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Chrome Free Powder Coating

In June of this year, our Sydney paintline became the first of the 4 Alspec powder coating plants to transition to chromate free pre-treatment chemistry.

Chrome free technology is commonplace in Europe and the US but is still quite rare in Australian powder coating. This is mainly due to regulatory practices in other parts of the world being more stringent on industrial heavy metal usage as compared to the relatively lax regulations in Australia.

Alspec® has taken the position that we will get on the front foot and eliminate that carcinogenic and environmentally harmful Hexavalent Chromium (Cr6) from our powder coating operations and in doing so become the only aluminium distributor in Australia to offer chrome free product.

The pre-treatment process in powder coating aluminium (where Cr6 was used) is to ensure that the substrate metal is clean and will effectively bond with the powder during the curing process. Chromate conversion coatings are popular as the chemistry is stable and resilient and able to withstand 'abuse' in factories with poor operational controls and processes. As Alspec® is confident with our internal processes, we do not need the 'security' of chromate in our process and have eagerly moved away from the product.

Our non-chrome chemistry brings with it several advantages. Firstly, the chemical is safe. It does not cause cancer as is the case with Hexavalent Chromium (think Erin Brockovich) which is a great outcome for our staff that work on the powder coating lines. It is a cleaner and more environmentally sensitive product and reduces the amount of waste that is generated from our operations.

Further, as the non-chrome products require a lighter coating weight to work effectively, there is much less chance of 'build up' on the metal surface; creating a better visual appearance and less evidence of inclusions and surface imperfections. We are also able to dry the metal at higher temperatures, resulting in faster dry off times and less chance of water marks being left on the substrate.

All in all, a win for our staff and our customers!