IPP&T Magazine Online

Zinc thermal diffusion coating garners top tech award

January 30, 2018  

Print this page

New coating technology gets industry innovation kudos from Frost & Sullivan.

Based on its recent analysis of the thermal diffusion coatings market, Frost & Sullivan recognized Thermission AG with the 2017 Europe Technology Innovation Award for its proprietary zinc thermal diffusion technology.

“Thermission’s technology is scalable, seamlessly fitting into the required specifications across industries, such as automotive, marine, and railways,” said Isaac Premsingh, Frost & Sullivan industry analyst. “For small batches, customers can use Thermission’s own coating facilities in Switzerland and the United States to test new parts and new applications where ferrous and non-ferrous metals are being explored. Thermission also offers turnkey production lines customized to coat large, bulky components that can be integrated into the production process at the customer’s site, enabling customers to gain complete control and flexibility to tune the coating process and reduce response times.”

Zinc thermal diffusion is an extremely effective and gentle method for coating and finishing metals and metal products. While a conventional process merely applies a zinc layer on the base material, Thermission’s zinc thermal diffusion penetrates into the base material where it forms a resilient zinc-metal bond. This microalloy provides extensive protection against corrosion and wear without a significant application layer. At the same time, the structure and properties of the materials are protected and improved from the inside.

Thermal diffusion coating is based on a combination of zinc powder and additives are proprietary and chosen according to the composition of the metal substrate to be coated. In a typical process, parts and components made of lightweight metal alloy containing aluminum, titanium, magnesium, or copper are pre-treated to remove oxides and activate the surface. The coating application is performed at a temperature between 280 and 390 degree Celsius, when the zinc dust mixture is applied to form a zinc diffusion layer. This creates a zinc microalloy with a coating thickness of 4 to 25 μm.

Frost & Sullivan recognized that the patented technology differs from other technological processes in three key ways:

• The process takes place at temperatures below the melting point of zinc, which widens the scope of adoption for the thermal diffusion process;

• There is no formation of brittle zinc-metal intermediate phases, eliminating the risk of flaking under mechanical stresses; and

• The process works on the internal properties of the metal substrate and improves strength and ductility.

In the automotive industry, 80 per cent of the metal and metal alloy components are required by the industry to withstand at least 720 salt spray test hours. While cheaper diffusion coating technologies meet this standard, Thermission’s technology provides corrosion protection for up to 1,400 salt spray test hours.

Frost & Sullivan’s research of best practices followed by coating process technology developers found that Thermission’s well-structured approach to identifying and overcoming key technology barriers to deliver long-term corrosion protection for hybrid, lightweight construction is the benchmark in the thermal diffusion coatings industry.

Each year, Frost & Sullivan presents this award to the company that has developed a product with innovative features and functionality that is gaining rapid acceptance in the market. The award recognizes the quality of the solution and the customer value enhancements it enables.

(Frost & Sullivan)