Biochrome coatings protect all types of tools from corrosion, abrasion, friction, and wear, greatly improving the performance, longevity, and physical appearance of stainless steel surgical instruments and medical-grade devices.
Completely inert, non-magnetic, anti-microbial, and perfected for nearly every type of metal, ME-92 biochrome coating is highly versatile, lending itself well to applications outside of the medical realm. Here, we’ll explore how several other industries utilize ME-92 biochrome coatings to ensure safety, improve performance, and strengthen their bottom line.
Ensuring quality control and preventing metal failure across industries
Designed to create a thin, protective surface layer that protects against metal failure and degradation, ME-92® biochrome coating can be customized to meet the specific requirements of different applications and industries, including:
A sector of the pharmaceutical industry, biotech involves the development, manufacturing, and commercialization of drugs used to combat a wide range of diseases and conditions, including cancer, autoimmune disorders, and genetic diseases. Like medicine, biotech is highly regulated, and it can take years, and significant capital, to bring a drug to market.
Bioprocessing equipment, including tubing, filtration systems, and other components, must withstand the harsh conditions of the manufacturing process. such as extreme temperatures, high pressures, and exposure to corrosive chemicals.
Food processing and packaging
Food processing and packaging involves the transformation of raw food materials into packaged, ready-to-eat or ready-to-cook food products. An essential aspect of the process is packaging, which protects food products from contamination and damage, helps to extend their shelf life, and provides important information to consumers about the product.
Some key processes include thermal processing, such as pasteurization and sterilization, and non-thermal processing, such as high-pressure processing, irradiation, and pulsed electric field processing. As a result of these processes, machined packaging line components, as well as stainless steel bearings, chutes, pumps, linear rails, heat seal jaws, and cutting tools, must be protected from wear.
Research and testing laboratories
From autoclaves and fume hoods to pipettes and spatulas, stainless steel is commonly used for research and testing laboratory equipment due to its durability, corrosion resistance, and ease of cleaning. However, even bare stainless steel can’t escape the effects of repeated cycles of sterilization and use, making this equipment ideal for chromium coatings.
Stainless steel filling, capping, labeling, and inspection machines and components must be sterile and defect-free. These machines are designed to ensure gentle and accurate handling of the containers to prevent damage or contamination.
Industrial robots are designed to perform a wide range of repetitive, precise, and sometimes dangerous tasks in manufacturing and industrial applications, including material assembly and handling, welding, painting, inspection and testing, and packaging. From frames and sensors to effectors and grippers, industrial robots utilize a wide variety of stainless steel components subject to corrosive wear and metal failure.
Top quality control concerns biochrome coatings address
At the Armoloy Innovation Center in Dekalb, IL, metallurgical consultants aid in developing coating and plating solutions to meet strict regulations and quality control standards. From biotech to food processing and packaging, here are some of the top industry concerns biochrome coatings address.
If you don’t use a biochrome coating like ME-92® on stainless steel that is sterilized frequently, it may corrode or deteriorate over time due to repeated exposure to sterilization agents and other harsh chemicals. This can result in a number of negative consequences, including:
- Contamination risk. Corroded metal surfaces can harbor bacteria and other microorganisms that are difficult to remove during the sterilization process, which can increase the risk of infection and other complications.
- Reduced durability. Without a protective coating, the metal surface may become pitted, cracked, or weakened, which can compromise its structural integrity and lifespan.
- Reduced performance. Corrosion can directly impact the equipment and component functionality, leading to decreased efficacy or even device failure.
- Increased costs. If the metal corrodes or deteriorates, it may need to be replaced more frequently, which can be costly in terms of time and money.
ME-92® coatings arrest corrosion from the following sterilization procedures:
- Steam Autoclave. This process involves placing the items to be sterilized in a sealed chamber and exposing them to steam under pressure for a specified period of time. The high temperature and pressure of the steam kill bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms, ensuring the items are sterile and safe to use.
- STERIS SYSTEM 1. Using a combination of chemicals and heat, the system provides a fast and effective way to sterilize equipment.
- STERRAD Sterilization and STERIS EtO. Designed for equipment that can’t withstand the high temperature and moisture of traditional steam sterilization methods, STERRAD sterilization is a low-temperature technology that uses hydrogen peroxide gas plasma. STERIS EtO uses ethylene oxide gas, a highly effective sterilant that can penetrate most materials and kill microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses, and spores.
- Gamma X Ray. The process involves exposing the items to be sterilized to a controlled dose of ionizing radiation, typically gamma rays generated from the decay of cobalt-60.
- Bleach exposure, boiling, detergent scrubbing
Complying with safety and regulatory requirements
Adhering to regulatory safety and compliance requirements is essential for protecting public health and safety, and avoiding costly legal, financial, and reputational consequences.
Pharmaceutical packaging, food processing and packaging manufacturers, and biotech firms must comply with strict regulations and standards set by regulatory bodies such as the FDA and ISO. Robotics manufacturers and laboratories are also subject to a variety of regulations and standards, such as those set by OSHA, the EPA, and the FDA, and must ensure proper handling and disposal of hazardous materials, while also maintaining appropriate records and documentation.
ME-92® was the first chrome coating company to perform and pass the Tripartite Guidelines testing for biocompatibility. The current standard is ISO 10993, and ME-92® biochrome coatings have also successfully passed the requirements for biocompatibility to this standard and the following specifications:
- ISO quality standards
- USDA approved
- FDA compliant
- REACH compliant
- RoHS compliant
- Toxicon tested
Ensuring durability, compatibility, and reliability
Today, there is a clear need for clean, biocompatible coatings across a variety of industries. The thin deposit chrome coating applied by ME-92® addresses durability, compatibility, and reliability concerns with unparalleled performance and aesthetics.
Incorporating biochrome coatings early on in the product and packaging design phase is key. Packaging manufacturers, for example, are required to design packaging that is easy to use, transport, and store, while also being tamper-proof and child-resistant. Robotics manufacturers need to develop products that can withstand the demands of various industries and applications — this includes designing robots that can operate in harsh environments and developing systems that can detect and prevent mechanical failures. Furthermore, all industries must ensure that their products can integrate with existing systems and equipment, such as production lines and machinery, to improve efficiency and productivity.
ME-92® biochrome coatings are compatible with nearly every base metal type, including aluminum (ALCOAT®), providing the following performance properties:
- Arrests corrosion from sterilization, metallic debris, and particulate matter
- Increases wear resistance and surface hardness
- Eliminates galling, fretting, and spalling
- Provides a hard, scratch-resistant, nonstick, smooth sliding, easy clean surface for a long-lasting, clean, and pristine appearance
- Reduces high-intensity light reflection/refraction and glare
- Is hydrophobic, chemical-resistant, and easy to remove and reapply
With increasing concerns about environmental impact, all industries are looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprint and operate more sustainably. This includes reducing waste, using renewable energy sources, and implementing sustainable practices.
Working with a reputable thin dense chrome provider — one who is committed to correct process controls every single time — is critical to ensuring environmental safety, regulatory compliance, and supply chain integrity.
ME-92® thin dense chrome electroplating consumes less energy compared to hard chrome plating. A newer and more advanced technology, thin dense chrome plating utilizes specialized electrolytes and current density controls to achieve a highly efficient plating process. Because it requires lower plating voltages and currents compared to hard chrome plating, the result is lower energy consumption and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
In partnership with the Armoloy Corporation’s Innovation Center, ME-92® develops both administrative and engineering processes to maintain tight quality controls, mitigate variabilities while optimizing efficiencies, and protect workers and the environment. Some examples of this commitment include:
- Training. Extensive training covers chemical hazards, safe work practices, and the use of personal protective equipment (PPE).
- Work procedures. Written work procedures are used to outline safe work practices and to ensure that workers follow established protocols to minimize exposure and handle chemicals safely.
- Job rotation. Scheduling breaks and rotating workers between different tasks will reduce prolonged exposure.
- Local exhaust ventilation. This captures and removes contaminants at the source before they can be inhaled by workers. A local exhaust ventilation system can be used to remove fumes and particles from welding or other processes that generate the chemical.
- Enclosures. Used to physically separate workers from the chemical source, enclosures (such as welding booths) help prevent the escape of fumes or particles and are properly ventilated to ensure that any contaminants are safely removed.
ME-92® continually maintains a perfect compliance record for wastewater discharge. Because of this commitment to quality, ME-92® has earned the trust of global medical OEMs and beyond as their supplier of choice.
Biocompatible coatings for every industry
For decades, the medical industry has utilized ME-92® and ALCOAT® biochrome coatings to reduce friction and wear, take advantage of easy-cleaning and nonstick coating properties, and of course, be non-reactive to the body.
Today, ME-92® Coating offers the most versatile lineup of biochrome coating options for all industries. Our metallurgical and materials consulting, research, and testing experts are here to help you determine the right coating and finish to meet your specific needs.