Recent advances in electron beam evaporation, using automated vacuum coating systems, are dramatically increasing the use of physical vapor deposition for both decorative and functional coating applications. Some examples of these applications are: 1. The use of new metals, including alloys, to provide improved corrosion and/or abrasion-resistant coatings for plastic substrates. 2. The use of new metals and oxides to provide new decorative effect. 3. The use of evaporated thick coatings of clear glass-like materials to protect thin metal coatings. 4. The use of evaporated thick coatings of clear glass-like materials to provide a hard surface on clear plastics used for glazing and opthalmic applications. 5. The use of evaporated copper as a strike-coating for subsequent chromium electroplating. 6. The use of multicomponent alloys to coat gas turbine engine vanes and blades to provide improved sulfidation and oxidation protection. 7. The use of evaporated metal compounds to provide a hard surface to cutting tools, dies, and softer metals like aluminum. 8. The production of free-standing metal foils and laminates.