Abstract Considerable interest has been shown in the use of planar magnetron sputtering to obtain higher deposition rates than those obtained by conventional diode sputtering. However, there are other valuable benefits of magnetron sputtering that greatly extend the range of use. These include reductions in substrate heating, in radiation damage and in film contamination as well as being favorable for operation in modes that result in lower coating costs. The deposition of multilayer films on to moving substrates using magnetron cathodes simplifies the problem of attaining uniformity and at the same time, provides high substrate throughput. A microprocessor controlled inline sputtering system has been designed that is capable of providing a high order of process repeatability.