Great Success for the REACH Surface Treatments Standard Seminar organised by AIAS and CIDETEC


Last 5 June saw the holding of the seminar, “Effects of the REACH Standard on Surface Treatments towards a More Sustainable Future,” attended by some fifty professionals in the field of surface treatments, in the context of the International Fair on Manufacturing Processes and Equipment 2019 (Subcontracting 2019), which took place at the Bilbao Exhibition Centre.

REACH (Regulation on Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals) is a European Union regulation adopted to improve human health and environmental protection against the possible hazards presented by chemical products, while strengthening the competitiveness of the chemical industry in the EU.

From 2008 to 2011, different chemical compounds used in the surface treatment industry were included in the list of candidates for REACH regulation. The main reason for this inclusion is to promote alternatives making it possible to avoid the use of such products. In the specific case of Cr(VI) compounds, it implies the need to request authorisation for use starting from a given date.

Given the lack of solid alternatives, a large number of requests for exemption have been submitted to the ECHA (European Chemical Agency). However, the exemptions granted have not been very extensive for producers of compounds or suppliers of semi-finished products, who are generally the parties requesting exemption to be able to sell their products for surface treatments. For this reason, surface treatment users are beginning to understand that it is not feasible to find a single alternative over the short and medium term that will serve for all current applications. Hence, the sole manner of approaching the problem with any guarantee of success would be to analyse the question of substitution by families of components or applications.

At this seminar, the impact of REACH on the industries requiring surface treatments was analysed and different alternative treatments/coatings of high industrial potential due to both their environmental features and quality in finished products were presented.

The seminar introduction was given by Elvira Martín of AIAS, while the event was managed by Dr José Antonio Díez and Dr Gemma Vara of CIDETEC. CIDETEC Surface Engineering researchers Jorge Rodríguez, Asier Salicio and Rosalina Pérez were among the experts giving presentations, with Borja Fernández representing Aveq-Kimica and Sergi Dominguez speaking for HEMPEL. Antonio Montoliu participated for CHEMPLATE.