Chrome plating has been accepted and used for many years to provide hard wearing surfaces, however; American environmental legislation has forced the closure of many, many US plating contractors. To continue legal operations, those US contractors that have wished to remain in business have had to make major investments in new equipment and chemical handling plants. To achieve a return on the funds invested, inevitably, Chrome plating prices have had to increase dramatically. The reduction in plating capacity as a result of plant closures has contributed further to price increases. Dense, hard coatings produced by High Velocity Oxygen Fuel (HVOF), High Velocity Air Fuel (HVAF) and Laser Systems, can provide technically and commercially viable alternatives.
The Metal Spray process provides numerous viable alternatives to traditional hard chrome plating practises. HVOF equipment for example, is used to apply tungsten carbide chrome coatings to aeroplane landing gear, forming an environmentally friendly alternative to hard chrome plating. The High Velocity Air Fuel (HVAF) process has also proven to be very competitive as an environmentally friendly alternative to electrolytic hard chromium (EHC). Laser Cladding is also a great alternative as it has low heat input, this is particularly important when larger deposits of material are required to rebuild a dimension. No solvents or chemicals are used, just pure metal.