Hardide Coatings Partners with GE

00120065-0000-0000-0000-000000000000_00000065-0763-0000-0000-000000000000_20121228123912_GE_080812_RM_300Hardide Coatings and GE recently announced a Strategic Supply Agreement worth $1.3 million over a two year period. Hardide Coatings, an Oxfordshire-based company that develops. manufactures and applies tungsten carbide-based coatings, will  supply coating to one of GE’s current components, using patented technology that combines a mix of abrasion, erosion, and corrosion resistant properties. The result is expected be improved component life, which will save GE money due to reduced downtime and increased operational efficiency.

Paul Lubinski is a senior reliability engineer with a leading manufacturer of commercial vehicle cargo climate control and bus HVAC systems. “The size (dollar amount) of the contract is not all that much considering that the customer is GE,” says Lubinski. “This appears to be GE‘s way to see if Hardide can prove out in some smaller volume, more specialty application with durability challenges. Then if Hardide does succeed there, GE may look at them for opportunities in more ‘main line’ businesses that could use a technology like this, such as components in used in a relatively wider range of gas turbines.”

Senior development scientist Marc Hirsch is a consultant to material sciences, coatings, paints and inks industries. Hirsch says, “The announced Strategic Supply Agreement between Hardide Coatings and GE should be viewed as a win-win. Although the agreement is to supply coating to a component currently used by GE, GE has to have proven that the technology delivers what is required to have entered in to this agreement. Even still, it appears that GE is cautiously evaluating the technology in a limited application, since GE could benefit by the use of the technology in several of the Energy segments.”

Hirsch also addresses the problem of gearing system failure in Wind Energy. “Although many improvements have been made over the past years, reliability and early lifecycle failures continue. The application of the Harbide Coating to the Gearbox could improve this. In Fossil Fuel Power Plants, GE manufactures Gas and Steam turbines. A modification of the gas turbines, are used in the aviation industry for jet engines; GE90 e.g. is used on the Boeing 777. Gas Turbine engines and jet engines are very demanding with respect to abrasion, erosion and corrosion resistance, and would greatly benefit from The Harbide Coating if it delivers what it appears to. This is a supply agreement for now, but I could see GE’s Advanced Materials group forming a strategic alliance with Harbide in the future.”

Dr. G.A. Mansoori, a Professor of Chemical and Bio Engineering & Physics at the University of Illinois at Chicago, sees the partnership as a positive endeavor.  “Considering the great potential of nanotechnology for developing better coatings for various components this is an excellent indication that well-established conventional industries like GE are recognizing the power of nanotechnology to do things better than conventional ways. I wish, both Hardide Coatings and GE success and mutual satisfaction in this interesting endeavor.”

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