Hexavalent chromium-free alternative for hard chrome plating within REACH

Back in 2012, driven by the need for REACH* compliant alternatives, OCAS initiated a project on hexavalent chromium-free hard chrome plating.

(*REACH: European regulation on Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals)

Thanks to OCAS’s research & development efforts since then, this technology has now matured to semi-Industrial level. This pioneering work has convinced industrial reference players to team up with OCAS.

Linking microstructure to in-use coating behaviour

Our development efforts on hard chrome not only enhanced OCAS’s knowledge on plating technology in general, it also provided fundamental insights into (fine)tuning of process parameters, microstructure and the final properties of a coating. By improving the methodology of the bath monitoring, good process control could be achieved. For example, the hardness of the final hard chrome coating is now above 1100 HV, whereas it was around 800 HV at the start.

Different surface treatment procedures were optimised to improve the adhesion on substrates varying from low to high alloyed carbon steels. By implementing an extra step in the process, the corrosion resistance of the hard chrome layer could be brought to the level comparable to typical hexavalent chromium applications.
OCAS´s semi-industrial plating unit is currently available to support industrial partners in optimising and upscaling of plating processes.

Monitoring the workplace for Cr(VI) and Cr(III)

OCAS is equipped to analyse Cr(VI) and Cr(III) in liquids and air. Thanks to our expertise in this field, we can check your workplace for toxic compounds.


“As an industrial research centre, we can rely on a strong network of academic partners. And at the same time, thanks to our successful up-scaling to semi-industrial level, our expertise is also recognised by industrial partners. As we can bridge the academic and the industrial worlds, we are confident that we can play an important role in co-developing longer lasting coatings.”

Ansbert De Cleene, Research Engineer Surface department, OCAS