Denton Vacuum LLC

Creating innovation opportunities in the thin film coating industry
Written by: 
Tom Faunce
Produced by: 
Lance Pelletier

Enabling innovation is the mission of Denton Vacuum LLC. As thin film industry pioneers, Denton consistently raises the bar in product performance and outstanding service. Headquartered in Moorestown, New Jersey, with an office in China, Denton Vacuum places a strong focus on sputtering, evaporation and plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition systems for high-volume production and research and development.

Denton Vacuum was founded in 1962 by Richard Denton, a pioneer and innovator in the vacuum technology and optical films industries. A graduate of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Denton entered the thin film technology field when he joined Frankford Arsenal in Philadelphia in 1941. It was with this company that he advanced the new field of antireflection coatings, which led to the rapid creation of a new optical coating production center that made critical contributions to the American effort during World War II.

Denton Vacuum LLC

After the war, Denton founded the Optical Film Engineering Company in Philadelphia, providing optical coating services and producing high-vacuum deposition equipment, including that for sample preparation for electron microscopy. A serial entrepreneur, in 1964 Denton founded Denton Vacuum in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.

A diverse market

Over the years, Denton Vacuum has delivered systems that have been used in a majority of university and government labs for research and development purposes. The company also provides coatings that are used for production purposes, such as coatings on infrared sensors for night vision goggles and metal coatings on samples for electron microscopes. Denton Vacuum provides an array of precision-designed and -configured electron beam and ion-assisted electron beam deposition technologies to help influence and control the reflectance, transmittance, absorbance and resistance in optical applications.

“Electron microscopy is a market that is really growing for us,” says Frank Cumbo, president and CEO of Denton Vacuum. “We sold a few hundred last year and expect that number to significantly increase this year.”

Other industries that Denton Vacuum serves include aerospace, medical, optics, semiconductor and solar. In the medical field, Denton Vacuum has created hard coating for stents. “A titanium nitride coating is used, which is compatible with live tissue and prevents any contamination,” Cumbo explains. “Our wear and protective coatings are used on very precise instruments.”

In order to stand out in this niche industry, Denton Vacuum has set itself apart by utilizing its proprietary technology to provide a vast array of options for its customers’ film application needs. An additional asset is the customer service that the company provides. “We wrap a lot of support around every single one of our products,” says Cumbo. “We test every system here in the factory before we ship it. We then install it and test it again to ensure it meets the customer’s requirements.”

With approximately 55 employees and a 47,000-square-foot facility, Denton Vacuum possesses the ability to perform all of its manufacturing in-house. All thin-film deposition occurs in a high-vacuum chamber, which creates a controlled environment and prevents contamination. By maintaining a fully stocked inventory of long lead components, Denton Vacuum is able to provide a relatively short lead time for its clients compared to other competitors in the industry.

Bringing experience to the table

Before joining Denton Vacuum, Cumbo spent a number of years working for the U.S. Navy and NASA, where he was the program manager of solid propulsion systems. Transitioning into the thin-film industry in 1996, Cumbo worked as global director of sales and marketing for a materials analysis firm before joining Denton Vacuum in October 2015. Since joining the company, he has witnessed Denton Vacuum bounce back from the recession to reach pre-2008 figures. “Fortunately, we serve numerous industries in both research and development and production, which enables us to remain stable,” Cumbo explains.

Cumbo attributes the success of Denton Vacuum and its ability to survive the recession to the employees maintaining the quality, diversity and reputation of the company. “Our history and reputation will help to catapult us into the new markets we wish to enter,” he shares. “With new technologies and products, we’ll be able to open some doors with our name brand.”

By maintaining growth in congruence with the worldwide gross domestic product average, Cumbo says that Denton Vacuum will continue to expand by looking into new markets and seeking out more sales associates to help penetrate those sectors. “It’s all about maintaining steady and manageable growth,” says Cumbo. “There will be opportunities for us to grow at an accelerated rate. It’s a matter of tapping into the right resources to achieve that growth and doing it right by maintaining our quality and level of service.”

By raising the bar in quality and service, Denton Vacuum LLC will remain a leader in the market and will continue to advance thin-film technologies that enable innovation throughout numerous industries. 

Strategic Partnership(s): 
Archer & Greiner
EFE Laboratories
VAT Inc.