Chromefree Project Manager Andrew Burt from Tewkesbury (Diamond Chrome) says of the project “it is an opportunity to further our experience and credentials in research and development and we are looking forward to the challenges of leading this exciting project. Hard chrome plating is a common engineering coating which is reliant on hexavalent chrome. There are many alternative surface engineering coatings however, combination of low friction, high hardness corrosion resistance and relatively low cost has not been matched. There is a clear need to develop a CrVI (hexavalent chrome) free replacement for conventional hard chrome as EU REACH regulations restrict the use of certain SVHCs (Substances of Very High Concern) of which CrVI is one.”
Substances of Very High Concern are those substances which have been identified under EU REACH regulation as requiring restriction of use as the first step towards restriction of use as a chemical. Thus there is there is a current need to replace technologies reliant on materials featuring on the list. CrVI is currently widely used in electrodeposited coatings and features heavily on the SVHC list. Engineering coatings contribute ~£10.8Bn to the UK economy. Surface engineering is a key activity in the production of high value components and the downstream goods which depend on them are estimated to be worth ~£140Bn, 10% of UK GDP.
The project which is concentrating upon depositing a nickel coating impregnated with nano particles to enhance wear and hardness properties is anticipated to last 1 year. The project consists of a consortium of academic institutions Leicester University and TWI Ltd as well as other interested collaborators from industry including aircraft bearing manufacturer NMB Minebea UK and J C Bamfords and Weir Group. Tewkesbury (Diamond Chrome) are leading the project and the lead scale-up process and technology demonstration.
The project is now in it’s third quarter and is being scaled up and by the end of the year TDC will be in a position to start coating parts from other industrial partners as well as other interested parties for benchmarking against hard chrome and other coatings. Pictured is Adeoye Thomas presenting TDC’s 2nd quarter report at the recent quarterly meeting held at TWI in Rotherham.