The main objective of the FreeMe project is the elimination of use of hexavalent chromium (Cr6+) and palladium (Pd) from the Plating on Plastics (PoP) process. For this purpose, the following specific objectives have been set:
- To implement a safe and sustainable by design (SSbD) strategy concerning the development of the new FreeMe technologies for PoP that will cover the whole lifecycle.
- To develop a metallization technology of plastic surfaces (i.e. ABS, PET, PLA, Nylon blends and 3D printed resins,) with a technology based on green REACH compliant sprayable UV-curable composite biobased resins.
- To develop Cr6+ free etching technologies for plastics (i.e. ABS, PET, PLA, Nylon blends and 3D printed resins) pre-treatment.
- To develop in-silico techniques (simulation and modelling) facilitating both the development and the synthesis and application of the sprayable composite resins and on the optimisation of plastic surface etching based on multi-scale models, ranging from atomic to mesoscopic scales.
- To develop fast and accurate inspection method based on spectroscopic imaging ellipsometry and optical coherence tomography for micro-scale monitoring (up to 3μm) for the quality control of the process.
- To demonstrate the FreeMe technologies in automotive, aerospace and home appliances demonstrators by applying metallic coatings on plastic components and validating them.
- To assess the recyclability of coated polymers based on the current state of the art technologies for recycling.
- To develop a data driven Decision Support Tool combining data from SSbD assessment, in-silico approaches, experimental/manufacturing results, LCA/LCC assessment and specification/requirement of test cases, for serving industrial end users on the selection, development and application of the most suitable PoP technology.
- To facilitate the acceptance of the new technologies by the market, defining the standardisation landscape and contribution to future standards development.
- To prepare business plans and define exploitation routes for the project partners and to enhance the results’ impact by undertaking targeted dissemination and exploitation activities, including training courses for the PoP industry.