Green Process for Plastic Chrome

EPA Contract Number: 68HE0D18C0014
Title: Green Process for Plastic Chrome
Investigators: Brazil, Michael
Small Business: Vergason Technology, Inc
EPA Contact: Richards, April
Phase: I
Project Period: October 1, 2018 through March 31, 2019
Project Amount: $99,441
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase I (2018) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: SBIR - Manufacturing , Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)

Description:

This green approach to manufacturing plastic with decorative chrome will eliminate health and

environmental hazards from the chrome electroplating process. The US and global market for
decorative chrome on plastic is 12 million m2/year and 84 million m2/year respectively, with 80% in
automobile trim, 10% in appliances and 10% in sanitary fixtures. Without a viable commercial
alternative, US providers have had to either meet strict US regulations for chrome electroplating
at significant expense or offshore operations. The proposer's PVD approach is very close to meeting
all OEM requirements, with a clear path to clearing up the sole remaining problem. The proposed
work addresses intermittent failure in high temperature and humidity, resulting in a green
manufacturing process available to existing US supply chain providers: a PVD chrome on plastic that
fully meets all OEM specifications. Hexavalent chrome, lead chromates, barium sulfate and metallic
nickel will be completely eliminated from the production of plastic chrome parts, using less than
half the electrical power. A modest reduction in manufacturing cost is anticipated. Broad
acceptance of the technology is anticipated based on ongoing evaluations by OEMs in all three
market segments, as well as existing Tier 1 and Tier 2 electroplating suppliers.

 

Supplemental Keywords:

plastics, technology, chrome