What is PVD coating on the A700 Black and does it matter?

A700-Black_Cutaway_AltVD or Physical Vapor Deposition, is an environmentally friendly vaporization coating technique which involves the transfer of the coating material at the atomic level to the surface of a metal object. This process is used in many industrial processes in the Aerospace, Automotive and health care industries as a better alternative to electroplating.

During the PVD coating process of the A700, titanium nitrate is bombarded with a high power energy beam which vaporizes it. The vaporized material is transported into a heated vacuum chamber where the part to be coated has been placed. The part to be coated is then electrically charged causing the vaporized titanium nitrate to bond to the chrome plated surfaces of the part. This process is individually carried out for each and every part including the port plugs.

So what’s the advantage to adding this coating process? PVD coating with titanium nitrate has a number of advantages over standard chrome plating. Specifically these advantages are related to an increase in the hardness of the surface of the parts. To provide a point of reference, marine or navel brass has an HV (Vicker Pyramid Number) value of approximately 160. When navel brass is coated with chrome the hardness value of its outer surfaces are increased from 160HV to 900HV. While navel brass is resistant to corrosion coating it with chrome further increases its ability to withstand the harsh conditions of the marine environment while also making its surfaces more durable and resistant to dents and scratches. This is where the A700 Black begins life, as standard chrome plated brass. When these parts are coated with the titanium nitrate the HV value travels again up from 900HV to an astounding 2500HV or nearly three times harder than its chrome plated brass cousin. This makes the surfaces of the A700 Black significantly more durable both to scratches/dents as well as its susceptibility to corrosion. As an additional benefit the titanium nitrate gives the system a very cool gun metal finish.

A700-Black-Tech_smSo what’s the bottom line, should you choose the Black MK25/A700 over its chrome cousin? From a functionality perspective they’ll both breathe identically and feature all of the same adjustments to customize your experience. That said I believe the increase in surface hardness and its ability to protect the metal parts of the regulator will not only help your regulator looking great but also increase its lifespan. With that in mind I believe its well worth the moderate cost of the upgrade.