Low-friction coating meets material challenges

A brand-new composite coating of nickel and fluoropolymer materials can achieve significant performance benefits and cost savings.

Engineers are always tasked with driving constant improvement. Whether it be to solve challenges such as material wear and corrosion or to implement improved efficiencies, increased output or cost savings. There is not always one solution to these problems. However, surface treatment de-velopment engineers at Poeton Industries, have produced a revolutionary new coating that can be used to tackle all of these challenges.

To achieve this, Poeton has launched the latest in a long line of ground-breaking surface treatments. Apticote 480A, a brand-new composite coating consisting of nickel and fluoropolymer materials, enables engineers to utilise their unique properties in one special solution.

This advanced composite coating builds on the strong Poeton history of developing innovative solutions. Developed for 2020 and designed in the Poeton research & development laboratory, Apticote 480A can be applied to a variety of base materials, achieving performance benefits and cost savings across a wide range of industrial applications.

The Gloucester based engineering company, which also has sites in Cardiff and Poland, has been producing proprietary coatings under its Apticote brand for over 30 years. These coatings are designed by utilising the extensive knowledge within Poeton, while working closely with customers, and offering performance enhancements over standard surface treatments.

Apticote 480A is no different. It demonstrates superb properties, such as a coefficient of friction as low as 0.05. This is 90% lower than a standard heated treated electroless nickel coating. Lowering friction provides a host of benefits including reducing energy and torque requirements in both sliding and turning applications, such as actuator pistons and rotating shafts.

The low friction properties are also remarkably stable over time, providing a long-term, reliable solution. In tests it varied by only ±0.001 from the original coefficient of friction measure, allowing peace of mind that the coating will continue to perform.

The coating also delivers excellent non-stick properties, making it the ideal choice in mould release applications. Engineers in the food, medical and pharmaceutical production sector can rely on Ap-ticote 480A to ensure that the products can be removed easily from their moulds every time. Utilis-ing this coating will also mean less contaminants remain in the mould, reducing clean-up cost and ultimately increasing production speeds.

Dr John Archer, R&D manager at Poeton, who led the development on the new coating explains “measuring non-stick coatings are notoriously difficult with no standard method being employed. However, one of the best indications of a non-stick surface is to measure the contact angle of

a water droplet on the surface. The greater the angle the better the non-stick, with any angle greater than 90° being considered non-stick. Apticote 480A displays a contact angle of 109°, and for com-parison, a standard electroless nickel coating would only display around 67°.”

Another area where Apticote 480A excels is in resisting the effects of adhesive wear. Adhesive wear displays hugely detrimental effects in any sliding situations, with surfaces quickly damaged and eventually resulting in parts seizing. However, this new coating from Poeton helps prevent these effects from arising. The low friction properties of Apticote 480A reduce adhesive wear by 85% when compared to standard heat treated electroless nickel. For engineers, this not only means a reduced chance of seizing but also allows for lowering the number of in-service inspec-tions and less machine downtime.

The advantages of Apticote 480A are not only limited to low friction and non-stick. The coating is also corrosion resistant, with a 50µm thick layer resisting an industry standard salt spray test for well over 1000 hours, a hardness of over 800Hv and provides a very even coating that will replicate extremely complex geometries.

Sean Hammond, group director of sales & marketing for Poeton commented: “this is a fantastic new coating that will provide real world benefits across the engineering spectrum. Our investment in research and development is one of the core strengths of Poeton and we will always work closely with our customers to develop new coatings that solve their engineering challenges.”

The composition and benefits of Apticote 480A makes it an ideal solution for a wide range of applications across all industries. From ensuring clean release of tablets from moulds in pharmaceutical manufacturing, prevention of sticky substances slowing food production and allowing less energy, fewer services and increased service life of moving parts across engineering, Apticote 480A will en-hance production, reduce costs and extend reliability.