Keronite success is just the beginning


Hall 4, Stand D48

The CEO of one of the leading advanced surface technology companies is looking forward to a bright future as the company makes its Farnborough Airshow debut this year.


Matt Hamblin, CEO of Keronite – the world’s most advanced surface treatment for aluminium, magnesium and titanium – joined the Haverhill (UK) headquartered business three years ago, since when it has doubled its turnover and moved into profit.


“When I joined the business, it was clear that Keronite’s patented Plasma Electrolytic Oxidation (PEO) technology offered a great deal of potential for the aerospace market; the challenge lay in moving the business from being primarily a technology company to one that could actively help customers realise the benefits of lighter metal alloys in component and airframe design, as well as MRO services.


“We have ambitious growth plans over the next 18 months and much of that growth is expected to come from the aerospace sector where there are real opportunities for enabling technologies, such as ours, to revolutionise aircraft design.”


With environmental legislation and the desire to improve fuel efficiency driving significant light-weighting efforts in aircraft design, the use of lightweight metal alloys has long been a goal for many aircraft manufacturers. However, issues of wear, corrosion and, in some cases, chemical volatility have so far prevented mass adoption of these alternatives.


This is where surface treatments – such as Keronite – come in, allowing OEMs to improve the performance characteristics of different alloys and enabling new technologies to come to the fore.


Matt continued: “As a clean technology, Keronite surface treatments offer a welcome alternative to traditional processes to protect aluminium components – such as hard chromic anodising – which is set to become prohibitively expensive as the REACh regulations take effect.


“Not only do Keronite-treated components outperform traditional components when it comes to wear and corrosion-resistance but, as the treatment grows out of the metal alloy itself, the process itself doesn’t add significant weight to the component either. The process also eliminates the need for paint and primers in many applications, removing another source of additional weight and environmental impact.


“We’re also now seeing real progress with customers looking to take advantage of the changes to the wording of SAE AS8049 – the aerospace safety standard – to make greater use of magnesium in passenger aircraft. With large volumes and repeatability of components required, there are some staggering potential weight savings in this area that would make a sizeable difference to the aircraft’s environmental performance, as well as its running costs!”


As well as taking advantage of emerging opportunities for its ground-breaking technology in aerospace market, Matt puts much of the company’s success over the last few years down to getting the right team in place to drive process and performance improvements across the business.


“Identifying the right people to drive the business forward has been a key challenge,” Matt continued. “As well as working closely with customers to develop Keronite processes that meet their needs, the team has also been working hard to get achieve the certifications required to bring this exciting technology to a wider aerospace customer base. Both Haverhill and Greenwood achieved AS9100C within the last 12 months and this, combined with our existing customer-specific certifications that include the likes of Boeing and Sikorsky – have done much to build confidence in our capabilities.


“Of course, there’s plenty more to do but, after a challenging few years, it’s great to see the business making real headway in this exciting and important market and we’re looking forward to celebrating the team’s achievements with a successful debut year at Farnborough Airshow.”


Keronite is the world’s most advanced surface treatment technology for lightweight alloys such as aluminium, magnesium and titanium. It uses Plasma Electrolytic Oxidation (PEO) – an electrolytic immersion process that passes an electrical current through the surface of a light metal part- to generate a plasma oxide layer that converts the surface into a hard, yet flexible, ceramic layer without bulking out the component.


The process can be honed to offer bespoke solutions for different applications simply by making adjustments to a range of controllable parameters. This means the coating can be engineered to offer multi-functional performance on different parts of the same component: So, where one part of the component might need increased wear resistance; another may need better thermal or aesthetic qualities, all of which can be delivered in one, repeatable treatment process.


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