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Innovative coating and finishing technologies for zinc, brass, aluminium in hardware

The UK arm of an international manufacturer of engineered mechanical fixtures and hardware components is seeking innovative materials and methods for coating and finishing.
The current manufacturing process involves die casting of the components which are mainly zinc, although other substrates and manufacturing processes are also employed. These components are then electroplated with copper which makes the surface more uniform, assures good electrical conductivity and enhances adhesion of other coatings. Subsequent nickel plating provides a superior corrosion resistant barrier, and then a range of decorative finishes can be applied thereafter. This combination of conventional processes however, is complex, lengthy, costly and often results in the generation of hazardous and environmentally detrimental waste products.
The company is therefore seeking a novel process and technology to improve the mechanical, functional and decorative finishes of their current components, or allow the use of alternative (lighter/cheaper) materials (e.g. aluminium, brass, engineered plastics) whilst minimising hazardous waste and lowering production costs. Solutions will be required to: ? Satisfy end-user expectation of quality die cast decorative finishes such as: chrome, gold, satin, bronze, graphite, nickel and their derivatives (brushed, polished, distressed, etc.);
? Meet performance durability tests: UV stability, corrosion resistance (1000 hours neutral salt spray and ASTM G85 1000 hours prohesion resistance); scratch resistance (5H) and coating adhesion (crosshatch);
? Be applicable to a variety of substrates including: aluminium, stainless steel, zinc, brass and polymer composite substrates and components formed by die casting, forging, extrusion, injection moulding etc.;
? Be cost effective and scalable i.e. feasibly applied to the manufacturing of circa 10 million components annually and deployable globally;
? Reduce the environmental impact in comparison to existing electroplating methods.
Industry and academia with such solutions are sought for technical cooperation or licensing agreements.

» Reference: TRUK20170822001/UNITED KINGDOM

» Sector: Manufactura Industrial Otras Tecnologías Industriales Industria

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This project has received funding from the European Union Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under grant agreement n° [609149].

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