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PROtective composite Coatings via Electrodeposition and Thermal Spraying

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - PROCETS (PROtective composite Coatings via Electrodeposition and Thermal Spraying)

Reporting period: 2017-05-01 to 2018-04-30

PROCETS main target is to deliver protective coatings covering a wide range of applications such as automotive, aerospace, metal-working, oil and gas and cutting tools industries via thermal spray and electroplating methods by utilizing more environmental friendly materials, compared to the currently used. This will allow the replacement of the hazardous process of hard chromium plating and WC-Co coatings via thermal spray. The main objectives of the PROCETS project are:
A. Electroplating
To select the optimum combination of hard and self-lubricant nano-particles to be integrated in a hexavalent chromium free electrolytic bath based on the mechanical performance of the composite coatings. To integrate the nano-particles in the electrolytic baths and formulate stable baths with excellent dispersion and prolonged lifetime. To develop a direct current electroplating method in pilot lines for applying PROCETS composite coatings following the requirements of the respective end users, and a pulse current method exhibiting superior functional properties compared to coatings produced by DC.
B. Thermal spray
To develop green carbide powders by efficient mechanical alloying procedure to be used as feedstock for thermal spraying. Development of a controlled and reproducible enhanced process based on thermal spray to optimize green carbide coatings able to be used to replace WC-Co coatings at industrial level. To evaluate and fulfill the application requirements.
C. Demonstration and validation
To set up, integrate the nano-particles and operate the electroplating pilot lines for the application of PROCETS composite coatings in specific components to be tested in operational environment. To integrate the thermal spray process in an industrial pilot-line and evaluate the life-in-service of the coated components. To apply the new developed protective coatings by both DC and PC electroplating methods in rods to be integrated in shock absorbers (Test case of Tenneco), and cutting edges of links to be integrated in chain saws (Test case of Husqvarna). To apply the new thermal spray coatings in rollers to be integrated in laminating roller machines for steel industry (Test case of Cromomed). To apply thermal spray and electroplating coatings in components of clay manufacturing industry machines (Test case of Wienerberger).
The main target of the PROCETS project is to take advantage of the use of nano-particles for the production of composite coatings with equal or superior properties to the hazardous Cr+6 coatings produced by electroplating or the WC-Co coatings produced by thermal spray. All necessary modifications that have to be carried out for the integration of the particles in the pilot lines will be assessed and developed during the project.
For the electrodeposition process, 4 different types of electrolytes with various nanoparticles are investigated in order to find the best alternative solution to Cr+6 coatings. Both DC and PC plating are utilized for the production of ,NiWP, NiP, FeP and Cr+3 coatings incorporating different nanoparticles, i.e. SiC, B4C or graphene, and the properties of the produced coatings were evaluated. On the other hand, the TS process is divided into two steps. The first step concerns the powder production and the second the spraying of the produced powders, which were Co free. The HVOF and CGS spraying methods were chosen for the PROCETS project as the most suitable in respect to the coating performance, the reproducibility of results and the efficiency. The production process and characterization of the powders and the coatings are under progress.
The partners responsible for the validation and the end-users have already performed a first prescreening of the tribological behavior of several electrodeposited and sprayed coatings, under conditions that can be extrapolated to industrial conditions, along with state-of-the-art benchmarks. Based on this prescreening process the most promising candidate systems will be selected. Moreover, different methodologies for materials testing and evaluation were developed and/or updated, in order to better simulate the needs of the end-users and perform testing under realistic conditions.
With respect to exploitation and dissemination activities, a holistic Innovation Management methodology is being followed that includes a combined strategy for IP, Dissemination and Exploitation of Project Results throughout the lifecycle. This has led to the development of an IPR Registry, the identification of Results & products and the development of a dissemination and communication strategy. A series of dissemination and communication actions have been completed.
The Lean Business model canvas has been used for the development of the business plans and detailed calculations have been performed for future revenues of the pilot plants.
PROCETS project is characterized by a series of advancements and considered to be ambitious in terms of the innovative nature of the objectives. Synoptically, the main advancements are:
A. Electroplating
1) Production of nano-composite coatings with enhanced mechanical properties compared to the hard Cr and Co-WC and introduction of new functionalities to the coatings.
2) Improvement of existing electroplating lines by appropriate modifications that will lead to the successful integration of nano-particles.
3) Release of electroplating industry from the hard chromium plating that will be restricted in the coming years by EC regulations.
4) Improvement in structure and morphology of composite coatings that consequently will increase their resist to wear, corrosion, impact damage and fretting.
5) Improvement of the ED process in terms of reproducibility, uniformity, robustness and yield.
6) Establishing the pulse plating procedure for the production of novel nano-composite metal alloy matrix coatings with superior functional properties.
7) Optimization of the whole process and improvement of the production yield at pilot scale by development and implementation of techniques suitable for process monitoring and quality assessment.
B. Thermal spray
1) The adoption of ''green'' cermets.
2) The mechanical properties of coatings applied by HVOF and CGS are similar to the WC-Co ones, with the advantage of a drastic decrease in terms of weight.
3) The starting raw materials are cheaper and their price is well consolidated and does not suffer of market trends.
PROCETS intends to deliver a new generation of coatings based on reinforcing nano-particles that will allow the replacement of environmental and health hazardous processes of hard chromium plating. The expected potential impact of the project includes:
1. Accelerated market uptake of nanomaterials and products in the surface finishing sector.
2. Improvement in existing manufacturing processes through integration of nano materials.
3. Improvement in technical knowledge on the integrated manufacturing processes for nanomaterials in terms of productivity, environmental performance and cost-effectiveness.
4. Contribution to development of business plans that encourage private sector investment for future business growth.
5. Promoting safe-by-design approaches in collaboration with the EU nano-safety cluster and contributing towards the framework of EU nano-safety and regulatory strategies.
Project concept