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About Sputtering Components

Our story...until now

We’ve learned a ton since our humble beginnings, in a garage just outside of Owatonna, MN.

That was in 2001, and Sputtering Components founder Dan Crowley was setting out to improve cathodes that applied thin films to architectural glass.

Steadily growing and absorbing what’s important for each industry—and for each project—today we have over 8000 rotary sputtering cathodes (rotary magnetrons) installed around the globe, not only for coating glass but also for making smartphones, display screens, solar panels, automobile parts, decorative hardware, semiconductors and more.

Now a member of the Bühler Group, we are still based in Owatonna but have channel partners around the world.

We are a member of the Society of Vacuum Coaters (SVC), the Association of International Metallizers, Coaters and Laminators (AIMCAL) and are represented on the SVC Foundation (SVCF) board of directors.


Founded in Owatonna, MN by Dan Crowley, who designed, built and shipped product, and Barry Nudelman, owner of a materials company, who supported Crowley's efforts.


Hires its first official employee, Jerry Kelly, who is still with the company today as a Customer Support Coordinator.

Jerry Kelly and Dan Crowley on a service trip, 2003


Earns its first patent: for its method of target attachment. A year later earns a patent for its method of cathode brushless power transmission. 


Moves out of Crowley’s garage and basement and into its own building.

Introduces an external-mount cathode and ships 100 of them for an architectural glass coater soon after.

SM external-mount (side-mount) cathode


Relocates to its current factory site.


Ships its 1000th end block.


Expands its representative network in Europe and Asia.

Releases its Swing Cathode™, an end block with a magnet pack that swings in a programmable rotary axis that is independent of the rotating target tube, making it an ideal system for display or 3D part coating.

Starts construction of a 10,000-square-foot addition, which will substantially increase manufacturing capability.

Groundbreaking for the plant addition, August 2012


Earns a patent for its magnet bar turnarounds, which increase target utilization. 


Releases the Remotely Adjustable Magnet Bar (RAM-Bar™), which allows users to adjust the distance between the magnet pack and the target surface from outside the vacuum chamber during processing to fine tune deposition uniformity in real time.

Remotely Adjustable Magnet Bar (RAM-Bar™)


Ships its 3000th end block. 


Becomes a member of the Bühler Group, a Swiss-based company with US headquarters in Plymouth, MN.


Ships its 5000th end block.

5000th end block, November 2019


Celebrates its 20th anniversary.

Engineering customer success

Our design team blends thin film industry experience with a passion for innovation.

SCI cathodes integrate at any level, from components to complete turn-key process lids. Their cost of ownership is the industry's lowest.

We use SolidWorks for 3D modeling to ensure optimal fit. Models can be shared with the customer and integrated into machine drawings.

Our advanced modeling capabilities include the following:

  • Finite element analysis for magnetic modeling sputter flux and magnetic modeling and for optimizing utilization, uniformity and collection efficiency
  • Molecular and transition flow analysis for designing gas manifolds
  • Thermal and cooling water flow simulations for analyzing thermal expansion and preventing damage due to high temperatures  
  • Structural simulations for analyzing deflection and stress

Vertically-integrated manufacturing

By manufacturing in-house, we have direct control over our quality and our schedule.

Our manufacturing operation includes high-precision CNC machining centers. Our capabilities include turning parts from 0.1 inch up to 30 inches (2.5 - 762 mm) diameter and milling parts from 0.1 inch up to 60 inches (2.5 - 1524 mm). All equipment is regularly maintained and calibrated to ensure 100% repeatability and accuracy.

All lid systems are programmed by trained personnel and fully tested prior to shipping. Components are cleaned and assembled following a detailed job packet to ensure each order is built according to the customer requirements. Final assemblies are bagged and packed to ensure they arrive safely at the customer site.

No shortcuts

Building a product that meets our customers' need for precision and reliability is the responsibility of everyone at SCI. 

Our quality control lab is in a climate-controlled environment. We employ a coordinate measuring machine (CMM), which allows exact measurement of manufactured parts to accuracies of 0.0003 inches (7.6 μm).

Both mechanical parts and magnetics are quality checked at the time of production.

SCI's quality program complies with the ISO-9001 standard.

Our only boss is you

From matching equipment with process requirements to installation, startup and service, our staff walks with the customer through every step of the process. 

We provide service and support worldwide through our in-house service technicians and our global sales & and service representatives.

  • Order replacement parts
  • Request product service
  • Schedule a training session

Learn more

Innovations for a better world

Sputtering Components has a dedicated R&D team.

Using our in-house test chambers, we can perform quick-turn prototyping and analyze customized results.

Customers can evaluate their process in SCI’s test system to verify key parameters such as deposition rate, process stability and film properties.

We have 22 patents or patents pending.


To maintain worldwide leadership by impressing our customers with:

  • Experienced and responsive employees who are eager to partner and build sincere relationships with them
  • Exceeding their expectations in providing quotes, models and drawings of customized solutions geared toward low cost of ownership
  • Delivering accurate, reliable and cost effective equipment solutions faster than any competitor
  • Expeditiously addressing their questions, support and service issues before and after a sale
  • Continuously improving products that innovate and retain our company as number one in our industry and in their sight


To provide our worldwide customer base with a full range of sputtering components designed to reduce their cost of operations through innovation.

Core Values

We strive to have motivated employees who feel appreciated and valued for their contributions to our success by modeling our company's core values:


  • We are transparent and honest.
  • We respect others and embrace collaboration.
  • We follow through on our commitments.


  • We take risks and learn from failures.
  • We are responsible for our work decisions and make a positive difference.
  • We make our business and our customers successful.


  • We innovate for a better world.
  • We learn every day, and we develop and empower others.
  • We strive for high quality and efficiency.