Green Process for Plastic ChromeEPA Contract Number: 68HE0D18C0014
Title: Green Process for Plastic Chrome
EPA Contact: Richards, April
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
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.