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EHLA: A Replacement for Hard Chrome Plating

Fri, 24 July, 2020

REACH Compliance

Since 2017, the use of hexavalent chromium in the prevention of wear and corrosion has been strictly limited throughout the European Union. New regulations, led by health and environmental concerns, led to the introduction of these restrictions, which mandate reductions in the use of hard chrome plating.

Current alternatives

After these regulations were introduced, a number of coating alternatives were adopted to serve the market, with some success. Laser cladding and thermal spraying have presented common replacements; however, both of these options present limitations. Laser cladding, whilst it provides high quality coatings, produces high heat input into components, and is slow to coat large parts. In turn, spraying processes can cover larger areas much more rapidly, but present higher porosity and lower bond strength, as well as being inefficient with material and gas usage.

Fast, efficient and robust

The new extreme high-speed laser application (EHLA) process has been developed as a replacement to chrome plating, and overcomes many of these limitations. The efficient use of materials (greater than 90% capture rate) reduces waste, ultra-low heat input into the components limits the effect on the substrate microstructure and deformation while providing a metallurgical bond high density (99.9%) – and all of this is achieved at speeds over 10 times greater than that possible using conventional laser cladding.

Industry pioneers

EHLA is sure to provide a breakthrough in the prevention of wear and corrosion and the extending of component lifespans. This stand-out technology is now making its way into industry, with companies across automotive, power generation, offshore and aerospace among the first to adopt and investigate its potential. TWI are pleased to support those interested in venturing into this cutting-edge process with the UK’s first EHLA system, alongside our upcoming webinar introducing concepts and knowledge on the process as well as wider EHLA uses.

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