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Development of ECO-Friendly protection procedures for LANDing gear aluminium alloys

This project has received funding from the Clean Sky 2 Joint Undertaking under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 785412.

Total budget: 347.000,00 €

Duration: 2018/03/01 - 2019/08/31


In this project, a development of an alternative treatment to chromic anodising based on anaphoresis that meets REACH standards is the main goal. Anaphoresis consists of applying an organic coating by immersion using electric current. It has the advantage of enabling painting without the need for preliminary priming. This makes it doubly interesting since it facilitates the reduction of application time (reducing production time by about 55 %) while replacing with a single coat two layers that usually contain Cr(VI) (substances with this element will be prohibited starting in 2024 to meet European REACH regulations), such as those produced by chromic anodising and the primers currently in use.

The treatment developed in the course of the project will be mainly applied to series 7000 aluminium alloys, very often used in aeronautical applications, which require mechanical resistance. Such an improvement is expected to lengthen the useful life of the components treated by 25 % in comparison with traditional anodised and painted systems and to reduce manufacturing costs by at least 30 %. Moreover, thanks to the new coating system, parts of more complex geometries can be treated, making it possible to design lighter landing gear.

The following improvements will be aimed from the ECOLAND Cr-free project:

• The lifetime of the anaphoretic electrocoating system shall be 25 % longer than the lifetime of traditional.
• It is expected a minimum of around 30% cost and 45% energy consumption reduction in manufacturing compared to currently available systems.
• Thanks to the new coating systems more complex geometry parts could be coated and so landing gears might be designed lighter than currently ones. It will be measured through a throwing power (capacity to coat hidden areas) experiment where we will search to increase it in a 10%.
• The production time to be shortened in a 55 %.
• A decrease of the risk of mechanical failure due to the reduction of the alloy exposure time to acids. It will be measured by means of a fatigue test where a 10 % reduction is foreseen.
• The adherence of paint over anaphoretic e-coat shall be higher than over standard anodizing. It will be measured indirectly by means of a stone-chip test over the top-coat. The result shall be a 10 % better than over anodising
• The process will be Cr-free and VOCs emissions will be reduced in a 50%



The need of using high performance lightweight materials is pushing the aerospace industry to incorporate aluminium alloys in many parts of the aircraft. But all aircraft components, and especially those of landing gears, need to be able to withstand friction and corrosive environments while continuing to operate at optimum levels. Nowadays most landing gear parts made of aluminium alloys are protected against corrosion by surface anodising and multilayer painting. The treatment is usually carried out on Cr(VI) based compounds. To date, there is not any Cr-free accepted protecting treatment for Al 7000 series alloys that fulfils the aeronautics requirements, so, it is necessary to develop an environmentally and Cr-free acceptable alternative process.

The main objective of ECOLAND project is to face the research of a suitable REACH compliant anaphoretic electrocoating treatment (including both the optimal pretreatment method and anaphoretic electrocoating application conditions) that can replace the currently used anodising + painting treatment for protection of Al 7000 series alloys in aeronautic applications. This anaphoretic electrocoating will allow a reduction of emissions, saving of coat and improvement of corrosion protection.


To achieve the proposed challenges, the ECOLAND project brings together a strong consortium composed of three different partners with complementary profiles and large expertise, covering the special skills, capabilities and certification expected for the project and an industrial advisor.

This project spearheaded by CIDETEC, which is a research centre with a strong scientific background and expert in surface treatment processes, dispersions and polymer modification, CIDETEC (Spain), also relies on the participation of a strongly consolidated company in the field of anaphoretic coatings, LVH Coatings (UK) and a NADCAP qualified company for aeronautical testing and validation with a wide experience in chemical and physical testing of protective coatings for Al, CTME (Spain). CTME has also extensive experience in performing LCA studies in different sectors, including aerospace sector (CleanSky TIFAN and CleanSky SEALANT, in both projects LIEBHERR acting as TM).

It is worth to mention that the industrial advisor of ECOLAND is the outstanding chemical company CHEMETALL, which is leader in providing chemical products for surface treatments to aeronautical industries all over Europe. Besides, recently, the company has been acquired by BASF, which also provides products for surface treatments, including e-coating formulations.




Dr. Jorge Rodríguez (Project Coordinator) - CIDETEC   
Business Development Manager
NDT Level 3

Dr. Rosalina Pérez - CIDETEC
Researcher - Surface Engineering