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Ionbond UK Extends Coating Capacity for Major Aerospace Prime

19 February 2020

Ionbond operates 37 facilities in 16 countries and are a leading global supplier of PVD and PACVD coatings. Ionbond is part of the Heat Treatment and Surface Engineering business unit of the Nikkei listed IHI Corporation of Japan which also provides heat treatment services through (IHI VTN) as well as manufacturing PVD, PACVD and CVD (Bernex) equipment through IHI Hauzer Techno Coating.

Ionbond provide services to numerous strategic markets; Aerospace & Defence, Automotive, Medical, Luxury, Decorative, as well as Cutting & Forming tools. Ionbonds’ Aerospace activities are a growing business segment and are currently being offered through Aerospace approved facilities in Consett, County Durham UK, three facilities in France and also in Greensboro, North Carolina USA.

Ionbonds’ UK facility has a long-standing relationship with the aerospace industry having gained NADCAP accreditation in 2003. Further opportunities to strengthen our Aerospace offering was created following the installation and commissioning of an additional coating machine. After extensive discussions with Airbus on capacity and commercial justification, Ionbond UK was given the go ahead to extend approvals on its current qualified capacity, and to qualify the new state-of-the-art large capacity Hauzer 1500 equipment.  

An extensive 15-month qualification program was completed on time providing approval for coating of all material types, Inconel, Class 1 Titanium, Stainless and Copper alloys. The newly qualified Tribobond 40 - WC-C:H coating machine is the largest Airbus qualified equipment globally and offers significant economies of scale with an impressive working zone of 1.5m in height x 1.1m in diameter.  The final technical qualification and entrance onto the Airbus QSPL (Qualified Special Process List) was granted in December 2019.

Dr Chris Constable, Managing Director of Ionbond UK outlines; “The qualification of the new large capacity machine puts Ionbond UK in pole position to support the changing Aerospace industry and develop future opportunities”.

Ionbond is ready with this newly qualified capacity to support the tier 1 and sub-tier supply chains as they steadily move away from Hard Chromium Plating as a reaction to the European Union REACH Directive (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation & Restriction of Chemicals). The environmentally friendly Tribobond 40 - WC-C:H coatings deposited to Airbus AIPS 02-04-007 specification by Physical Vapour Deposition (PVD) will replace hard chromium on many components due to the enhanced anti-fretting and low friction properties of the coating.

To improve our service further Ionbond UK has brought CAD and engineering design facilities in-house enabling comprehensive engineering reviews typically required for complex aerospace components. Having the in-house design resource facilitates faster reaction for special purpose masking and tooling requirements leading to accelerated industrialisation. The enhanced economies of scale from the larger volume capacity will enable highly competitive pricing models.

Ionbond has made significant investment in the NADCAP accredited facility at Consett, County Durham over the past three years. This has continued into 2020 with further capital and human resource being added as well as substantial shop floor infrastructure improvements.     

This enhanced capability could not come too soon as remarkably, the A320 family is one of the busiest single aisle platforms and takes off and lands somewhere in the world every 2 seconds. The timing of the additional capacity, further approvals and site infrastructural improvements is perfectly timed with the anticipated run rate increases for the Airbus programmes.


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