B&B Coatings | Huddersfield


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Hexavalent Chromium and You

Throughout 2017, B&B have been updating you as new, tighter restrictions have been placed against the use of Hexavalent Chromium which came into effect on the 21st of September 2017. This new legislation will affect processes such as Hard Chrome Plating, Chromic Anodising, Zinc Plating and Passivation. These changes have not been as widely publicised as we feel they should have been, and we have had a number of customers ask us questions.

Is there a ban?

There is NOT a ban. We have tried to be clear on this throughout. What has come into place are new tighter regulations that primarily affect those who carry out these processes. In theory now the new legislation has come into place any copanies who carry out processes associated with Hexavalent Chromium will need authorisation to do so and there will be much tighter controls on the subtances involved. 

Who should be concerned?

​In the short term, we feel that the businesses who should be most concerned are decorative platers who perhaps before did not operate under as strict regulations. Another section of businesses who should take note are those with in-house plating facilities as part of their production line. We would strongly advise if you are at all unsure about how this might affect your business to contact your chemical supplier or organisations such as the IMF. In the longer term these changes will affect any component that still uses Hexavalent Chromium and although the pain of testing and verifying a new process is not small, companies need to start this as soon as possible or risk losing a competitive advantage. 

What changes will we see?

For manufacturers who outsource their plating, you may already have noticed that different processes are now being recommended. In the case of Zinc plating for example, a trivalent chromium (Cr3) alternative is now in use in order to provide passivation. For companies still wishing to use Hexavalent based solutions, we would imagine short term while these chemicals are available and in stock this would be possible, however over the cause of the year it’s likely it will become harder and more expensive to specifically source a hexavalent based process.

The Bottom Line

At the end of the day Hexavalent Chromium causes cancer and is bad for the environment. It is essentially a dead technology. In the short term we expect that there will be more paperwork and a slower turnaround associated with hexavalent processes and undoubtedly a higher cost. In the longer term, you will simply not be able to use these processes.

We hope this provides some answers to those of you who have asked, and as we’ve always said we encourage companies currently using these processes to start the task of testing/verifying suitable alternatives before it’s too late. Throughout our updates we have dealt directly with European Chemicals Agency and Institute of Metal Finishing, as well as consulting with our own plating partners. If you have any questions, or have a high wear application you would traditionally Hard Chrome then please get in touch today.

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