For some years now, the use of chemicals has been regulated throughout Europe as a result of the REACH legislation. An aim of this uniform EU-wide regulation is to monitor chemicals that are damaging to health and the environment in the EU and, if possible, to gradually replace them. The authority (ECHA) that is responsible for this, investigates chemicals and draws up lists of substances whose use is either no longer permissible or is only allowed with special permits.
Chromium VI identified as damaging
The chromium trioxide (Chromium VI) used for chrome plating is one of these substances, the use of which in future will be permissible only under certain conditions and with a special permit.
Sedus Stoll AG was faced with having to decide between either obtaining a permit for the further use of “Chromium VI” or replacing it with a less problematic “Chromium III” compound.
The company actively decided in favour of a way forward that is more environment-friendly, enhances occupational safety and, in their opinion, is a pioneering move. The company changed their electroplating system over to operation with Chromium III.
‘We actually do it’
To do this, profound changes in the equipment, the control software, the exhaust air system and the chemicals were made. Within 10 working days, all the necessary changeover measures were carried out, the old chemicals were disposed of and the new process was started.
The new Chromium III system has now been in use since the middle of December without any problems. Sedus is one of the first companies in the market to change over to Chromium III and, in doing so, is pursuing the objective they have set as part of their corporate strategy: “Acting with an emphasis on sustainability” – “Many companies talk about this – we actually do it” Dr Jens Bohnet, Leiter Metall Oberfläche of Sedus Stoll says.