Vitreous enamelling has been acknowledged for centuries as one of the most durable ways to protect metals against abrasion, temperature and corrosion. In recent years, driven by ever-stricter environmental legislation, the enamelling industry has evolved by limiting the use of hazardous compounds, or avoiding them altogether.
So, recent changes have significantly reduced the environmental footprint of enamelled steel, but this is not enough. We need to increase the lifetime of manufactured products, improve their recyclability, and reduce their consumption of raw materials and energy.
Peak life cycle assessment (LCA) performance
In order to solve all drawbacks, technical as well as economical, OCAS has launched a ‘green enamelling’ project. The goal: to propose a new enamelling process for the enamelled steel of the future, without compromising on performance.
Today, OCAS proudly presents its thin glass coating, reconciling the durability of an enamel layer with the formability of thin steel sheet. This game-changing solution enamels metallic-coated steel at a temperature slightly above 700°C − instead of the traditional 830°C − which limits the risk of fish-scale formation and ensures excellent adhesion without the need of heavy metals such as Co, Ni, and Sb.
Expanding the concept
The concept − first developed on one metallic-coated steel − has been extended to other metallic coatings and, to facilitate market introduction, adapted to propose a direct solution to enamellers for the traditional 2 coat/2 fire enamelling process. To ensure a good surface quality for the new enamelled products − equivalent to the one obtained using cold rolled steel − new metallurgical routes must be defined for all metallic-coated steels. Emphasis is being put on the surface aspect of the metallic coating and the hydrogen content of the steel.
”It’s clear that the thin glass coating concept can re-energise existing markets and open up new markets.”