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CORDIS - Resultados de investigaciones de la UE

New generation wear and corrosion coating enabling European industry growth

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - ThermaSiC (New generation wear and corrosion coating enabling European industry growth)

Período documentado: 2017-12-01 hasta 2019-01-31

The main problem being addressed in the project is the challenge of making thermal spray coatings based on SiC.

Many industrial parts are today coated to be able to resist many different kinds of wear, corrosion and heat. However, today´s coatings are not good enough. In an ideal world, coatings would be made of Silicon Carbide (SiC) – one of
the hardest materials in the world. Until now, however, one has only been able to make coatings of SiC in small vacuum chambers,an expensive method. The preferred method for coating is thermal spray but as SiC has no melting point it just sublimes
when being heated up. Hence materials with inferior properties compared to SiC are now used as coatings. This is the challenge now solved by Seram Coatings AS (SC).

This is very important for society in order to increase lifetime and lower lifetime costs of many different kinds of capital equipment found in for example jet engines, gas turbines, pistons, heat exchangers et cetera. In addition this will have a very positive environmental effect as it is expected to outperform less environmental friendly materials such as chrome, cobalt and tungsten carbide. The weight of for example jet engines will be lower by using ThermaSiC material and will effect in less emissions being made.

The objective of the ThermaSiC project is to commercialise this break-through invention and disruptive technology and enter the EU and US markets for high performance ceramic coatings. The project will focus on two key applications and include some technological development introducing metals into the powder material of Seram Coatings. A successful project will prove the ThermaSiC product for key customer applications, preferably for the two applications focused on in the project.

The overall main challenge addressed in this project, making thermal spray coatings based on SiC, has been overcome and we have several times now demonstrated good coatings based on silicon carbide. However, we met some unforeseen challenges when scaling up from lab to pilot line and when testing with customers - we needed as an example to have a more narrow particle size distribution than expected. This has delayed some of the piloting, especially with regards to heat exchanger plates, but we have demonstrated a commercial application pilot with Hunprenco with success.

All in all, project milestones have been met and we see just as good potential as we did when starting the project. The project has made it far more likely to succeed commercially.
The first half of the project has focused on the upscaling from lab scale to pilot line and manufacturing scale. This has been a bit more time consuming and complicated than expected, although we came back on track in second period. In short we have benefitted very much from bringing in experienced manufacturing personnel and industrial chemists and have finally been able to manufacture the desired product.

We have also moved to the largest industrial site in Norway, Herøya, and overcome initial technical and commercial challenges of bringing the product to market.

In the scaling up work we have defined and started performing professional manufacturing analysis of a multistep chemical process as well as powder manufacturing with spray drying combined with heat treatments in different kinds of ovens. Each process step has been carefully studied and we are close to freezing all steps on the chemical side as well as spraying.

We have engaged the different stakeholders in the project and submitted a stakeholder analysis - as well as having documented manufacturing costs and expected gross margin on the product.

Half-way in the project an amendment was done to structure the project better and in the last period we took in Hunprenco as project partner and succeeded with their application. To sum up we have achieved great product results and expect to get commercially to the market within a very few months.
We have documented that we have been able to spray SiC with thermal spray and formed coatings. Qualities will be improved step by step after finalizing heat treatment process in the months to come. SiC being thermally sprayed is unique.

We do expect to prove ThermaSiC material for key customer applications, but we are not sure if the chosen two in focus would be the ideal for our material yet.

If successful with project we expect to strengthen key European industries as well as preparing the ground for many new manufacturing jobs in Norway and EU.