Hard Chrome Replacement using Nanocrystalline Cobalt Plating
Need for Hard Chrome Replacement
Steels used in aggressive environments with corrosion coupled with high wear have traditionally used toxic "engineered" hard chrome plating for surface protection. In recent years, there has been a push to replace toxic hard chrome plating processes for worker health and safety reasons.
Nanocrystalline Cobalt Plating
Integran has developed a drop in hard chrome replacement using an electroplated nanocrystalline Cobalt, called Nanovate CoP (also referred to as nCoP), that is a cost effective and has higher performance. The process has been proven stable through industrial application of millions of amp hours, and there are industrial products with the material in the field since 2008. An SAE - AMS Specification is being voted on for approval (Document B13AA - "Nanocrystalline Cobalt-Phosphorus Electroplating") as of November 2013 and a Mil-Spec is also in the final stages of review.
Integran licenses the technology to interested parties (currently deployed to Navair, Pratt and Whitney, and Enduro Industries), and offers low volume production and application engineering through it's facilities in Toronto. The material is particularly well suited for sliding wear applications (hydraulics, pneumatics) and high chloride corrosion environments (salt spray, muriatic acid wash-downs etc.).
The material/process has the following benefits:
1) Lower Cost
The Nanovate CoP has a high deposition efficiency (over 90% vs 15-25% for hard chrome) allowing parts to be processed at incredible speed. With plating rates of up to 200 microns/hour (imagine 30 microns in 8 minutes!), you can consolidate multiple hard chrome plating lines into one Nanovate CoP line, or increase your capacity to protect steel using the same shop footprint. Higher efficiency also means smaller power supplies, and lower electrical utilization for the same deposit thickness.
2) Higher Corrosion Resistance
The corrosion resistance of Nanovate CoP far exceeds that of hard chrome because the material is not microcracked. There is no need for expensive Nickel underlayers that are common with hard chrome usage in high corrosion environments.
The corrosion performance also opens the door to reducing thickness, which further reduces the cost of the part.
3) Lower Friction/Sliding Wear
The lower coefficient of friction of Nanovate CoP over hard chrome and contributes to better sliding wear performance, and therefore lower seal leakage rates. This wear is achieved using the same surface prep and finish specified with hard chrome and the same seals.