EPG AG has developed a special sol-gel coating exclusively for titanium, which makes it very easy to clean this high-quality material - and preserves its good appearance.
Titanium substrates are used more and more in a wide range of applications today, but in practice they are unfortunately very sensitive to fingerprints and at high temperatures (over 200/300°C) very susceptible to tarnishing.
In order to counteract these undesirable effects, EPG AG has developed a special sol-gel coating based on its Nanoseal® product, which was developed exclusively for titanium structures. This specific coating is applied to the material after a pre-treatment with cleaning, careful rinsing and drying to avoid the risk of trace formation under the coating. The coating is then applied in very thin layers to ensure the best properties and an invisible coating.
This special sol-gel solution provides a high performance coating on titanium that preserves the original appearance and improves the resistance of this unique metal.
The coating can also be colored, but most customers prefer to keep the coating transparent and almost invisible to maintain the clear appearance of such a beautiful and expensive material. In addition, our sol-gel coating is able to improve mechanical properties such as scratch resistance and give the coated parts good chemical stability.
Foreign languages are important for the profession - this was the insight view the pupils of a French vocational school were able to take with them during their visit to EPG AG. As German, English and French are spoken in our company.
At the beginning of April, EPG AG had a visit from a French class of the Lycée Louis Lapicque from Epinal to its French branch in Henriville. As part of the German-French Discovery Day, the students were given an insight into the production and organization of our company. The Franco-German Youth Office (FGYO) has been organising this day for many years to enable pupils from both countries and from different types of schools to get to know cross-border companies and to draw the young people's attention to internationally oriented professions.
At the beginning, the group received a brief introduction in French on the subject of surface coating and which products are manufactured at EPG AG. After a tour of the laboratories, coating and furnace plants, the discussion continued with various employees from the administrative department in German, English and French. Here the students, who were all participants of the German course for office management, were made practically aware of how important language skills are even in a small company. It is to be hoped that the visit will give them a good insight into working life and also arouse their interest in working across borders.
EPG AG wants to intensify research projects for the oil and gas industry
At the beginning of the year, Dr. Emilie Perre took over the position of Head of Research at IMC Technologies SAS. IMC is a one-hundred percent subsidiary of EPG AG, in which the research work on the surface coating is bundled. As a leading specialist for high-performance coatings, EPG AG develops innovative and tailor-made solutions based on sol-gel coating systems. The know-how of chemical nanotechnology is continuously expanded and deepened in continuous research work and in close contact with customers.
"We are very pleased that we have finally been able to fill this long vacant position in our subsidiary," explains Dr. Andreas Zimmermann, CEO of EPG AG. "With her many years of research experience in various international institutes and subject areas of materials science, she has the necessary qualifications to enhance our research work in a targeted manner. Dr. Perre will take over the management of the research and development department and expand the existing project work. It is planned to establish new research cooperation and to support new projects in the oil and gas industry.
With the surface refinement based on sol-gel technology, the combination of noble appearance and resistance to aggressive external influences is extremely successful. It can be used in a variety of ways and can replace chrome.
In the future it will only be possible to use chromium (VI) in the coating industry with an exception. Even though there will of course still be authorizations, it is clear that an alternative must be selected for many applications - especially in the area of decorative surface finishing.
EPG AG has been working for years with a patented nano-chemical alternative to chromium substitutes based on sol-gel technology: The product Nanoseal® is used successfully in the automotive sector. This surface refinement achieves the good properties of chrome plating - decorative and wear-resistant - just as well, if not better, and can be applied to all metals and common product surfaces such as stainless steel or PVD. The layers are applied extremely thin in an automated process and then hardened in the oven. For the observer, a transparent coating then appears chrome-plated on highly polished surfaces.
The quality of the sol-gel coating also has many advantages, such as very high temperature resistance (up to 550°C), resistance to corrosion (CASS: up to 96h), and it can also be applied in colour at the same time. For example, deep black coatings are possible which far exceed the performance of black chrome.
In addition, the manufacturing process is very variable and customers' individual design wishes can also be implemented.
With a new "invisible" coating solution, the mechanical properties of PVD surfaces can be significantly improved. EPG AG is currently working on completely replacing a PVD treatment with a single layer.
Today, PVD coatings are frequently used to give metal or plastic surfaces a high-gloss metallic surface. The disadvantages of such coatings include their weak mechanical properties: they are sensitive to scratches and are easily attacked by chemical substances.
EPG AG has developed new "invisible" coating solutions to reliably protect PVD surfaces against scratches.
This type of surface treatment protects decorative surfaces from mechanical and chemical influences without changing their appearance. Thus, abrasion resistance, scratch resistance and corrosion protection can be improved many times over. In addition, other properties such as easy-to-clean and anti-fingerprint can be applied directly with this coating.
Current development work is aimed at completely replacing a PVD treatment with a single coating in the future. This should make it possible to produce shiny metallic surfaces with a high degree of color variance that combine the above properties.
With a new colored surface coating for aluminium parts, EPG AG can meet the high demands of the aviation industry. The sol-gel coating resists high mechanical loads, convinces with its very good appearance and can replace the anodising process of the aluminium parts.
The main reasons for the use of aluminium alloys in the aerospace industry are the low weight and high mechanical stability of the material. In particular, the Al7xxx series combines these properties and is used for cabin components. Previously, these parts are usually subjected to an electrochemical surface treatment (anodisation), which has a clear disadvantage: the Al7xxx alloy series shows a non-uniform surface appearance after anodising. This is perceived by the customer as visually disturbing, particularly in the case of exposed parts in the visible range, and does not meet the aesthetic requirements of aircraft manufacturers.
EPG AG has now developed a colored sol-gel coating that reliably guarantees a uniform surface appearance. This means that all customer requirements regarding mechanical and chemical stability as well as optical requirements can be met to the complete satisfaction. With a complete sol-gel coating of the components, it is also possible to dispense with the anodising process and thus save one work step.
Neuer Roboter erhöht die Effizienz der Bemusterung für die Metallbeschichtung
Mit der Erneuerung der Testkabinen- und Roboteranlage für das Bemusterungsverfahren hat die EPG AG einen deutlichen Schritt zur Effizienzsteigerung getan.
Als Anbieter von innovativen Beschichtungslösungen für Metalloberflächen ist die Stärke die EPG AG die kundenspezifische Entwicklung und Fertigung von innovativen Nanowerkstoffen auf Basis der chemischen Sol-gel-Technologie. Umfangreiche Forschungs- und Entwicklungsaufgaben erfordern auch ein automatisiertes Bemusterungsverfahren, mit dem die Qualität und Eigenschaften der neu entwickelten Beschichtungen geprüft werden müssen.
„Mit dieser Anlage sind wir jetzt in der Lage, nicht nur unsere Kapazitäten in der Bemusterung zu erhöhen, sondern auch die Effizienz der Verfahrensabläufe zu verbessern“, erläutert Vorstandsvorsitzender Dr. Andreas Zimmermann. Gleichzeitig stehe mehr Personal für die Automatisierung zur Verfügung, so dass die EPG AG für die Entwicklungsarbeiten im Unternehmen gut aufgestellt sei.
Nanoglue® in Feldversuchen erfolgreich getestet
Anfang Februar hatte die EPG AG die Gelegenheit, die Ergebnisse von Feldversuchen zur Sandkonsolidierung auf einer internationalen Konferenz der Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) vorzustellen, die mit dem Produkt Nanoglue® in Indonesien durchgeführt wurden. Diese Versuche waren das Ergebnis einer Zusammenarbeit mit TOTAL.
Den Prozess der Entwicklung des Produktes vom Labor bis zur Feldanwendung stellte Projektleiter Julien Andrieu auf der Konferenz vor, die unter dem Titel „International Conference and Exhibition on Formation Damage Control“ in Lafayette, Louisina, USA, stattfand. Insgesamt fanden 8 Feldversuche in drei verschiedenen Phasen in Indonesien statt, die positive und vielversprechende Ergebnisse brachten.
Die entsprechende Veröffentlichung (SPE-189548-MS) ist hier verfügbar.