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New software helps you decide on coatings and restricted substances

14 March 2011

Granta Design has announced extensions to its GRANTA MI software that help Product Designers, Materials & Process experts, and Environmental, Health & Safety (EH&S) professionals to make vital decisions on coatings and surface treatment. The new capabilities, developed in collaboration with Rowan Technology Group, focus on the complex compliance, regulatory, and risk factors relating to restricted substances.

Coatings are critical in many engineering applications, enabling designers to control mechanical, electrical, thermal, and other properties, as well as the look and feel of a product.  But coatings add complexity to design decisions.  How do designers not only choose a coating that meets functional and cost requirements, but also avoid problems with manufacture, supply, or restricted substance regulations, such as the European Union’s REACH?

Rowan Technology Group, experts in advanced materials and coatings, have helped Granta to compile the Coatings Data Module – a dataset that can be added to corporate materials databases stored in the GRANTA MI system. GRANTA MI provides browser-based tools to search, browse, and use this data. The Data Module covers over one hundred coatings of types including: anodizing, corrosion inhibitor, conversion, CVD, electro/electroless plate, heat treat, primer, PVD, topcoat, and thermal spray.  Traditional coatings such as cadmium plate with chromate-conversion are included, as well as new and alternative coatings such as aluminum and low-hydrogen embrittlement zinc-nickel, with trivalent and non-chrome sealers.  Each coating is described in a well-referenced record detailing over sixty technical, restricted substance, substitution, cost, and other properties.

Within GRANTA MI, this data can be integrated with an existing database of over 6,000 restricted substances and sixty regulations, legislations, and industry standards that impact these substances. Related substances, materials, coatings, legislations, and company material and process specifications are linked. GRANTA MI reporting tools then make it easy to answer questions such as:

  * What is the impact on my parts and processes of the restrictions on Hexavalent Chromium or REACH candidate list substances?
  * Are any of the coatings that I use affected by legislative requirements in other countries?
  * What is the risk that this coating may be subject to future restrictions?
  * Which substitute has the lowest risk of regulation in the future?
  * What are the trade-offs amongst substitutes for Cadmium plating?

GRANTA MI thus supports strategic decision making on coatings. For example, it helps to design new parts with coatings that will not require substitution during the part's production lifecycle. This will avoid part non compliance and/or stock redundancy issues.

“We’re pleased to provide our customers at leading engineering enterprises with a new solution to important problems relating to coatings, surface treatments, and restricted substances,” comments Dr Patrick Coulter, Chief Operating Officer at Granta Design. “The Coatings Data Module also demonstrates Granta’s collaborative approach to product development – the expertise of Rowan Technology Group has been extremely valuable in building a high quality tool.”

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