Coatings

Extreme magnification reveals the unique columnar grain structure of the EXO coating. The body of the nodules provides a large surface area to dissipate heat, while their convex tips minimize the contact area that can generate friction. While EXO is typically applied at a thickness between 10 and 100 microns, coating thicknesses as high as 800 microns are possible, depending on the application. Regardless of the depth of the coating, the surface of the component remains remarkably smooth and uniform.

UCT’s Exclusive EXO Technology

EXO Technology creates a competitive advantage for all kinds of components, because treated parts run dramatically longer and more accurately with less maintenance. Further, EXO greatly enhances heat dissipation, so treated products run far cooler than non-treated parts.

The EXO process is permanent, lasting for the entire lifespan of treated parts. A patented, nodular nickel-boron (NiB) surface treatment, EXO nucleates on the surface atoms of metals, becoming part of the metal rather than merely applied to the outside. In addition, the treated surface becomes harder than the substrate itself, eliminating the cost, weight and degradation problems of conventional hardened metals.

Benefits…

  • Replaces multiple coatings with one process, streamlining manufacturing
  • Provides total coverage and may not require final matching
  • Lower environmental compliance costs than hard chrome, anodizing and parkerizing
  • Not an exotic material or process
  • Repeatable, scalable, transferable technology
  • Can be applied to steel, aluminum alloys, titanium alloys

EXO Technology is featured in firearms, weapons and support systems used by the U.S. military and law enforcement and security agencies; for engine, powertrain, propulsion and wear components in the automotive, aerospace and maritime industries; in industrial pumping, mining and drilling applications; in food processing applications; and in the forestry industry to reduce saw friction and resin sticking, improving blade life and cut quality. EXO Technology is appropriate for virtually any application where reduced friction, extended service life, enhanced performance and lower maintenance are desirable.

How does UCT’s EXO coating compare to conventional coatings? Download our technical brief to learn more:

pdf EXO Technology Overview (583.49 KB pdf)

UCT technology applies a nickel-boron (Ni-B) family of coatings to metal alloy surfaces. The properties of these coatings make them suitable for applications requiring high wear resistance, friction reduction, uniformity of dimensions on complex geometry, strong adhesion to substrates, and inherent solid lubrication. Corrosion inhibition is an added feature. Benefits include increased life cycle and decreased maintenance costs. The application process is non-line-of-sight, low temperature, industrially attractive, scalable, transferable, repeatable, and available now.

Superior Finishing and Plating

The surface finishing techniques developed by UCT Coatings utilize an autocatalytic deposition process by submersion of the part in a liquid bath. No specialized or hard-to-obtain equipment is required. The processing parameters and chemistry used by UCT Coatings are proprietary and patented, but available through UCT directly or one of its globally situated licensees. UCT Coatings processes are able to achieve optimized levels of boron, between 5-6 weight %, in the coating. This fact, combined with a much improved microstructure compared to other Ni-B coatings, sets UCT apart from its competitors, including all other Ni-B coating suppliers.

Plating of UCT coatings is not a line-of-sight technology, compared to many other plating technologies. All surfaces exposed to the plating bath are coated with an even thickness including inside and outside corners and blind holes, ensuring uniformity of properties on all surfaces. The rate of plating deposition is well-known (0.0008 in/hr, 20 microns/hr) and well-controlled, providing a high production throughput rate. The entire coating process can be scaled and automated as needed to accommodate most sized part. Post-plating processes may include a variety of surface finishing techniques. A low temperature precipitation hardening cycle (425-725 degrees F) transforms the as-plated amorphous nickel-boron plating to crystalline nickel boride (Ni3B) resulting in an increase in hardness from about 1000 Knoop to 1300 Knoop (25g, 10 sec dwell), respectively. The choice to use the coating in the amorphous or crystalline state is driven by the criteria of the application. Additions to the Ni3B coating can alter and enhance properties in severe and very demanding applications. The application development process, which is always performed in close collaboration between the customer and UCT engineers, defines the criteria for success and the specific plating process for a component.

Components coated with UCT Coatings surface finishing technologies can be stripped and re-coated to restore critical dimensions and functionality, saving components that are expensive and/or difficult to fabricate.  Similarly, designs that incorporate other coatings can usually be stripped of those coatings and UCT Coatings Ni-B surface finishing applied to boost performance.

Conventional Electroless Nickel Boron Coatings

For situations that do not demand the high performance of our exclusive EXO Technology, we also provide conventional nickel boron coatings that still meet and exceed industry standards. UCT’s conventional Ni-B coatings deliver consistent levels of hardness, wear resistance and lubricity, and they are deposited on components with the same extreme precision used with our EXO Technology. Our engineering team can help you develop the right Ni-B solution for your application, including appropriate processing steps and quality controls.

Nickel Phosphorous Coatings

UCT Coatings also provides nickel phosphorous (Ni-P) coating services that meet and exceed industry standards. We provide both mid and high phosphorous content Ni-P coatings, both decorative and non-decorative, and we can coat almost any alloy. Again, our engineering team can help you develop the right Ni-P solution for your application, including appropriate processing steps and quality controls.

  • Conform to ASTM B733
  • Low phosphorous, 1-3 wt%
  • Medium phosphorous, 5-9 wt%
  • High phosphorous, >10 wt%

Download a technical data sheet to explore the performance of our nickel phosphorous coatings:

pdf Mid phosphorous Ni-P (5-9 wt%) & High phosphorous Ni-P (>10 wt%) (68.71 KB pdf)

Questions?

Contact our team of materials scientists, mechanical engineers, and application specialists to discuss potential solutions to your metal alloy surface opportunities.