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March 06, 2006— Ottawa, Ontario

NRC Organizes the First Integrated High-Velocity Oxy-Fuel (HVOF) Facility Installation Workshop

From stainless steel cutlery to prosthetic hip and knee replacements, chromium has become a part of our daily lives. In its solid form, chromium is harmless, but hexavalent chromium — a form associated with the chrome electroplating that protects aircraft landing gear components from wear and corrosion — is carcinogenic, and causes many other health problems. Tough, durable and high-performance, the new surface coating derived from High-Velocity Oxy-Fuel (HVOF) technology is an important innovation designed to replace chrome in the production of landing gear.

Airplane landing gears are typically produced using light-weight alloys. Hard coatings are added to increase their resistance to the wear and tear of air travel.
Airplane landing gears are typically produced using light-weight alloys. Hard coatings are added to increase their resistance to the wear and tear of air travel.

Developed by the two NRC research teams: the Surface Technologies Group at the NRC Industrial Materials Institute in Boucherville, and researchers from the NRC Institute for Aerospace Research in Ottawa, this technology uses HVOF combustion to produce hard coatings. Used successfully by the North American Hard Chrome Alternatives Team (HCAT)*, it is part of a series of new and improved coatings stemming from research and development at NRC-IMI. These innovative coatings protect equipment and structures against material degradation and improve the productivity of industrial processes.

Adopted by major aerospace manufacturers, this innovation has quickly won over U.S. suppliers. Canadians, however, have been slower to implement this technology. NRC-IMI plans to change this by holding on March 1, 2006 the 1st Integrated HVOF Facility Installation Workshop, adapted to Canadian aerospace companies specialized in manufacturing landing gear.

The interest is there: 35 aerospace subcontractors have confirmed they will attend the HVOF workshop. On the agenda are presentations by major landing gear makers in the Montréal and Toronto areas, including Goodrich Aerospace, Heroux‑Devtek and Messier Dowty, which have all adopted this technology but are still unable to find Canadian suppliers to meet their needs. Their position will be backed by two major industry players, which will also give presentations at the workshop: Boeing and Bombardier.

"By organizing this workshop, NRC-IMI and Industry Canada are creating a real business opportunity for Canadian subcontractors specialized in plating or other surface treatments," explains Jean-Gabriel Legoux, research officer and one of the event organizers. "Right now, the major Canadian manufacturers are subcontracting to the U.S., which is complicated, since this leads to production delays and currency risks. There is a real need and the technology exists — we just need to find partners. Our job at NRC-IMI is to make sure that the technologies we develop make it through into industry. That is exactly what we are trying to achieve with this HVOF spraying workshop."

In HVOF thermal spraying, a coating material is introduced in powder form into a combusted gas travelling at very high speeds (up to Mach 3). These particles then impact the part being sprayed and form a high resistance coating.
In HVOF thermal spraying, a coating material is introduced in powder form into a combusted gas travelling at very high speeds (up to Mach 3). These particles then impact the part being sprayed and form a high resistance coating.

Aerospace manufacturers are looking for a single supplier or a consortium of producers to provide integrated machining, HVOF spraying, grinding and superfinishing, cadmium electroplating (anti-corrosion coating), painting and final inspection services.

This workshop will be an ideal opportunity for the participating companies to consider making strategic alliances. "All of the partners will be there to discuss the value of this new market, and specifically, the potential business volume," continued Mr. Legoux. "This new niche is attracting a great deal of interest. It is imperative that Canadian companies know that it exists and start working on cornering a share of this emerging market. Already, two American companies capable of providing these services have announced that they will likely open plants in Canada to better meet the needs of the major international landing gear makers located in the Montréal-Toronto corridor."

By bringing together manufacturers and their suppliers at this workshop, NRC is supporting the Canadian aerospace industry by helping it make a necessary transition dictated by a market with strong growth potential. From the design of an innovative technology to support for its implementation in industry, we have come full circle, making the NRC an influential player in the growth of an important sector of Canada's economy.


Enquiries: Media relations
National Research Council of Canada
613-991-1431
media@nrc-cnrc.gc.ca

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