since 2000, multilayer coatings have introduced further improvements:

  • High adhesion to carbide, ensuring greater toughness and elasticity in the substrate, improving stability of the coating even in heavy machining.

  • Hardness and low roughness on the outer layer, useful for extremely hard surfaces with very low roughness, ideal for heavy machining of steel and cast iron or non-ferrous materials such as aluminum and copper.

IRIS coating

The latest innovation from SAU, the IRIS coating, fully applies the multilayer concept. 


With very high adhesion, elasticity and extreme surface hardness, it is particularly effective on non-ferrous materials and it is the flagship of SAU coatings.

The advantages of PVD and CVD coatings


So what are the benefits of coatings on carbide tools?

We make a quick summary of the advantages of the coatings proposed by SAU. 

  1. Protection
    A thin coating layer of a few microns protects the carbide from early decarburization, extending tool life.

  2. Duration
    PVD and CVD coatings significantly increase tool life, reducing machining time and improving finishes.

  3. Efficiency
    They allow to increase execution speed (Ex: from 6 to a minute) allowing to change the tools less frequently, reducing downtime and tool breakage.

  4. Roughness
    They improve the quality of the worked surfaces thanks to a more constant cut over time.

Conclusions on carbide coatings

Let’s not be influenced by color. The coatings and therefore the derived natural colors, have been chosen to obtain the best performances, in application of the material to be worked. 

Choosing the right coating can make a big difference in terms of efficiency, durability and quality of workmanship.

For more information on PVD and CVD coated cutters and drills, please consult our catalog, where you will find all the necessary information on carbide inserts and coatings available.

Alternatively, do not hesitate to contact our technicians:

SAU - Quality Tools Engineering since 1982.

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