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Press releases (12/18/12) Oerlikon Balzers launches next generation of PPD™ technology as substitute to chrome-plating

Clean surface technology for automotive industry with up to 65 % cost savings

Balzers, Liechtenstein, December 18, 2012 – Oerlikon Balzers has launched its next generation of Pulsed-Plasma Diffusion (PPDTM) technology for the surface treatment of large forming tools. This next generation of PPDTM sets a new industry standard by offering an environmentally friendly and less expensive alternative to the chrome-plating process used for wear protection treatment in the automotive industry. “This is an important milestone in the substitution of toxic substances used in production processes such as chrome-plating by a cost-efficient and ecologically friendly alternative”, says Oerlikon Balzers CEO Dr. Hans Brändle.

To protect against abrasion and to increase efficiency in industrial production, most forming tools are coated – particularly in the automotive industry. Although using toxic and environmentally critical substances in the production process, chrome-plating is the most widely spread coating technology today. By a combination of hydrogen, nitrogen and electricity to coat tools, Oerlikon Balzers’ PPDTM technology uses no hazardous chemicals and therefore offers an environmentally friendly alternative to chrome-plating. The first generation PPDTM was presented to the market in 2004 and is widely used by leading car manufacturers.

The current process has been completely redesigned and Oerlikon Balzers now offers the next generation of PPDTM which provides substantial benefits:

  • The efficiency of the PPDTM technology increases by up to 40 % through higher automation, 30 % less energy consumption and adapted design and processes.
  • With Oerlikon Balzers PPDTM technology tools need only be treated once in their lifetime, which delivers a cost advantage of up to 65 % compared to a chrome-plating solution.
  • The surface quality of PPDTM treated tools are significantly higher than chrome-plated counterparts which dramatically reduces reworking of formed car body parts.
  • Due to PPDTM maintenance friendly surface, the customer reduces downtime in the press and increases productivity by up to 25 %.

The next generation of PPDTM technology is a fully automated process which ensures a safe, controlled atmosphere for tools of up to 10x3 meters and 40 tons. The vessels are the largest of their kind in the world and can accommodate all current stamping dies – even the largest in the automotive industry. “With our new generation of PPDTM technology we can satisfy the growing demand in the automotive industry for cost effective and environmentally friendly production solutions”, says Phil Read, Head of Sales and Business Development PPDTM.

The PPDTM technology is currently available at three locations in Europe, Korea and the Americas with further installations in China and Japan planned for 2013. The latest PPDTM went in operation in the Balzers Coating Center in Pell City, Alabama (USA).

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