Study Reveals Finishing Industry Barriers to Phasing Out Cadmium

Sifco conducted the survey, which they say was done to gage the industry knowledge of about speculation that the U.S. aerospace industry will phase out cadmium by 2023.

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A survey of finishing job shops on the probable phase-out of cadmium shows that only 23 percent believe they will be cadmium-free within the next five years, and almost half don’t feel they have enough information to decide about a replacement. When asked why, 100 percent cited “lack of credible resources and documentation.”

Global selective plating company Sifco Applied Surface Concepts conducted the survey, which they say was done to gage the industry knowledge of about speculation that the U.S. aerospace industry will phase out cadmium by 2023.

Even though decades of research indicates that zinc-nickel can be a reliable alternative to cadmium in the aerospace sector, more than 66 percent of respondents who plate cadmium say aerospace specifications and a primer’s requirements are their biggest barriers to phasing it out.

“What this survey really shows is that there is much hesitation across the industry on this topic,” says Scott Peterson, Sifco’s training manager. “The majority of respondents who don’t think the deadline will be met say the reason is a lack of alternatives, but we believe that this highlights a need for more knowledge sharing and collaboration to provide the level of confidence needed to make the change.”

Sifco created an online knowledge hub on its website to help finishers with manufacturer testing reports and academic research papers.

 “We are working with a number of leaders in the field and finding that zinc-nickel can even outperform cadmium in some instances,” Peterson says. “When used with the right conversion coating, the corrosion protection of zinc-nickel is even more impressive. The changes are happening in some areas but the industry needs to come together and share best practices so that cadmium can finally be phased out.” 

Visit sifcoasc.com/cadmium-knowledge-hub.