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Duralar Coatings: The Advanced Hard Chrome Replacement

The industry has long been searching for a good, cost-effective hard chrome replacement, because hard chrome plating is used in a range of industrial applications. In the past it proved useful because it offered moderate hardness and corrosion resistance, relatively easy application and reasonably low cost. It also was able to restore dimensional tolerances for certain applications that suffered wear. But unfortunately, hard chrome also has a number of very fundamental limitations…

Hard chrome limitations

Chrome’s limited hardness and corrosion resistance can cause problems in many applications. If not properly applied, chrome can suffer from pitting, spalling and other failures under high-stress conditions. Also, chrome’s relatively slow rate of deposition can be a serious drawback, especially since it requires lengthy post-deposition processing. And parts used in demanding applications, such as hydraulic rods, may need to be plated three or four times to obtain a sufficiently thick hard coating.  Uneven coating is a further problem for chrome plating — because electroplating is a directional process, chrome coatings tend to be thicker on the edges and corners and thinner on recessed areas. For this reason, a follow-up machining step is required to obtain critical dimensions, adding to the processing time and expense.

In addition to the performance issues, chemical pollution has been an inherent and serious problem for chrome plating. Chromium-6 has been classified as a likely carcinogen, posing serious occupational and environmental hazards. So, chromium regulation has been increasingly tightened, and many manufacturers have been seeking alternatives that can offer superior performance without harming the environment.

Duralar: hard chrome replacement with superior performance

Duralar fits the hard chrome replacement need very nicely, exceeding chrome’s performance on virtually all fronts: To begin, since it is a nanocomposite of diamond and metal Duralar is significantly harder and more durable. In addition, since it is amorphous and is built out of layers Duralar provides much greater resistance to corrosion and erosion. Duralar is also able to create much thicker coatings much faster, without the need for post-processing. Plus, Duralar produces a more even coating than chrome, and it is able maintain tight dimensional tolerances, again, without post-processing.

Bottom line: Duralar delivers an advanced hard coating with important performance advantages while also being much faster and easier to apply, and without harming the environment — all at costs that are competitive with or even lower than hard chrome.