New AIAG Work Group Focuses on Hexavalent Chrome & PFAS Replacement for Electroplating

AIAG announces a new collaborative work group to facilitate the automotive transition to hexavalent chromium free and PFAS free chromium electroplated components.

SOUTHFIELD, Michigan, November 16, 2023 – The Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG) today announced a new work group to focus on automotive industry efforts to reduce – and optimally eliminate – the use of hexavalent chromium and perfluorinated based wetting agents (PFAS) in both decorative and functional electroplating applications.

AIAG is a trusted mobility industry association where companies work together to address common issues facing the global supply chain. The AIAG team collaborates with volunteers from OEMs, suppliers, service providers, and other organizations to develop and implement innovative solutions to these concerns.

The new work group is comprised of numerous stakeholders in the supply and use of chromium electroplated components, including OEMs, chemical suppliers, electroplating applicators, and the National Association of Surface Finishers (NASF) industry trade organization. Focusing on both the technical development of new process chemistries, as well as the operational aspects of the industry transformation, this group will explore ways and means to expedite a smooth transition to these new technologies while maintaining optimum quality and continued uninterrupted supply.

In unison with NASF, its primary trade organization, the electroplating industry has progressively addressed a range of environmental concerns and unilaterally developed and implemented technical solutions, often leading other industries in advancing sustainability. Landmark accomplishments for the electroplating industry include advocating for and implementing the first federal mandate for PFOS elimination under the Clean Air Act over a decade ago.

As with past practices, recent process technology developments including enhanced performing decorative trivalent chromium electroplating systems and chrome-free etchants are now being commercialized. Use of these solutions will address the reduction and removal of both hexavalent chromium and PFAS materials from plating processes in advance of future global regulations expected to prohibit these materials.

Correspondingly, through individual sustainability initiatives, the global automotive OEM community is highly motivated to implement changes to incorporate these hexavalent chrome free technologies, complementing their activities to reduce the carbon footprint of both automotive manufacturing and the customer’s usage.

AIAG’s Program Manager of Environmental Sustainability, Lecedra Welch-Jones explains: “Our industry is committed to finding innovative ways to reduce the environmental impact of our products throughout their entire lifecycle. This collaborative effort will enable industry to reduce or eliminate the use of hexavalent chromium and PFAS in the supply chain of electroplated parts, assisting both our companies and suppliers in achieving their ESG goals.”

The work group will also explore impediments to implementation of these new processes and develop strategies to overcome such roadblocks to foster a successful transition at the highest quality levels.

If you are an AIAG member and you would like to join this initiative, please contact us at cr@aiag.org.

About AIAG: The Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG) is a unique not-for-profit mobility association where automakers, suppliers, service providers, government entities, and individuals in academia have worked collaboratively for more than 40 years to drive down cost and complexity throughout the global supply chain. With more than 4,600 member companies across the mobility industry – including automotive, aerospace, defense, electronics, medical, consumer goods, and more – AIAG offers in-person and live virtual training, issue-driven events and webinars, best practice publications and standards, and other resources to introduce new initiatives and bolster existing industry efforts.