Alt Ctrl Trans | ALTernative for TRi and hexavaLent Chrome in the Transport and Transformation sector

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The Alt Ctrl Trans project aims to develop and promote feasible and efficient alternatives to hard chrome plating for the transport and processing industry.
In recent years, efficient alternatives for hard chrome applications have been sought. Indeed, the deposition process for hard chrome uses chromium trioxide, which is toxic and carcinogenic, and therefore subject to heavy regulation. It will be banned in the short term for various applications. The transport and processing sectors, which are very active in the Belgium-France border region, are largely affected by these regulations. Although there are alternatives, they do not necessarily meet the desired specifications or may require major modifications to the production facilities. 


The industry of the Northern France, Wallonia, East and West Flanders border area is historically focused on metallurgy, mechanics and metal constructions. These areas of activity make use of technologies that have to meet increasingly stringent environmental requirements. One of the technologies most subject to such regulations is hard chrome plating (hexavalent chrome plating). This surface treatment makes it possible to apply multifunctional coatings at an acceptable cost to products that resist both wear and tear and corrosion and can thus be used in many applications. During the deposition process, however, hexavalent chromium, which is toxic and carcinogenic, is used, leading to a strict regulation within REACH, which will lead to a ban on the use of this process in the foreseeable future. 

Such a ban would cause problems for many companies. Available alternative treatments do not meet industry specifications or are not compatible with certain applications. An example is the HVOF thermal spraying process, which is used as an alternative because this technique also results in wear-resistant and anti-corrosion coatings. However, the technology is not applicable to complex shaped pieces. Most alternative techniques are also completely different from traditional hard chrome plating in a deposition bath, and not all companies have the financial means to replace their current treatment lines with totally new technology. 


The aim of the Alt Ctrl Trans project is to offer these companies alternatives to hexavalent chrome plating, which meets their real needs and for which the old treatment lines may (partly) be recovered. 


In order to achieve the objective of the project, a methodology is applied that works on three axes

  • Make industrialists aware of the ban on hexavalent chromium and determine together with them the characteristics required for alternative technology, depending on the applications.
  • Based on specifications drawn up with the industry, develop three types of alternative coatings: electroless nickel plating, electrolytic chromium (trivalent) or alloys and plasma transferred arc deposition.
  • Validation of the coatings in collaboration with the industry and dissemination of the results of research into the industry through training, workshops and seminars.

Target group

Transport and Manufacturing Industry.


1.1.369 Alt Crl Trans 

Project partners

  • Materia Nova
  • VOM
  • Sirris
  • Lille University


Jan 2019 - Dec 2022

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