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Aalberts Surface Treatment Ltd - Kirkby

Aalberts Surface Treatment Ltd - Kirkby

Aalberts surface Treatment Ltd is a highly accredited treatment facility based near Nottingham in the UK. Our core competencies include chromic, sulphuric and hard anodising, as well as chromating, painting, PFD and IVD aluminium vacuum coating

Contact & Directions

Aalberts Surface Treatment Ltd.

Clover Street
NG17 7 LJ Kirkby-in-Ashfield
United Kingdom

Tel. +44 1623 753 107

Fax: +44 1623 754 538

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Mon. - Thurs.: 8:00 - 16:00 Uhr
Fri.: 8:30 - 16:00 Uhr

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Contact Partners

Jonathan Riches

business development and operations manager


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Steve Watson

customer service manager


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Cherry Hau

production planning supervisor


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Mark Hardy

production manager


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Paul Osborne

assistant production manager


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Gulay Litchfield

quality and compliance manager


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Welcome to Aalberts surface treatment

previously Acorn Surface Technology

fastening elements

We have been a part of the Aalberts group for over 15 years, but we have now changed our name to Aalberts Surface Treatment Ltd., with effect from 1st January 2019.

Our plant near Nottingham is, in reality, much larger than it seems. It boasts 9,000 sqm of land with 6,000 sqm of modern production area. Kirkby´s portfolio and quick response time makes it a valuable ‘diamond partner’. Kirkby Surface Technology Ltd has belonged to the AHC Group since early 2016, though, like AHC Oberflächentechnik GmbH, has been a member of the Aalberts Industries NV group of companies since 2001. Since its founding in 1974, Kirkby has provided the precision engineering industry with state-of-the-art hard-anodising, chromic acid anodising, and sulphuric acid anodising. In the subsequent years, Kirkby focussed its attention on the aviation and aerospace industries, supported by superb technical know-how of the anodising and painting processes required in this field.

We are a supplier of Specialist Surface Engineering process and our web site aspires to provide information on common themes, questions and technical issues our customers ask us about. We recognise that such information often becomes most useful when directly related to your own application or product so please do contact us, via the help line or directly to one of the team, and we will be happy to discuss and advise on any specific issues you may be interested in.

Our services

In 1998, Kirkby acquired the technology of ion-assisted aluminium coating, known as IVD (ion vapour deposition) coating. IVD aluminium is used primarily to protect against atmospheric corrosion, typically in temperature ranges of 0 to 300 °C. The coating can also serve to avoid bimetallic or galvanic corrosion.

Coating services

  • Hard Anodising
  • Chromic Anodising
  • Sulphuric Anodising
  • Aerospace Painting
  • Application of DFL, PTFE and IVD aluminium coating

Process services

  • Non-Destructive testing
  • Stripping of paint by plastic media blasting

Special services

Complex masking of anodised components – a core skill at the Nottingham facility is selective masking for combined treatments on critical components


Chrome and Cadmium Substitute

For chrome and cadmium substitutes, we use a Physical Vapour Deposition (PVD) process and produce a pure, extremely thin aluminium layer in a high-vacuum process. The chromium substitute is suitable for almost all plastics and metals. The cadmium substitute is intended for steel and titanium components. In addition, we offer chromium(VI)-free passivations as protective layers on metallic surfaces, which prevent or greatly retard corrosion of the base material. Base materials include a range of aluminium alloys. Such coatings are also referred to as chemically produced conversion coatings.

​IVD aluminium vacuum coating

IVD aluminium vacuum coating was originally developed by McDonnell Douglas as a replacement for cadmium treatment of steel and titanium components.

After coating with IVD aluminium, the parts have a dull grey appearance and must be handled with care. The next step is to close the pores in the outer surface of the coating by glass bead blasting. The parts may be used "as plated" or, more frequently, the pure aluminium surface is converted to an aluminium chromate layer by a chemical conversion coating.

Primarily, components made of steel alloys and titanium materials are coated.


IVD aluminium offers good corrosion protection even at high temperatures. The coating can serve to prevent bimetallic or galvanic corrosion. The corrosion resistance can be increased in all cases by a subsequent chemical conversion coating.

Another big advantage of IVD aluminium vacuum coating is that it can be painted with very little surface pretreatment. The surface is suitable for many paints, including commonly prescribed liquid-tight epoxy resin-based primers and dry film lubricants.


Coating with IVD aluminium is primarily used in the aerospace and defence industries.

One example is the coating of titanium fasteners to which aluminium components are attached.

The process is certified for NADCAP and for a number of large aerospace companies including Airbus, Boeing, Bombardier, Leonardo, Safran and United Technologies.

The components that are coated for these end users can vary in size and complexity to a surprising extent, from small fasteners to larger components such as airframe components, engine components, and composite assemblies.


SurTec® 650

Chromium-free (VI) passivation SurTec® 650 is used in immersion, spraying or brush application processes. The chemical process produces a faintly iridescent conversion layer. Chromium-free (VI) particles are incorporated into the coating for optimum corrosion protection.

The chrome-free (VI) passivation SurTec® 650 offers optimum corrosion protection, has low electrical contact resistance and is ideal for after-treatment of anodising layers and as a primer for paints, powder coatings and adhesives.

Hard anodizing

Hard anodizing is a particularly versatile coating with various process variants and post-treatment options. The layers are very wear-resistant and hard, showing increased corrosion resistance or improved anti-friction properties.
Due to its good wear resistance, a hard-coated aluminium material can replace expensive wear-resistant steel. The same applies to the replacement of expensive corrosion-resistant materials. Potential applications are where contact corrosion should be prevented, anti-friction properties improved, electrical or heat insulation increased.

Hard Anodizing


  • Aerospace



    • PFD, Anodising and Paint of Airframe components
    • Hard Anodising of pistons and housings
    • IVD aluminium coating of bushes for Aircraft Landing Gear
    More information
  • Defence Technology

    Defence Technology

      More information
    • Automotive Industry

      Automotive Industry

        More information

      Quality & Know-How


      To replace Cadmium for corrosion protection, our research shows that IVD Aluminium Vacuum coating is widely identified as the high quality alternative: measured through limited levels of added layer, duration of protection and lowest life cost.

      In terms of accelerated corrosion tests IVD Aluminium will meet or exceed the performance of Cadmium – 25 to 50ums of Aluminium (a Class 1 Type II coating) will pass the standard 672 hours Salt Spray test and typically exceeds 1000 hours. Thinner coatings, that can be specified for close tolerance or threaded parts, will easily exceed the specified 336 hours for comparative Cadmium coatings.

      Hard anodising produces a relatively dense, thick oxide layer. As a result, the film will tend to be darker in appearance although the final colour is largely dependent on the alloying constituents (elements) of the base material and, in its natural state, can be anything from light green/gold to dark grey/charcoal.

      The use of Hard anodising has become very important where weight saving (e.g. by the use of Aluminium instead of Steel) combined with good corrosion protection and wear resistance are required. Also unsealed anodic coatings can absorb and retain oil when used on sliding surfaces for cylinders and pistons etc, providing longer lasting lubrication.

      Hard Anodizing

      ​Areas of application

      IVD applciations include corrosion protecion of steels and titanium alloys Coating of titanium alloys for galvanic corrosion protection Selective masking for optimised functional properties Hard Anodising applications include:

      • Pistons
      • Cylinders
      • Hydraulic actuators
      • Braking systems
      • Marine and Offshore applications
      • Fuel systems
      • Aircraft components
      • Gears


      Do you have a question about materials or processes?
      Contact us. We are close-at-hand.

      Contact us