New Green PVD coating technology for Intaglio printing plates

Product Owner: NORCOAT – EMEA INOR EOOD, Private company

Project Team

Mr. Romain Waidelich, Master of international management, and CEO at INORCOAT. Mr. Hassan Regrara – Managing Director, Dar As-Sikkah, Bank Al-Maghrib Mr. Ahmed Lemrhabbar – Head of Currency Production Department, Dar As-Sikkah, Bank Al-Maghrib Morocco.Dar As-Sikkah, a department of the central bank, Bank Al-Maghrib, responsible for printing banknotes, minting coins, and producing secure documents.

Date the Program was first implemented


Project Description

In accordance of this project the aim was to replace environmental harmfull galvanic process (Galvanic Chrome plating – Chrome VI problematic – REACH regulation) with new type of PVD coatings on the Intaglio printing plates.

Electrodeposited chromium (Cr) coatings are widely used as hard chrome or decorative coatings. The Intaglio printing industry uses this harmful coating process to make printing plates durable. Within the European REACH regulation the use of electroplated chromium, especially based on the toxic Cr VI is strongly restricted and alternatives are sought which:

  1. are deposited with an environmentally friendly process are deposited
  2. have similar or better wear properties than electroplated chromium
  3. in case of substitution of a decorative Cr coating, have similar decorative as well as antibacterial/viral properties
  4. and, especially in the Intaglio printing industry, a cost-neutral substitution of the electroplated Cr.

INORCOAT’s Cr-free coating solutions are a fundamentally new approach to intaglio printing, leading to a sustainable solution and ensuring a hexavalant Cr-free decoating option for intaglio plates. These coatings are a high performance, non-hazardous and REACH compliant option for hard chrome. Coatings based on the principle of physical vapor deposition may offer higher hardness, high toughness and high wear resistance. In general, PVD Coatings may provide superior protection compared to electrodeposited chrome.

The coating solution was validated and developed at the German site Inor PCT GmbH.

Countries where implemented

Germany, Morocco, Bulgaria

Innovative, unique, and/or inventive aspects of the project

Substitution of the galvanic Cr by a general process/material is not possible or only with difficulty. However, individual solutions for specific applications do exist. Within the scope of this application we would like to present a special solution, the substitution of hard chrome on intaglio printing plates. The solution contains two components, on the one hand the development of a high-technological protective layer, on the other hand the development of a vacuum coating plant, which reproduces this protective layer economically. The company INORCOAT sells vacuum coating systems with the corresponding coating processes as a turn-key product. It allows the customer to operate a high-tech system without having to learn the technology from scratch. The protective coatings used in the systems are company know-how and are patented as far as possible. The cathodes used in INORCOAT systems have a proprietary, patent-protected design that allows high-rate deposition.

Environmental sustainability challenge/problem

PVD coating technology is an environmentally friendly replacement for conventional electroplated chrome technology. Unlike electroplating, PVD technology is a dry and environmentally friendly process that does not produce hexavalent chromium (chromium VI). For the intaglio printing industry, we have developed relevant process coatings that can be produced with INORCOAT’s PVD systems.

Level of Expected/Proven impact on Environment

The release of hexavalent chromium, Cr(VI) for short, a carcinogen that is formed during classic chrome plating and also decoating and is the most harmful oxidation stage of chromium, poses high health risks for employees as well as far-reaching environmental hazards. Chromium is therefore subject to very strict regulations in important markets worldwide. In the EU, Cr(VI) is covered by the REACH regulation. In the USA, too, chromium is strictly regulated by the federal OSHA agency, which is responsible for health and safety. INORCOAT‘s holistic approach is not only concerned with the environmentally friendly use of resources and the avoidance of toxic waste materials during the PVD coating of components and workpieces, but also includes the temporarily necessary decoating. INORCOAT‘s coatings are a high performance, non-hazardous and REACH compliant alternative to hard chrome.

Organization’s commitment to environmental sustainability

Our passion for PVD aims to provide an affordable and technically mature solution for individual application. Only then can PVD realize its full potential as a green technology that protects people and the environment compared to competing technologies (e.g. electroplating) and lead to truly more sustainable production processes. This is crucial for a sustainable and resource-efficient manufacturing industry.

As a coordinator and guide with decisiveness and organizational talent, we provide supportive advice and assistance according to your goals and directions.

We are observers and specialists and have a wide range of knowledge in PVD material processing. We are focused on the technical and professional aspects of your task, check proposals and ideas for economic feasibility for your unconditional benefit.

As implementers and perfectionists, we have great organizational talent, are conscientious and bring both discipline and reliability. We make sure that the plan is adhered to in every detail.

Extra information
To find a good compromise in applying hard Cr free coatings on very soft and flexible substrates is challenging. INORCOAT takes up this challenge.
Awards | Currency Awards 2023


Best New Environmental Sustainability Project


Finalist | Nominee