The UK chromium plating industry, worth £140m, is facing further tightening of European legislation to control the level of hazardous chemical emissions.
The aerospace industry is the largest customer for hard-chrome plating which is used to protect parts such as exhausts from corrosion. Companies in the sector often have their own hard-chrome plating facilities, but the legislation will make them uneconomic.
A Government funded research project led by chromium plater AE Poeton in Gloucester could save the day. Members of the Green Box project have given themselves 18 months, until March 1998, to develop a chromium plating process in which all the chemical pollutants are re-absorbed into the plating process without any detriment to plating quality.
The UK research partners are undercarriage maker Messier Dowty; hydraulics systems companies Fairey and APV Baker; chrome plating plant supplier PMD Engineering; chemicals supplier British Chrome and the only non-aerospace company, Slack & Parr which supplies parts to the textile machinery industry.