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In-house Research & Development

Knowledge transfer projects worldwide & university partnerships

 

In-house R&D

With a growing portfolio of products and an increasingly comprehensive range of services our investment in Research and Technology is very important. Two-thirds of our investment is aimed at improving the technical and environmental performance of our products, for example investing in Hard Chrome Replacement for Aerospace, Oil & Gas, Steel, Marine and Energy sectors. Other areas include renewable energy and nanotechnology. Our investment goes into technologies that we intend to take to market. We believe it is important to achieve the right mix of innovation, investment and risk taking. Developing the right technologies means looking far into the future and generating a vision of what the needs of our customers will be.

Technology acquisition is therefore planned over three Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) ranges:

TRL 6: Applying technology. The technologies that Monitor currently has available 'off-the-shelf'. TRL 6-7 activities will ensure that current products remain market leaders in every aspect of performance, reliability and cost.
TRL 3-5: The next generation. Embodies technologies currently at the validation stage which are due to be commercially available in the medium-term to up to 5 years from now. The next generation of market-leading Monitor products will rely largely on TRL 3-5 technologies.
TRL 1-2: Exploring new ideas. Technologies target future generations of products in a 10-year timeframe. These are at the strategic research stage – emerging or as yet unproven – but will ensure that Monitor is prepared for future market developments by focusing our extensive research base (including universities and institutions) on the technology requirements of future generations of products.

Dr Spyros Kamnis (CEng, FIMMM)
R&D manager
Email: spyros@monitorcoatings.com
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 293 7040

Overview

Monitor is the project lead manager in two Innovate UK funded projects with a budget close to £2,000,000. We participate in the HITEA 3: Advanced Hex Chrome-free Surface Technologies for Corrosion Protection (TSB funded) project and we currently run two EPSRC funded PhD programmes with Nottingham and Surrey Universities. We have close collaboration with several Research institutes and recently Monitor has been part of the largest Surface Engineering (SEAC) Hub in the UK.

Focus Area: Wear & Corrosion (TRL6)

Project: Wear & Corrosion Resistant Coatings Applied Internally on Complex Shapes
Based on Monitor’s patented HVOF technology (EP2411554B1), new coating systems are developed using a compact HVOF process. Carbide deposition for wear protection is a mature process and well proven as an excellent alternative to hard chrome plating. However up to date the application method (primarily HVOF) is limited to line of site applications. Monitor’s technology pushes the boundaries of HVOF applicability to confined spaces and internal surfaces previously inaccessible. This is expected to open up new markets and applications of existing technologies. Furthermore, corrosion protection of internal surfaces will be possible using the same application method with different feedstock materials (WC-Co-Cr, IN625, etc…)

Focus Area: Renewable Energy (TRL4)

Project: Cost Effective Fabrication Method of Thermoelectric Power Generators
The unexploited waste heat amounts that could be recovered from worldwide energy-intensive applications are measured in hundreds of millions of MWh/year. The project is to investigate the feasibility of fabricating industrial-scale waste heat recovery systems using novel easy-to-fabricate energy harvesting coatings. Thermoelectric generators (TEGs) are solid-state semiconducting devices with no moving parts and therefore are extremely reliable. TEGs can harvest residual low-grade energy which otherwise is wasted by establishing an electric field when subjected to a temperature gradient. The simple manufacturing technique is based on latest advance on thermal spray coatings, which makes it possible to produce low-cost modules without geometric restrictions in terms of size and shape. This low-cost waste recovery technology is expected to make a major impact on the energy intense industrial sector. The project aims to deliver a medium scale working prototypes for exposure trials.

Focus Area: Process Control & Excellence (TRL3)

Project: Acoustic Emission Analysis for Continuous Monitoring of Thermal Spray Processes
The research activities are to lay the ground for the development of a novel on-line, non-destructive monitoring technology for the low temperature thermal spray processes based on the acoustic emission (AE) during coatings. The key objectives are: identification of the elements in the AE of the thermal spray process that contain information about the coating quality; continuous on-line monitoring of the coating process so that deviations from the optimum spraying conditions can be detected early and corrected promptly; greatly reducing product rejections and re-coating compared to the inadequate post-spray quality check.

Active UK Government Funded R&D Projects

Focus Area 1: Corrosion Protection (TRL3-5)

Project: Accelerated Manufacturing with Chrome Free Sacrificial Cermet Coatings in Aerospace (AMSCA- TSB: 101794)
Project Lead: Monitor Coatings
Collaborators: Rolls Royce, Indestructible Paint, Ashton and Moore, Manufacturing Technology Centre (Coventry), Loughborough, Birmingham & Manchester University
Description: European legislation (REACh regulations) requires the elimination of hexavalent Chromium (Cr6+), which is carcinogenic, by September 2017. Existing sacrificial coatings, used for corrosion protection in aerospace, all contain Cr6+ and, therefore, must be replaced. Currently available alternatives do not give acceptable performance, so new replacement materials are needed. A complete supply chain consortium, plus academic and CATAPULT support, has been brought together to address this issue. This project aims to formulate a new sacrificial coating for corrosion protection of steel aero-engine components that is free from hexavalent chromium and demonstrate the technology to TRL5. In addition, improved, cost-effective application methodology will be developed, incorporating automation where appropriate, to increase manufacturing rate and capacity and reduce waste. Furthermore, in a field traditionally developed on an empirical basis, this project aims to provide an improved science based understanding of the coating behavior, which will underpin the innovative sacrificial coating technology being developed.

Project: Chrome Free Aluminide Slurry Coatings for Gas Turbines (CASCOAT-TSB:101690)
Project Lead: Monitor Coatings
Collaborators: Rolls Royce, Indestructible Paint
Description: The aerospace engine and industrial gas turbine industry have historically used corrosion resistant coatings manufactured from precursors that contain hexavalent chrome. These slurry based coatings are cost effective and offer the best corrosion resistance. The REACH regulations will ban the use of the hexavalent chrome precursors from September 2017. New coatings therefore need to be developed that offer the same or better high temperature corrosion resistance without a significant increase in cost. A consortium of Siemens, Rolls Royce, Indestructible Paint and Monitor Coatings have come together to develop new hexavalent chrome free slurry coatings that can be applied to high temperature components in gas turbines. Three new formulations will be developed and tested within the programme with the aim of taking the technology to TRL5 by the end of the project, and to introducing the coatings into service within three years after the end of the project.

Project: Advanced Hex Chrome-free Surface Technologies for Corrosion Protection (HITEA3)
Project Lead: Rolls Royce
Collaborators: Monitor Coatings, Ashton & Moore, BAE Systems (Operations), Bombardier Aerospace (Short Brothers Ltd) GE Aviation Systems, Indestructible Paints, Poeton Industries, University of Loughborough, University of Manchester
Description: This project will deliver an industrialised hexavalent chromium-free conversion coating for protection of aluminium alloys for use in Aerospace and other industries, with supporting information for substitution into legacy Aerospace products in an efficient but safe manner. The current technology is widely used by industry and is at risk of obsolescence, triggered by REACH legislation. This has created a continuity risk for UK Aerospace businesses. The project will draw upon expertise in corrosion-resistant, adhesion-promoting processes from key, non-aerospace sectors including; automotive, defence; space and civil engineering. Three aligned approaches will be taken: a. the testing of commercially-available processes from the non-aerospace sectors; b. the development and testing of emerging or disruptive process technologies, and; c. the development of novel tailored multifunctional processes. Within the proposed project new processes will be developed by the partner universities with commercial-level upscaling carried out by the industrial members of the consortium.

Active University Collaborative (EPSRC) Projects

Focus Area 2: Wear Protection (TRL3-5)

Project 1: High Velocity Oxy-Fuel spray for internal surfaces Collaborators: Nottingham University, Monitor Coatings
Project 2: HVOF Carbide Coatings on Complex 3D Geometries Collaborators: University of Surrey, Monitor Coatings

Description: High velocity oxy-fuel (HVOF) is the current industry standard thermal spraying route to deposit low porosity, high adhesion and low oxide coatings due to high particle velocities and low particle temperatures. Thermal spraying is a line of sight process and the main applications so far have been on the exterior surfaces of the components. There is a strong demand to develop compact HVOF system which is capable of spraying inside tight spaces, internal surfaces, boiler pipes, billet mould etc. Electroplated coatings are widely used in the internal surfaces for wear and corrosion protection and the European legislation (REACh regulations) requires the elimination of hexavalent Chromium (CR6+), which is carcinogenic, by September 2017. This is driving the industry to develop new methods and materials to replace the electrodeposited coatings for internal surfaces. The overall aim of the two project is to use Monitor’s HVOF system to develop wear and corrosion resistant coatings which are well bonded to the substrate, low in porosity and low in oxide content. The projects will study the powder-process-microstructure-properties relationships of the coatings produced from this novel HVOF gun.

 

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