AgustaWestland is a major European helicopter manufacturer.
Hardide Coatings, the provider of advanced surface coating technology in Great Britian, says it has successfully completed the first of two test phases to approve its coating as a replacement for hard chrome plating on an application for AgustaWestland, a major European helicopter manufacturer.
The second test phase is expected to be completed by the end of 2013 and, if successful, the Hardide coating will be approved for use on a specific AgustaWestland helicopter rotor blade component, company officials say. The manufacturer is also considering other applications for the Hardide coating technology.
The results come as the Hardide coating featured positively as an alternative for hard chromium plating for severe service valves in a peer-reviewed full text article in Materials Chemistry and Physics, the international journal on science, characterization and processing of advanced materials.
The article was independently authored by valve manufacturer Velan Inc, the Université de Montréal and Notre Dame University-Louize, Lebanon.
“The coating has tested extremely well so far as an alternative to hard chrome for aerospace and valve applications,” says Philip Kirkham, Chief Executive Officer of Hardide. “The first phase results from AgustaWestland are positive and we are making good headway on the application tests. Our tests with other aerospace customers are also progressing positively and we continue to view this market as holding significant longer term value potential.”
Hard chrome plating, which is widely used in the aerospace and defense industries, is soon to be restricted under EU REACH and U.S. OSHA legislation due to the use of highly toxic hexavalent chromium salts, Kirkham says. In order to meet these environmental, regulations AgustaWestland is conducting extensive search and testing for hard chrome alternatives.
The first test phase confirmed that the Hardide coating is a good candidate to replace hard chrome in a number of areas, the company said, adding that tests showed that the coating has a better high cycle fatigue endurance than hard chrom, a very important characteristic for aerospace applications - and exceptionally good corrosion resistance when exposed to a salt-fog environment
For more information, please visit www.hardide.com