Enhancing treatment control through investment in new pre-treatment pilot line

As a leading industry expert in the surface treatment of lightweight materials, PSS needs to provide a quick response to customers' requests. We have invested in a new pre-treatment pilot line that allows us to run small volume prototype or production work, away from the main pre-treatment lines, and trial new processes quickly and easily. Crucially, this facility puts us in control of each stage of the treatment process. Overseen by our PhD qualified staff, we can help customers solve their surface treatment issues quickly and efficiently.

Powder coating pre-treatment pilot line

PowderBond to be presented at an exclusive event at the Electrolux Innovation Factory in Italy.


25th Oct 2018 PRESS RELEASE : On 30 October, a selected group of companies funded by the European Innovation Council (EIC) pilot will present their solutions to Electrolux at the Innovation Factory, a collaborative space which serves as the Electrolux Group’s hub for innovation with external partners. Powdertech Surface Science was one of the 14 companies selected to attend this exclusive event. 

Located at Electrolux manufacturing site in Porcia, northern Italy, the Electrolux Innovation Factory facilitates alliances between suppliers, customers, incubators, startups, universities, SMEs, and other business partners to accelerate innovation projects. The facility also includes demonstration and test areas for both product and process solutions.

Powdertech Surface Science will have the opportunity to share its visions and showcase its innovations in the field of composite/metal bonding to Electrolux managers and to network with fellow SMEs.

“We are very pleased to be selected for this EIC pilot event as we believe that PowderBond, our metal/composite bonding solution, offers exciting development opportunities for Electrolux. The event will provide us with an excellent basis for discussing how PowderBond could bring significant benefits to this forward- thinking company. ” said James Grant, Director, Powdertech Surface Science.

The initiative will be hosted by Electrolux Open Innovation, whose purpose is to identify new business opportunities across the entire value chain of the company and support the transformation of external innovation into tangible solutions for the company.

The principles of Open Innovation underlined by Electrolux, are aligned with one of the objectives of the EIC pilot: to support active collaboration between innovative small companies and large corporates. “The EIC should be the link between the start-ups and the corporates. By helping start-ups to access partners across value chains. From corporates to investors… and technology providers. At the same time large, corporates should be able to help start-ups to scale-up.”, said in a recent speech, Carlos Moedas, European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation.

PowderBond at EIC Pilot Corporate Day, Solvay, Brussels

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“Open innovation - the potential to move mountains”

We were very pleased to be invited to pitch at the EIC Pilot Corporate Day, October 16th, 2018, at Solvay, the advanced materials and speciality chemicals company. This was a business acceleration event aimed at SMEs working on breakthrough innovations. Our recent launch of PowderBond, a bonding solution for metal to plastic, prompted the organisers to select Powdertech Surface Science as one of 22 companies to pitch products and services judged to be relevant to and aligned with Solvay’s business strategy.

Condensing the features and far reaching benefits of PowderBond into a six-minute pitch was a challenging but worthwhile experience. The event provided valuable networking opportunities with Solvay managers, partners of Solvay and other presenters.

To quote Stéphane Roussel, Solvay Ventures Managing Director

“Open innovation is all about finding mutual interest to work together. A well-defined purpose and clarified roles and responsibilities are key conditions to success. On one side: size, scale, credibility; On the other:  agility, creativity, and speed. The combination has the potential to move mountains.”

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PowderBond - At Thermoplastic Composites 2018, BPF House, London, October 4th. 

Demonstrated as a proven technology in the Ariel Hipercar project, Powdertech’s innovative adhesive-free bonding process, PowderBond, is creating a great deal of interest in the industry. Powdertech Surface Science Technical Consultant, Dr. Nick Welton, will be presenting details of the process and how it was used in the Ariel Hipercar project,  at Thermoplastic Composites on October 4th 2018 in London.

PowderBond offers significant advantages to anyone bonding plastics to metal. Not only are there clear business benefits arising from absence of adhesive in the process, but the resulting bond between the metal and the plastic proves to be stronger than that using traditional methods. 

“PowderBond is at the fore-front of material surface technology “ said Dr Welton, “At Powdertech Surface Science we strive to use the inherent surface properties of materials to improve manufacturing processes in all aspects – swifter production, less wastage, less energy consumption and improved quality of product."

The conference showcases the latest technical advances in thermoplastic composites and is a joint Composites UK and British Plastics Federation event. 

Register online at http://www.bpf.co.uk/events/thermoplastic-composites-2018.aspx

See our PowderBond page https://www.powdertech.co.uk/powderbond/

PowderBond, a time-saving in-mould method for metal-to-composite bonding.

In many manufacturing industries, two dissimilar lightweight materials, such as a metal and a composite or plastic, need to be strongly bonded together in order to form a hybrid assembly, providing strength and flexibility. The metal will be coated for corrosion protection and both materials will undergo physical changes as part of the moulding procedure. Rather than introduce a third material - an adhesive - wouldn’t it be simpler if bonding could occur during the moulding process as a consequence of the physical properties of the materials?

PowderBond does just that. The coated metal component and composite material are placed together in the moulding system and a strong bond is formed between the materials during the normal composite forming cycle. Heat at the material interface creates the bond, fusing the parts together.

This makes for an extremely lean manufacturing process, with significant savings in time over traditional adhesive bonding methods.

There is no need to spend time preparing the composite surface, which may have required transportation to an off-site treatment facility. No time spent checking the surface activation level and no time constraint set by a limited surface activation time. Once the composite part has finished its forming cycle there is no need to spend time applying adhesive, clamping the parts together, and waiting for the adhesive to set. Using PowderBond, the metal and composite leave the mould together, already strongly bonded with up to three times the bond strength achieved with adhesives. There is no need for mechanical fixings and no risk of fibre breakage in the composite.

PowderBond is an innovative bonding process developed by Powdertech Surface Science. At the fore-front of material surface technology, we strive to use the inherent surface properties of materials to improve manufacturing processes in all aspects – swifter production, less wastage, less energy consumption, improved quality of product.

Aluminium bonded to polypropylene with PowderBond

Powdertech and magnesium go back a long way

Magnesium is 33% lighter than aluminium, 60% lighter than titanium and 75% lighter than steel with excellent elongation and ductility properties. Industry observers anticipate a resurgence in its use through the 21st Century as it has great benefits to offer as a structural material.  

A lot of the demand is emerging from automobile and aerospace manufacturers who are increasingly shifting towards magnesium-alloys to reduce vehicle and aircraft weights and meet growing fuel-efficiency demands. There is an abundant supply - magnesium is 4th most common element in the Earth (after iron, oxygen and silicon) and it is 100% recyclable.

Corrosion resistance is critical and die cast magnesium components can be powder coated or e-coated. Powdertech Surface Science has been powder coating magnesium for over ten years, operating all large automotive OEM approved magnesium chrome-free pre-treatment systems. For aerospace-approved magnesium alloys to class L (with top coat) or class S (no top coat) specification we use Gardobond X4729 eleven-stage chrome-free pre-treatment.


Powder coating this year - maybe PowderBond next year?

Many congratulations to Oxford Brookes Racing - the top UK team at FSUK 2018, and a well-deserved second place on the Silverstone Circuit in July. We were delighted to offer our powder coating services and wish the team continuing success. If adhesive-free bonding of lightweight metals and composite materials is an option for Frankie’s successor we’d be happy to discuss Powderbond.



PowderBond hits the headlines in CiM

We were really pleased to be interviewed by the journal and to explain more about our innovative, adhesive-free bonding process for composite-to-metal.

Hybrid benefits

New adhesive-free metal-composite bonding process

New adhesive-free metal-composite bonding process

Powdertech Surface Science Ltd has developed an innovative, time and labour-saving method for joining  metal to thermoplastic composites. Demonstrated within the Ariel Hipercar project, adhesive-free Powderbond™ bonds polypropylene glass fibre composite to aluminium in the vehicle’s monocoque chassis. The process is single stage, placing powder coated aluminium into a mold together with polypropylene and using the standard composite curing cycle. No adhesives are used at all.

The chrome free timeline explained.

There is lots of talk about going “chrome free” in our industry, although we at Powdertech Surface Science in Bicester have been using completely chrome free coating processes for over 16 years now, we thought we would take a brief look at what the EU has done to reduce the use of chromium in general.

Now, we have made a snazzy timeline to highlight some key dates but let’s look at each date with a little more detail:


September 2000 – Directive 2000/53/EC End of Life of Vehicle

The European Commission estimated that end-of-life vehicles (ELV) generate between 7 and 8 million tonnes of waste in the European Union per year. This directive was created to set clear targets for the reuse, recycling, and recovery of the ELVs and their components in order to make recycling said vehicles easier. It also aimed at making manufacturers create vehicles using more environmentally friendly materials excluding the use identified hazardous materials including lead, mercury, cadmium, and hexavalent chromium or chrome VI.

The ELV Directive was reviewed or subject to a “fitness check in 2014”

May 2001 – Powdertech Surface Science goes chrome-free

Due to local legislation and our move into the automotive sector we decided to install a chrome free pre-treatment line and remove our chrome processes altogether. This meant improving and simplifying our waste management but also reduced our chances of contamination. We opted for a new technology at the time; a titanium zirconium based chemistry.

The process has now been running for over 15 years applying passivisation for bonding and powder coating to all types of aluminium and magnesium. Since the inception of our chrome-free treatments we have been constantly making improvements as our knowledge expands. Now with the help of our technical consultant, Dr Nick Welton we are looking at further improvements in project OPTIMA

January 2003 – RoHS Directive 2002/95/EC

Often labelled as the “lead-free directive” but restricted the use of 10 substances in the manufacture of various types of electronics in the European Union. Among the 10 listed substances was hexavalent chrome:

  1. Lead (Pb)
  2. Mercury (Hg)
  3. Cadmium (Cd)
  4. Hexavalent chromium (Cr6+)
  5. Polybrominated biphenyls (PBB)
  6. Polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE)
  7. Bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP)
  8. Butyl benzyl phthalate (BBP)
  9. Dibutyl phthalate (DBP)
  10. Diisobutyl phthalate (DIBP)

This set a maximum of 1000 ppm (100 ppm for Cd) for homogeneous materials within a product.

December 2006 – WEEE directive 2002/96/EC (UK law)

WEEE stand for Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment. This directive originally set out a target for the EU member states, for the recycling and recovery of all types of electronics products, of 4 kg per head of person per population by 2009. Although this directive became European law in 2003 it was only transposed into UK law in 2006. The original deadline of transposition to national law of 13 Aug 2003 was only met by Cyprus.

December 2010 – Chromium (VI) compounds added to the REACH SVHC list.

Adding a substance to the SVHC (substance of very high concern list) is the first step in the procedure for the restriction of use of a chemical. The reason for chromium trioxides inclusion is due to its carcinogenic and mutagenic effects.

July 2016 – 15 years chrome free!

Powdertech Surface Science reaches its 15th year of being completely chrome-free! It was also the date we celebrated 15 years of working with JLR.

21st September 2017 – Reach Annex XVII

Sunset date for use of chrome VI industry wide. This is the original date set by the European Commission to ban the use of chrome VI products and is still the official date of final use however, a consortium called CTAC (Chromium Trioxide Authorization Consortium) are seeking to applying for an extension beyond this date for 6 uses of chromium trioxide – particularly in safety critical applications. This would enable the use of chromium trioxide based processes by those supplied directly or indirectly by the 7 applicants at least until a decision by the European Commission is made.


In our opinion, any ban on the use of a hazardous substance must be a good thing. The switch to chromium-free systems for pre-treatment isn’t easy but our track record of success shows that it is achievable. Our pre-treatment systems for bonding and powder coating of alloys of magnesium and aluminium, offer industry leading performance. If you need any information on our chrome-free systems please, feel free to contact us.

400,000 Magnesium FECs

Powdertech Surface Science Ltd, experts in lightweight material processing, has blazoned into 2018 by coating its four-hundred-thousandth magnesium front-end-carrier for Volvo cars. The FECs are coated in a bespoke textural polyester powder coating, designed, by Powdertech, for magnesium.

Powdertech pioneered a process of coating the intricate, finely cast magnesium parts in a powder with ‘anti-gassing’ properties. The formulation of the powder allows the release of any gases trapped in the casting during the coating process. This ensures that the powder coated surface is intact, providing the maximum degree of corrosion protection on cast parts.

The textured appearance of the coating was designed to meet an aesthetic requirement for all under-bonnet components to have a homogenous appearance, irrespective of the substrate material.

“We thrive on developing the best processes and materials for coating and bonding light weight materials,” said James Grant, Director, Powdertech. “And our expertise in working with magnesium is a competence we are particularly proud of.”

Call 01869 248218

New, Operations Manager – Matt Goldie.


Please join us in congratulating Matt Goldie on his new position as Operations Manager here at Powdertech Surface Science.

Following Matt’s internal promotion he will have responsibility for the overall operations function, covering all areas of the business, working with everyone to improve our systems and helping to make us a better company going forward.

Matt’s previous role as Production Manager, combined with his in-depth knowledge and experience of the business, makes him the perfect person to guide our operations toward the future and help us manage our continued growth as a company.

Well done Matt and thank you for all your hard work, from the whole team!

Our new powder coating system!

Powdertech Surface Science have invested £0.5 million in a brand new, state-of-the-art powder coating line. We are very excited to announce our new line has completed its commissioning and is now up and running and in full production!

The line is fully automated, embedded with the latest technology and is capable of even higher quality finishes whilst maximising throughput.

We pride ourselves on being able to undertake projects of all sizes and complexity; from 4 metre extruded profiles to sheet and small light fittings to intricate engineered assemblies.

Our new horizontal line represents a step change in our capability which, when coupled with our fully automated vertical line, will help strengthen our already lengthy track record in these areas, making us more efficient at the same time.

We welcome all visitors to come and see the new line in action. Please go to our contact page to schedule a visit or find out more about our capabilities.

Brand new forklifts!

Powdertech Surface Science have just received our latest shipment of brand new forklifts from NDLT

As part of our constant and continued investment our latest forklifts not only give our drivers a better working environment but our production staff; by being far quieter and emitting up to 98% less particulate matter than our previous diesel powdered forklifts.

Our move toward the Hyundai 20L – 7M LPG (liquid petroleum gas) means not only do we have more powerful and versatile machinery at our disposal but underpins our constant drive towards greener, more eco-friendly processes in the business.
As always we have our customers at the heart of all of our decisions as a company and our continual investment means customers, both current and future, will benefit from our new equipment.

Powdertech and Oxford Brookes Racing in 2016!

The team at Oxford Brookes Racing, one of the top Formula Student Teams in Europe, approached Powdertech Surface Science to help them protect key parts of their 2016 Formula Student Car. They not only wanted protection for their parts but a coating that would compliment the aesthetics of the car and survive once put through its paces.

Last years car used a standard spray paint finish due to time constraints and as a result started peeling off when subject to wear. Powdertech Surface Science were happy to supply our expertise and select the most appropriate coating for the task.

All structural parts were coated in an ultra matt automotive powder coating to give an outstanding performance specification and a premium aesthetic whilst safety critical components followed Formula Student regulation colours.The result of months of work and the help of other key suppliers is a stunning piece of performance engineering that is set to take on the best Europe has to offer! Aptly named “Betty”, the dark materials throughout with contrasting white decals make for a striking appearance.


The team, led by final year student Chris Shawe, will be racing the car against other European university teams across 3 locations Silverstone – UK, Hockenheim – Germany and Gyor – Hungary. To learn more about the team and to follow their upcoming races you can head over to their website or follow them on Twitter @oxbrookesracing

New Team Member – James Walmsley


We are very pleased to welcome James Walmsley to the team at Powdertech Surface Science in Bicester. James joins us as Junior Production Manager having successfully graduated with a first class degree in Business Management from The University of Gloucestershire.

Before joining the management team permanently, James will undergo  in depth training in every department of the business.

Taking James on board during our continued growth shows our commitment to supporting it. James’ position will translate directly into continued high quality and support for our current customer base and business partners of the future.

Powdertech – Going greener with LEDs

Here at Powdertech Surface Science we strive for continuous improvement and innovation in every aspect of our business. In keeping with our company ethos we have just invested in a complete overhaul of our factory lighting.

This upgrade sees us switch to a full LED lighting system.

Not only is this new technology far more eco-friendly (lowering Powdertech’s carbon footprint) the LED system also emits a much broader wavelength of visible light giving us a better working environment and an even higher degree of quality assurance and inspection – a core value at Powdertech and something our customers demand.

To learn more about the Powdertech facility please visit the Our Facility page here.


Valspar introduces the Anodite range

Valspar have released a new range of powder coating finishes under the Syntha Pulvin brand to mimic the look of anodizing. Here’s an overview from the Syntha Pulvin website.

Anodite is a new generation of architectural polyester powder coatings with a smooth, low-gloss, metallic appearance designed to simulate the colors of anodizing — but with the added advantages of hiding surface imperfections and defects in the metal.

Designed to Stand Up to the Elements

The collection meets the requirements of QUALICOAT class 1.5 and GSB standard, so it is highly resistant to the effects of weathering.

  • Superior resistance to UV rays, salt spray and humidity
  • Outstanding color consistency
  • Ability to form finished product without cracking or crazing
  • No VOCs

Designed to Stand Up to Use

  • Protection of structural integrity
  • Added resistance to marring, scratching and abrasion
  • Protects against damage during shipment and field exposure
  • Allows for field touch-ups and repairs

Designed to Make a Powerful Impression

  • High-intensity colors, including naturals, mica, and metallic
  • Color can be matched to the most common European anodizing color ranges
  • Wide stock range, small batch and custom-color capabilities
  • Able to achieve lower gloss levels than standard matte powders, with excellent flow
  • Anodite Technical Data Sheet

Designed for Exteriors and High-traffic Interiors

This new range of coatings is designed to enhance aluminum or galvanized steel substrates for both interior and exterior applications.

Superior toughness for exteriors: Ideal for residential, light commercial, industrial or institutional buildings, and for use in storefronts, entry systems, windows, hand rails, and photovoltaic solar panels.

Holds up to high-traffic interiors: Ideal choice for public buildings, such as airports, schools, hospitals, shopping malls, offices or wherever painted surfaces come into contact with people.