More than one year has passed since the REACH Committee of the EU Commission recommended an authorization period of seven years for functional hard plating, enabling the use of CrO3 till September 2024. Due to the intervention of the European Parliament and a General Court ruling, the Commission was forced to reevaluate their decision. Consequently, the amendments to the authorization decision require a re-voting of the REACH Committee on the decision draft. We are confident that the Commission will continue to support an authorization period of seven years.

In the meantime, an increasing number of companies are applying for their own CrO3 authorizations to be independent of the doubtful continuation of CTACSub. With support from ERA, K.Walter launched a CrO3 authorization application initiative called ChromeXtend to cover the European rotogravure and embossing industry for the time beyond 2024. This authorization application is submitted as a supply chain application, similar to CTACSub. Previously, supply chain applications have been critically reviewed by the European Chemicals Agency due to their broad scope and lack of detailed data on individual plating sites. This will not apply for ChromeXtend, since the galvanic processes and equipment at the different plating sites are almost identical and can therefore be well described. Still, to obtain a long authorization period for CrO3, the European rotogravure and embossing industry needs to be described as detailed as possible. An ongoing survey currently collects various data from the form manufacturers. These data will help to assess the socio-economic consequences of a hypothetical non-use scenario and present them to European legislators. In addition, the data will prove that the safety standards in gravure chromium plating meet the highest possible requirements.

We hope that legislators will this time acknowledge that a transparent decision-making process and long-term approval are mandatory to ensure economic security until new chrome alternatives are ready for the market.

Dr Julian Rotter
Manager Functional Plating & Regulatory Affairs Kaspar Walter