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March, 2021


www.us-tech.com


Reducing Environmental Friction with High-Performance Coatings


Continued from previous page


parts in hydraulic drives, pumps and valves. Advanced, hydrogen-free DLC coatings


provide even higher hardness along with a very low coefficient of friction. These coatings can be applied in the most demanding envi- ronments for high friction, wear and contact areas such as in hydraulic pump parts, me- chanical seals and high-pressure valve com- ponents. Today, they are also playing an in- creasingly important role in e-mobility appli- cations.


Small Efficiencies Add Up Even small percentage gains


in energy savings can really add up in large scale industrial envi- ronments. “Consider that a single percent gain in efficiency for a 200-megawatt gas turbine repre- sents the equivalent power need- ed for 1,500 homes,” says Alessan- dro Zedda at Oerlikon Balzers. Seemingly minor factors


such as a smoother surface finish can improve fuel efficiency. In the aerospace and energy sectors, for example, PVD erosion coatings are applied to compressor blades to protect polished surfaces from degrading over time. This can re- duce fuel usage by up to 0.5 per- cent, while promoting component longevity. These fuel reductions trans-


late into comparable carbon diox- ide reductions. Similarly, in the automotive sector, DLC-coated valve and power train compo- nents can reduce the friction mean effective pressure (FMEP) by 10 percent. This translates to a 2 percent reduction in fuel. A 20 percent reduction in FMEP will generate a 5 percent fuel con- sumption reduction. More stringent environmen-


tal regulations and standards worldwide are also causing com- panies to focus on reducing their carbon footprint and design greener products. Take large cargo ships as an example. Today operators need to reduce the sul- fur content of their fuel in order to be compliant with current sul- fur cap requirements. With a cleaner fuel mandate,


marine engine manufacturers re- quired a new fuel injection tech- nology because clean fuels typi- cally do not lubricate as effective- ly as those with a higher sulfur content. As a result, the coatings used in diesel marine engines also needed to be redesigned to ensure the new clean fuels will work well. Coatings that meet this new requirement have be- come an enabler of more efficient, higher performance, cleaner and smoother running machinery.


Extending the Life of Parts


The environmental benefit of high-performance coatings is also realized by how they extend the life of parts and tools. When parts


See at IPC APEX (virtual)


last longer they are replaced less frequently which reduces the raw materials, metals, and energy it takes to manufacture them. In the automotive sector, forming tools are made from multi-ton pieces of steel in the negative shape of a car. Used to make millions of cars, the form-


ing tools will degrade over time and require reworking. To ensure optimal performance and long life, they require polishing and a PVD coating application. In addition to sav- ing energy by keeping the forming tool in op- timal condition, additional energy is saved by


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less frequently moving equipment of this size and weight to a separate location to be repaired. In the energy sector, applying a DLC


coating to roller bearings in wind turbines extends their life and lowers maintenance expenses. Consider that changing one main shaft bearing costs between $200,000 and $300,000 USD, in addition to the disruption caused by taking the turbine off of the grid.


Boosting ROI Further up the specialized coatings supply


chain, coatings manufacturers themselves Continued on next page


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