Betz-Chrom receives EU approval for chromium(VI)

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Betz-Chrom EU approval chromium(VI) hard chrome plating
Betz-Chrom can continue to use chromium(VI) for hard chrome plating thanks to EU approval (Image: Betz)

With the implementing decision of the EU Commission of June 12, 2024, the European Parliament and Council granted Betz-Chrom GmbH approval for the use of chromium trioxide. Betz-Chrom continues to actively research alternatives to chromium(VI).

The review period of the EU authorization for Betz-Chrom expires on February 15, 2033. An extension is possible if Betz-Chrom, as the authorization holder, submits a review report by August 15, 2031. With the publication of the decision in the Official Journal of the EU, the legal act is considered concluded and legally binding. The chromium trioxide required for hard chrome plating is listed in Annex XIV of EU Regulation (EC) No. 1907/2006. The uses of this substance are subject to authorization. Without a corresponding authorization, the manufacture, placing on the market and use of chromium trioxide is prohibited. Legal uncertainties in connection with the consortium applications such as CTACSub prompted Betz-Chrom to submit an individual application, which was submitted to the European Chemicals Agency ECHA in February 2021. On April 29, 2024, all 27 EU member states of the European Commission voted in favor of the maximum possible approval period of twelve years from the date of submission. With the individual authorization, Betz-Chrom is now independent of the further decisions on the CTACSub consortium application. In line with the vision of green electroplating, Betz-Chrom continues to actively research alternatives to chromium(VI) and is striving to replace this hazardous substance. In cooperation with several chemical suppliers, the company carries out test coatings with trivalent hard chrome electrolytes in its test facility. This means that it is always at the cutting edge of development and the chemical suppliers can subject their products to practical tests at the R&D stage.

Betz-Chrom is also involved as an industrial partner in the DigiChrom research project - digital tools for improving electroplated coatings using the example of chromium(III)-based processes. The aim of the project is to use digital approaches to make research into electroplating systems much more target-oriented and efficient. The project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). Based on the current state of technology and taking current developments into account, the company does not assume that it will be possible to completely replace chromium(VI)-based hard chrome for all applications by 2033. Should this assumption be confirmed, Betz-Chrom will apply for an extension of its approval at the appropriate time. The team is committed to offering its customers a technologically and economically viable alternative to chromium trioxide and will continue to carry out legally compliant hard chrome plating with chromium(VI) until then.