Bing Han’s doctorate in material science and engineering is going to come in handy when she visits China this year. Bing is in charge of the technical side of the Kloeckner PVD effort and is also the liaison between Kloeckner and partner Double Stone China. This role will see her traveling to visit Double Stone to inspect new PVD machines before they are shipped to the Kloeckner Cincinnati branch.
“I’m responsible for the installation, set up, and ongoing production,” Bing says. “I also speak Chinese, and Kloeckner needed a bilingual person to talk to Double Stone China.”
Up until this point, almost all of the industrial PVD chambers in the US are roughly the size of a copy machine. These new machines that will be brought from China to Kloeckner, on the other hand, will be about five feet wide and 14 feet tall. These will be the first machines in the US able to produce PVD on sheets and profiles on a manufacturing scale.
“We are really scaling it up,” Bing says. “The challenge will be to get this huge chamber, with a massive vacuum system, to operate reliably and repeatedly. That is going to be critical.”
One of the other challenges will be to get the consistency of color. Each vacuum chamber has different conditions, so it is going to take some experience to work out all the variables. This is why Bing is going to China in person.
“Chinese people have perfected the method,” Bing says. “They have 20 years of research on how to reproduce exact colors using the giant equipment. I’m going to go there to see how they operate.”
This is also where Bing’s expertise comes in. During her graduate work, she worked with both physical vapor deposition (PVD) and chemical vapor deposition. She also worked with many of the chemicals involved in the process. For example, the anti-fingerprinting PVD coating uses thin films of metal oxides and other materials that Bing has worked with before. When combined with the procedures she learns in China, she should be able to solve any technical problems that arise.
“I’m going to build a quality lab in which we are going to test every batch for quality control,” Bing says.
Bing also says that she is impressed with KloecknerTM and Double Stone SteelTM PVD’sefforts so far. Kloeckner has already performed a lot of environmental, chemical, and mechanical testing on sample materials from Double Stone China to ensure Kloeckner will be able to offer the best PVD coatings available anywhere on the market. Currently, the PVD coated metals are primarily used for interior applications, but that trend is beginning to expand to outside uses as the technology improves. Kloeckner looks to expand capacity as the demand for PVD materials expands.
“VP John Dobeck has had the foresight to see that it is a huge market here in the US for a domestic source,” Bing says. “Once it starts going here, if it goes well, we are going to have more of these facilities all across the US.”