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Health-Conscious and Cost-Effective: New Iron-Based Coating Powders

Health-Conscious and Cost-Effective: Castolin Launches New Iron-Based Coating Powders

Castolin Eutectic has recently launched a generation of iron (Fe)-based metal powders designed to reduce costs and health risks associated with nickel alloys in plasma transferred arc (PTA) and laser cladding processes. Developed in the company's R&D lab in Dublin, the powders – baptized SafeCoat - are ideal for advanced coating processes aimed at enhancing resistance against abrasive wear and pressure. Common applications include repairing cast-iron tools, rebuilding machine parts, and wearfacing for injection molding tools, with relevance in industries like automotive, plastic extrusion, and machine building.

The PTA process creates a metallurgically bonded surface layer using a high-energy plasma arc and metal powder, resulting in improved wear resistance. Laser cladding complements this by using a laser beam to add coating powder to a molten pool on the workpiece surface, offering benefits like reduced substrate-coating mixing and minimal impact on the base material. These advancements in laser cladding technology allow for rapid, large-area applications at high speeds, making it suitable for various industrial applications, particularly where automated, low-maintenance, and profitable systems are required.

Eliminating Nickel – good for affordability and price stability

PTA and laser cladding techniques have facilitated the introduction of Fe-based metal powders. This is due mainly to their higher process temperatures that have reduced the need for the self-fluxing properties of alloy powders with a significant nickel (Ni) content. Nickel is particularly costly and using metal powder free of Nickel offers an immediate cost-benefit. The pricing of nickel on the metal markets has increased in recent years – up by 40 per cent between 2021 and 2022. Furthermore, nickel pricing is also very volatile – in one day in 2022 it surged by 90 per cent, end of 2023 values were down back again to 2021 levels. Elimination of nickel allows greater price stability for Fe-based powders. 

PTA process with Castolin Eutectic powders - © Castolin Eutectic
PTA process with Castolin Eutectic powders © Castolin Eutectic
Advancing Health & Safety

There are a number of human health issues associated with nickel. Skin contact can cause allergies, cardiovascular, lung and kidney diseases. In addition to human contact, nickel should be prevented from entering the atmosphere or water cycle. According to the German Water Hazard Class (WGK), nickel is ranked between 2: hazard to waters and 3: severe hazard to water. In contrast, iron is ranked 1: low hazard to waters or even zero. For these reasons, using Fe-based powder rather than alloys containing nickel can promote a healthier working atmosphere. 
The Castolin Eutectic Fe-based SafeCoat metal powders range include the EuTroLoy series 16039D, 16045D, 16050D, and 16056D, available in sizes 45-125 and 53-150 µm, suitable for PTA and laser cladding.

Laser cladding for Oil & Gas with SafeCoat powders - © Castolin Eutectic
Laser cladding for Oil & Gas with SafeCoat powders © Castolin Eutectic

(Source Castolin Eutectic Press Release)



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