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Development of a workplace friendly and environmentally acceptable hard chromium plating process

Objective



In Europe, the hard chromium electroplating industry still uses solutions which contain hexavalent chromium compounds (Cr6+) for deposition of hard chromium coatings. These coatings are used successfully for many engineering applications where corrosion and wear resistance are of prime importance such as, e.g., in car, machine and especially in pulp and paper machine components. However, hexavalent chromium compounds used for electrodeposition are recognised to be very toxic. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has proved that hexavalent chromium is considered to be carcinogenic, but trivalent chromium (Cr3+) is not /1/. This leads to occupational risks when working with Cr6+. Furthermore, Cr6+ requires much waste treatment and leads of a large quantity of sludge-disposal. The main objective of this project is to forward a more extensive industrial scale use of chromium (Cr3+) baths in hard chromium plating in Europe, because of their better occupational hygiene and safety. Based on the already developed - but not yet well modified - laboratory scale trivalent hard chromium baths at Ecole des Mines (Saint-Etienne, France), it is intended to develop a new, economical, industrial scale pilot trivalent plating process for hard chromium coatings. The deposited coatings must achieve the same functional properties as the coatings electroplated from hexavalent chromium solutions. After developing the pilot bath, it is also intended to transfer it on an industrial scale via the industrial partners and their process modifications, so that the required economical aspects and quality of the coatings are achieved. This project is very important for the European hard chromium electroplating industry, which confronts strong competition from the producers in the Far East and USA. This project will also have a competitive edge and it will support the European trivalent hard chromium bath developers and coating production sites within Europe.

Funding Scheme

EAW - Exploratory awards

Coordinator

KOVA-KROMI OY
Address
2,Hankikuja 2
01391 Vantaa
Finland