19-22 June 2024

7 Sustainable and Ecofriendly Chemicals and Technologies Used in Surface Coating, Plating and Spraying


• Green chemicals and technologies are preferred nowadays in response to the growing demand for sustainable coating/plating/spraying processes.

• Manufacturers should consider the following chemicals and technologies: electroless nickel plating, water-based coating, electrostatic powder coating, surface treatment with green technology, electroplating or electrocoating, nanotechnology coating and life cycle assessment (LCA).



Discover 7 chemicals and technologies used in surface coating, plating, and spraying that help reduce the environmental impact of the pre-coating process. These are intended to reduce the environmental impact and health hazards associated with traditional production methods that often involve hazardous chemicals.


1. Electroless nickel plating process uses environmentally friendly chemicals such as non-toxic reducing agents like hypophosphite and solutions that do not contain cyanide. This process allows for a more uniform coating without the use of harmful substances. It also reduces the need to use electricity and eliminates the need for complex waste treatment systems, so it is more sustainable. An interesting example is Boeing's use of electroless nickel plating on critical aircraft components such as landing gear, turbine blades, and other high-wear components. The technique provides corrosion resistance, wear resistance and greater hardness. As a result, aircraft components are durable and long-lasting.


2. Water-based coating often use water as a solvent instead of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) to reduce the environmental impact because it releases less harmful greenhouse gases and reduce the risk of air pollution. An interesting example is Tesla which has incorporated sustainable coatings into its manufacturing process and uses water-based coatings on their electric vehicles. Another example is Nippon Paint which has developed Aqua Epoxy paint specifically for protecting interior masonry surfaces such as cement or concrete floors and walls as well as tiles coated with an appropriate primer. This paint has no pungent odor, and is environmentally friendly.



3. Electrostatic powder coating or powder spraying is a new spraying method that uses a high-pressure electrostatic field to make negatively charged paint particles move in the opposite direction of the electric field and then be absorbed onto the surface of the workpiece. They often contain no solvents and emit small amounts of VOCs. They are also more durable than traditional liquid coatings. This reduces the need for frequent reuse and minimizes waste. An interesting example is AkzoNobel's Interpon powder coating which is designed to be free of heavy metals and volatile solvents that cause air pollution. Therefore, this powder coating is environmentally friendly and compliant with various regulations.


4. Surface treatment with green technology that uses biodegradable cleaning agents and a pretreatment solution that does not contain phosphorus. This technology reduces the environmental impact of the pre-coating process because it reduces the use of toxic chemicals and requires less energy consumption. As a result, the production process will be more sustainable. An interesting example is Henkel, a multinational producer of chemicals and consumer products which introduces a chromium-free metal surface treatment process called Bonderite Eco-Coat. In addition to preventing corrosion, this technology is also more environmentally friendly than traditional processes.



5. Coating or electrochemical plating uses water-based electrolytes and non-polluting additives. It requires lower energy to run compared to traditional coating methods, so the overall production is more sustainable. Many automotive manufacturers, including General Motors, Ford, Toyota, Honda, and BMW, use electrochemical coatings to enhance their parts’ resistant to corrosion and increase vehicle durability. Other brands such as Whirlpool, Samsung, LG, BMW, and General Electric also use electrochemical coatings for household appliances such as refrigerators, washing machines, and ovens, just to name a few.


6. Nanotechnology coating uses nanoparticles and nanocomposites to improve coating performance without harmful additives and reduce resource consumption. In addition, nano-sized particles can be incorporated into coatings to enhance special properties such as scratch resistance, durability and corrosion resistance. An interesting example is Tetra Pak, which uses nanotechnology coatings in food packaging to create a protective barrier against oxygen and moisture. This helps extend the shelf life of packaged food and maintain food quality.


7. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a tool that helps to evaluate the environmental impact of coating materials throughout their life cycle, from sourcing raw materials, production, transportation, product use, and disposal. This information can then serve as a guideline for the selection of sustainable chemicals and processes.



At any rate, it is necessary to consider the entire life cycle of the product and its impact on the environment when using these chemicals and technologies. Factors that should be considered include raw material extraction to disposal as well as certification standards such as Green Seal or EcoLogo, which would help identify products that meet specific environmental criteria.


To keep up with interesting news in technology and innovations related to surface coatings, plating and spraying that are environmentally friendly and sustainable, as well as to stay on top of relevant trends, stay connected with us through future Surface & Coatings Blogs. Also, don’t forget to mark your calendar for Surface & Coatings 2024, the 10th edition of ASEAN's most comprehensive technology and solutions exhibition for surface treatment, paints, and coatings which will take place from 19 - 22 June 2024, at BITEC, Bangkok.