The new report "Markets in Wear Coatings: Hard Chrome and its Alternatives, 2016" focuses on hard chrome wear coatings and chrome replacement. This comprehensive examination of the subject discusses the various technologies, the industries in which they will, and won't, be used, and forecasts to 2022.
Used as a fundamental wear-resistant coating in a wide range of industries - aerospace, heavy equipment, automotive and many others - hard chrome plating has overcome increasing obstacles to market growth in recent years. Industry downsizing and consolidation following toughened legislation led to the closure or offshore relocation of as many as half of the chrome plating shops in North America, but the remaining chrome plating industry has been stable for several years. Most chrome plating shops, having accommodated new regulations, are now thriving and profitable.
However, the situation is changing rapidly. Alternatives to hexavalent hard chrome are now poised to have a significant impact on hex chrome's markets to the degree that sales of hard chrome plating consumables may fall into negative territory.
A number of alternatives to hard chrome are available. The chief substitute is thermal spray, in particular high-velocity oxy-fuel (HVOF), often favored due to its high strength and wear resistance and fast turnaround time. Some of the industry has begun transitioning to high-velocity air-fueled (HVAF) and high energy plasma spray. Thermal spray as a rule, however, faces fundamental limitations such as high cost, low throughput and difficulty with complex shapes or non-line of sight situations.
Thermal spray faces growing competition from new plating solutions that easily accommodate non-line of sight and complex shapes. These include electroless nickel composite plating, which can deposit diamond-composite coatings, and electrodeposited nanocrystalline cobalt-phosphorus alloys. Plasma vapor deposition (PVD) can make thin, high quality coatings for less cost, in some cases, than even decorative chrome.
The big news is that hard trivalent chrome, long sought as a more health- and environmentally-friendly alternative to hex chrome, is now a commercial reality. Hard trivalent chrome coatings have been demonstrated in large scale production and the technology is now available. The impact will be significant on established markets for hex chrome plating, since it's among the most economical and easily implemented hex chrome substitute. The good news for chrome platers is that they can convert to hard trivalent chrome coatings with relative ease and remain at the forefront of wear coating technology.
However, new legislative initiatives, particularly REACH in Europe, have made many nervous about any chromium content at all in their coatings, leading to growing interest in chromium-free coatings. Furthermore, REACH has also targeted cobalt salts, a prime constituent of nanocrystalline cobalt-phosphorus coatings, a very promising and economical plating alternative to hard chrome.
For wear coating markets, the picture is wildly uncertain. Users face wild swings in the cost of raw materials and uneven economic growth. Coating demand in the oil and gas sector went from frenzied to dormant in a short couple of years as a worldwide glut reduced demand for coatings. Forestry and pulp & paper continue a precipitous, long term decline. Other sectors are reporting reasonably optimistic conditions. Even players within the same industry, like small thermal spray powder suppliers, report widely varying market conditions. It is a time of great uncertainty, but also great promise. Report Features
The Chrome Plating Industry
- Health and environmental issues - Effects of pollution control laws - The industry today - Economic factors - Drawbacks in hard chrome
Chrome plating Market Analysis
- Aerospace - Oil & gas - Hydraulics & heavy machinery - General industry - Today's economy - New legislation - Geographic segmentation
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Laura Wood, Senior Manager
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Sector: Chemicals, Aerospace and Defence, Automotive Parts, Machinery and Parts , Paints and Coatings
(February 3, 2016 - 9:49 AM EST)
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