Today, most manufacturers use a technology called PVD (Physical Vapor Deposition) for their faucet finishes.
The process involves the deposition of zirconium nitride, titanium nitride, or other metallic ion combinations under low vacuum conditions.
The finishes laid down with this method are considered practically indestructible.
PVD can be used on almost any material from brass to plastic.
The complete PVD finishing process from cleaning to final inspection takes place under clean room conditions that include hygienic air purification, pressurized to reduce dust and other contaminants.
Individual parts are hung on racks and travel through a proprietary nine-step ultrasonic, aqueous cleaning process.
Sound-wave vibrations and chemicals thoroughly clean and prepare the surface for coating.
The cleaning process contains no chlorinated solvents or other ozone-depleting chemicals.
After drying and inspection, the parts are taken to the PVD chamber for the coating process.
This process combines reactive gases such as nitrogen and acetylene with specific metals to form a thin, film-like metal alloy that coats metal parts creating an elegant, highly durable finish.
PVD coatings are extremely thin, usually .05 microns thick. No clear coat protection is required with a PVD finish, and no toxic wastes are produced as they are in electroplating.
PVD finishes offer exceptional richness and depth, and are resistant to discoloration by sunlight.
In addition, in abrasion tests conducted by independent testing laboratories, PVD finishes have been found to be more than 23 times more resistant than chrome plating.
All PVD finishes are not created equal, however.
All products finished with the PVD process must first have a finished surface of some sort. In most cases, products are chrome plated then processed in a PVD chamber for coloring.
The final finish will only be as good as the surface it is adhered to. If the chrome underneath begins to peel (either from expansion and contraction, or because the plating is too thin), the finish will fail.
Each of the manufacturers has a different name for their finishes which use this process, but the procedure is similar.
Regardless of the type of finish, however, harsh abrasives should always be avoided when cleaning faucets.
|The average PVD faucet will cost 20% to 35% more than chrome.||More about PVD|