thyssenkrupp Rasselstein GmbH reports that it welcomes the decision of the EU Commission to temporarily approve the use of chromium trioxide for the production of rasselstein® packaging steel. Upon publication in the EU Official Journal of 10/21/2020, the company’s products become subject to the following new review times for the use of chromium trioxide: approval for passivation of tinplate until 10/21/2027 and approval for special chromium-coated packaging steel (TFS/ECCS) until 12/31/2028. Chromium trioxide is not found on the surface of the finished product; it is only used during the production process of both products.

“We actively support the change to Chromium(VI)-free alternative products, and with the chromium-free passivation rasselstein® CFPA, we already have a product ready for series production in our portfolio,” says Dr. Peter Biele, CEO of the only German manufacturer of packaging steel. “But for risk management reasons, we secured the continued use of chromium trioxide until the substitution of the previous products by our newly developed Chromium(VI)-free alternatives has been completely achieved together with our partners in the delivery chain. This gives our customers the required time for implementing the Chromium(VI)-free products in the market.”

One of the 100 percent of Chromium(VI)-free alternative products already available at thyssenkrupp Rasselstein is rasselstein® CFPA—an innovative passivation for tinplate on the basis of titanium. The product does without the previously usual chromium trioxide and offers the same functionality as the chromium-based passivations which have been standard so far. CFPA was developed together by the European manufacturers of packaging steel organized in the APEAL association. The chromium-free passivation is compliant with EU and FDA regulations without limitation and approved for contact to foodstuffs. The draft of the Euronorm EN10202 therefore describes CFPA as the new European standard. “rasselstein® CFPA is ready for series production today, so we are currently changing all tinning lines to the new production standard little by little,” says Oliver Hoffmann, CTO at thyssenkrupp Rasselstein.

thyssenkrupp Rasselstein also has an alternative for Chromium(VI) for special chromium-coated materials currently in development. It is based on a new coating technology called Trivalent Chromium Coating Technology (TCCT) and uses Chromium(III) instead of the previously usual Chromium(VI) as resource in the processes. The final product has the same structure as today and complies with the requirements of the EU Regulation REACH. The technology is based on the patent of Tata Steel Ijmuiden B.V. for which thyssenkrupp Rasselstein GmbH purchased a license. “With our competence in producing special chromium-coated steel, we further developed TCCT. Curently, a new coating line is being built on the plant grounds, which will produce TCCT and is expected to become operational in 2022,” says Mr. Hoffmann looking ahead.

“With the decision of the EU Commission, we now have legal certainty. We will use the extended authorization to convince our customers to change to chromium-free alternative products in a timely manner, to perform storage tests—if not already done—and to qualify our products as quickly as possible. Customers of thyssenkrupp in Andernach can count with full support of the technical customer service which is there to advise you on all your questions,” Biele continues. “Even if the end of the authorization period seems for away for now: the deadline is approaching. We at Rasselstein are prepared and hope to reach, together with the value chain, the goal of further improving occupational safety, health and environmental protection in the EU, based in particular on the REACH regulation.”

Link to European Commission decision