The future of hard chrome plating
A thread running from 1997 through 2013 . . .(1997)
I am interested in finding out some details as to the future of hard chrome plating. How are operating costs going to be affected by environmental or health regulations? What is the expected change to operating costs related to waste removal, waste treatment, air treatment, health testing, and raw chemical purchases? What is the expected need for capital equipment to support a future plating system, and what is the estimated cost? Is there a general cost growth rate (percentage/year) that exists for hard chrome plating operating costs? What is the life expectancy of hard chrome plating, 5 yrs, 10 yrs, etc.? Do suitable replacements exist or are they on the near future horizon for providing wear and corrosion resistant properties? Any information that can be provided will be appreciated, Thank You.Ken Inda
- Northwestern Univ.
Industry Canada has an engineer, Emile Beauchamp, who did a study on this. Ask him for a copy, it will answer some questions about where Canada thinks chrome plating is going.
NOT TOO GOOD ! IF EPA GETS THEIR WAY, ALL HARD CHROME PLATERS WILL BE ELIMINATED. OOPS! THERE IS ONE EXCEPTION, THEY WILL LEAVE A FEW FEDERALLY FUNDED HARD CHROME PLATERS, BECAUSE THE GOVERNMENT NEEDS AND SPECIFIES HARD CHROME PLATING (CAN'T FIND SUBSTITUTE).
I PLAN TO FIGHT AND KEEP OUR HARD CHROME PLATING SHOP OPEN FOREVER. OF COURSE WE WILL COMPLY AND KEEP A TOP QUALITY PLATING FACILITY FOLLOWING THE THREE "R-R-R'S." (REDUCE, RECYCLE, & REUSE) AND GOOD SAFETY HABITS.CHERYL COTTINGHAM
plating shop - Gastonia, North Carolina
I suggest you get hold of Clarence Peger in Cleveland, OH. He will enlighten you (in more ways than one) about the future of hard Chrome plating.Dave Brackenridge
aerospace plating - Germiston, South Africa
Ed. note: This thread is dated, and we sadly must advise that Mr. Peger has passed away since the printing of this entry.
I know it is tough for you guy's (and gal's) out there.. With more and more regulation, I don't know how you do it.William S. Banham
Oh, it's as bad as the Democrats vs. the Republicans, the Liberals vs. the Conservatives. One side will not acknowledge that we really must try our hardest to minimize use of carcinogenic compounds like hex chrome; the other side insists that you can make a silk purse out of a sow's ear
But I tilt toward the chrome platers because the other side allows itself to be driven by thin drivel like 'one increased cancer death per million' as justification for restrictions, while remaining deliberately & defiantly mindless to the obvious fact that safety is seriously jeopardized when we are under relentless, unbearable pressure to substitute inferior materials. Chrome plating has a decades-long, broad and proven history as an engineered finish, while some of the substitutes in some of the applications have only "well, it will probably work okay, I guess".
I buy consumer items like staple guns and find that they jam because the chrome is gone . . . so every time there is an automobile recall or a plane crash, I sadly shake my head knowing that we will never learn what part ignorant regulators and inferior finishes played in these tragedies.
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Pine Beach, New Jersey
There is too much hard and decorative chromium out there. It will take decades to replace it. Before that, I believe, someone will find a way to plate it with minimum hazards. There is nothing wrong with chromium metal, e.g, it is included in your daily dose of vitamin supplements. It is the emissions from the process of plating it and hex-chrome liquid, that is the issue. You take those away and EPA won't be able to stop you.
- Fort Collins, Colorado
Did anyone out there know that you CANNOT open a new Chrome facility in the San Francisco Bay Area? One or more of our Environazi public servant's groups will no longer allow it. I think BAAQMD (Bay Area Air Quality Mgnt District) if I'm not mistaken, because it mists so readily. The answer to your question is: CHINA. You can open a chrome shop there. The problem is that you will do much more harm to the environment there than here. In China, just pay off the right locals and you can dump your untreated rinsewater into the nearest rice paddy. Here in the USA, Chrome processes are operated in VERY environmentally friendly ways. Chrome emissions to the environment are generally below the natural background (established by the Almighty.) My first job was Chrome in the midwest where there are actually third generation platers working the same 100 year-old process. No-one has cancer yet, although that is "statistically irrelevant." The whole problem here is that politicians know that they can play the uneducated voters (tens of millions of them) like grand pianos by claiming to be a "great protector" of "the environment" of "the children" by promising to reduce still further emissions from industry, although they are already currently below the natural background. Educated people know that these policies are environmentally irrelevant, but they draw fools to the voting booths in droves.
My proposed solution to this environmental and economic foolishness is to establish an "Academy of Sciences" which audits proposed legislation for scientific merit, in much the same way the Supreme Court reviews legislation for Constitutional merit, or the way the U.S. Patent office reviews invention claims for Thermodynamic law integrity. This way, politically driven environmental foolhardiness could never become law as it could not pass scientific scrutiny. And as much as environnazis beg, rant, and rave, competent scientists would never allow their names to be attached to foolish scientific claims in the open scientific literature. This then provides the much needed "check & balance" mechanism for our increasingly technical world that the original framers of our constitution failed to foresee; but how could they have foreseen the technical revolution? Yet the basic principle of independent checks & balances is timeless, and as an industry we should all see that it is implemented before we are all screwed out of our livelihoods.
Only a little contribution to this discussion, some time ago I've posed the same questions about hex chrome substitution in processes like aluminium conversion coatings as Alodine, Iridite etc. I've tested several new processes but I have not found a real substitute. Good results only for treatment used as a base for painting. Here in Italy we've a similar problems with hex chrome,we've encountered this problem when an EEC regulation has been adopted in our legislation.
I agree with Mr.Dave Kinghorn when he said that the problem is more political then environmental. We do not know what we can do in the future 'cause if we strictly apply the current legislation probably all the anodizers and or chromium platers will close their activities and that seems impossible 'cause I do not see a real alternative.
So we have only two solutions, to change the law or to produce parts using other metals considering that quality will be reduced.
It seems that some big chemical Companies (i.e. Henkel) are working to develop an efficient substitution of CrVI based anodizing process, if someone knows how is the current situation in the USA, please answer this letter.
Any information that can be provided will be greatly appreciated
- Florence, Italy
I don't understand you guys, all talking about waste-water with hexavalent chromium. I work at a Hard-chrome plating company in Hengelo, in the eastern part of the Netherlands. The only waste-water we produce is cooling water we use to cool our rectifiers and baths. Right now we don't use any water for that too, because we now have an internal cooling system.
During the process, a lot of water is evaporated, because the process has a temperature of 55 °C. After the chromium plating we rinse our products, that we catch up in another tank. This rinsing water is nothing else then a very thin hard-chromium electrolyte. What we do is using the rinsing water to refill the loss of fluids in our chromium bath. In fact, we have to fill our chromium baths also with normal water, because we produce less rinsing water than the amount of water that is vapourised from our hard-chromium bath.
The only waste that we produce is our electrolyte that should be replaced after about 5 years. This "old" fluid is recycled FOR FREE by the Bayer company in Germany who recycles the chromium fluid and makes a new product of it.
The only costs we have are transportation costs to Bayer (approximately $1000,-)
So : you don't need to waste water at all! Just save our planet with some simple thinking!Tim Jaarsma
- hard chrome shop - The Netherlands
There are letters sent into this website, sometimes, which stir the imagination. In this particular case, I visioned groups of Parisiennes, in tatters, charging over the parapets, in wave upon wave, during the French Revolution, carrying flags and singing an appropriate hymn.
Help me understand if this can be possible. That we can save the earth without the use of scrubbers or precipitation.
Do you have any device for removing mist from the air? Does it also not use water?
Can it be that we have overengineered ourselves into a frenzy? Can the Bayer company solve our chrome headaches? (!) Of course, you must still pay for the cost of chromic acid when making up a new tank every 5 years, the salt of which I know to be priced at about the same cost as we pay here in the United States.
Are you using an etch free process? If not, do you remove iron from the bath continuously via a porous pot, or via some other method? Do you use distilled or deionized water for makeup?
Can it be that all we need to do is take you up on an offer in another of your letters, to send someone over to work in your shop for six months.
After all the money that platers in the USA have spent on the hexchrome problem, it would be worth it to pay someone to fly over, live and work, and come home with the answers.
Many U.S.A. hard chrome platers have also been returning their rinsewater to the chrome tank for many years. Many of them have little or no wastewater to treat; this isn't really anything new.
But I think that Tom's implication is accurate: there are miscellaneous streams of chrome waste that are generated from:
- removal of trivalent and iron impurities
- filtration which is required for the highest quality installations
- stripping (what do you do with the electrolytic stripper or the HCl stripper, and the rinse waters from them)
- miscellaneous floor spills (while it's relatively easy to operate for a day or a week without any spill or slop-over, it's something else to try to operate for decades without a spill.
- periodic washdown (many shops have red, yellow, and brown hex chrome powders and stains all over the place -- shall we just leave this stuff to be tracked around and inhaled?)
- ventilation and scrubbing systems (there are ALWAYS trade-offs; the safe way to scrub chrome mists is to reduce/neutralize them with bisulfite so there are no hex chrome emissions, but then you can't return the blowdown to the chrome tank, and have an additional chrome-bearing waste stream)
- there should be a final DI rinse. I have seen chrome plated parts shipped with dangerous amounts of hex chrome solution on them as the operators attempt to use as little rinse water as possible.
Tim is correct that it is easy to be wasteful and unobservant -- but it is a great oversimplification that 'the chrome problem' goes away if you simply return your rinse water to the tank.
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Pine Beach, New Jersey
Reading the above discussion I believe that outsourcing to India for hard chrome plating will be a good option for you people as we have very high plating standards and all the environmental laws of India are followed.Vimal Shah
- Rajkot, India
March 7, 2009
Hi, Vimal. That's funny but I'm reading the very same thread as you and it's suggesting to me that India should outsource it's hard chrome plating needs to the USA for the very same reasons :-)
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Pine Beach, New Jersey
December 19, 2010
I am the Partner in an industrial corporation, Distributors for a major supplier of chrome plating processes (HQ @ Berlin, Germany) a company in Gurgaon, Haryana, engaged in the manufacture and distribution of chemicals for metal finishing, electroplating etc. We are in this field for more than three decades. We have been supplying electroplating chemicals for brass, bright nickel, electroless nickel, bright & hard chrome platings, acid zinc platings, etc. We have superfine metal cleaners for stainless steel and today we are No.1 in India.
I undertake the visit of plating shops where my supplied items are in use. I very particularly observe the waste-waters running into the open premises and the earth is absorbing these effluents and ultimately the base earth is poisoned. Some take the effluents and throw into the river/sea where the fish is dead. Some fish come into the fishermen net and is consumed by mistake into our mouth and thereby causing incurable diseases, etc. The state/central govts have issued the norms etc through the pollution control boards. But the corruption prevailing in the country is overtaking these restrictions, etc. Over and above there is heavy unwarranted competition among the plating units situated in one single industrial area and this cut-throat competition results in low quality metal finishing and also low monetary returns to the proprietors and many plating companies closed their shutters once and for all and switched over to some other professions. There is no unity among the plating shops. Staff is poorly paid and many other reasons make electroplating industry a non-profit industry.
- Chennai, Tamilnadu, India
October 24, 2013
Q. I have heard that some Hard Chrome Installations in the U.S.A. have installed fully enclosed lids on the Chrome Vats and therefore have eliminated the need for Chrome mist scrubbers and extraction, if anybody has information on how this has been achieved could they send me details or contact information. We are looking to replace our current mist elimination device and are looking at all available techniques to see the best way forward.
aerospace - Ramsgate, Kent, England.
October 25, 2013
A. Hi. We can't recommend specific vendors except the supporting advertisers who make the site possible, nor can we put you in contact with them, but we can suggest technologies. Years ago Products Finishing magazine ran an article about a porous membrane cover for chrome tanks, and you may wish to investigate whether it is still viable: see our editorial "Good News on Chrome"
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Pine Beach, New Jersey
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