Thermal spray applications as an alternative to hard chrome plating
Thermal spray coatings are increasingly used as an alternative to hard chrome plating in a range of applications.
Environmental legislation in respect of hexavalent chrome in the chrome plating process has meant that many plating companies have sought alternatives to the traditional plating process.
A range of thermal spray coatings can be applied as an alternative to hard chrome plating with differing costs and quality. At the entry level, twin wire arc spray coatings of Metallisation 103T (FeCrB) will give similar results to traditional chrome plate although a little less dense. For some applications, even a coating of Metallisation 60E (13% Cr steel) would be suitable.
The next level of coating is with High Velocity Oxygen Fuel (HVOF) spraying NiCrBSi materials. These coatings are extremely dense and offer very good corrosion and acid resistance. They have a similar hardness to hard chrome plate and can be finished with conventional SiC grinding wheels.
At the peak of chrome plate alternative coatings is HVOF Tungsten Carbide (WC) based alloys. Various alloys of Tungsten Carbide, Cobalt and Chrome give excellent hardness and performance for sliding wear applications as well as resistance to corrosion. Having wear characteristics up to 10x greater than hard chrome plating, HVOF WC coatings require finishing by diamond grinding or polishing.
One limitation of thermal spray coatings is that the process is line-of-sight so you need to be able to see the surface being sprayed. This makes coating of small internal bores impossible although above approximately 75mm diameter, internal bore spray processes are available.
The steps required for thermal spray alternatives to hard chrome plating are much simpler, just requiring a degrease, gritblast, thermal spray and finish grinding.
The thermal spray chrome plate alternative coatings are found in such industries as oil and gas, aerospace, mining/construction equipment, naval engineering and the printing industry to name but a few.
Application Data Sheets
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