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Aalberts Surface Treatment Ltd - Kirkby

Aalberts Surface Treatment Ltd - Kirkby

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

Welcome to Aalberts Surface Treatment in Kirkby (previously Acorn Surface Technology)

fastening elements

Since we have already been a part of the Aalberts N.V. group since 2001, we have recently changed our name to Aalberts Surface Treatment Ltd.

Our surface treatment plant near Nottingham is much larger than it seems at first sight. It boasts 9,000 sqm of land with 6,000 sqm of modern production area. With our impressive portfolio and quick response times we are a valuable ‘diamond partner’ in surface technology. Since the founding of Acorn Surface Technology in 1974, the plant in Kirkby has provided the precision engineering industry with state-of-the-art hard-anodising, chromic acid anodising, and sulphuric acid anodising. Over the years, Kirkby we focussed its our attention more and more on the aviation and aerospace industries, supported by and gained superb technical know-how of the anodising and painting processes required in thiese fields.

We are a supplier of specialist surface engineering processes and our web site aspires to provide information on common themes, questions and technical issues our customers frequently ask us about. We recognise that such information becomes most useful when it is directly related to your own application or product so please do contact us, via the help line or directly to one of the teampersonally, and we will discuss your specific issues and help you with expert advice. Find out more about our outstanding coating services now.

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 from 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 by NADCAP and approved by 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 parts such as airframe components, engine components, and composite assemblies.


SurTec® 650

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

SurTec® 650 is ideal for the after-treatment of anodising layers and as a primer for paints, powder coatings and adhesives. Not only does this chromium(IV)-free passivation technique create optimum corrosion protection, it also results in low electrical contact resistance.

Hard Anodizing

Hard anodizing is a particularly versatile coating technique 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


      Our research shows that IVD aluminium vacuum coating is widely identified as the high-quality alternative to the use of cadmium for corrosion protection, because it combines limited levels of added layer and comparably low life costs with a satisfying duration of protection.

      In terms of accelerated corrosion tests IVD aluminium exceeds 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 exceed 1,000 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 anodizing produces a relatively dense, thick oxide layer. As a result, the film tends 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.

      Hard anodizing has become a very important technique where weight saving (e.g. by replacing aluminium with steel) combined with good corrosion protection and wear resistance are required. Furthermore, 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 applications include corrosion protection 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

      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

      Send an email



      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

      Tel. +44 1623 753 107

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      Steve Watson

      customer service manager

      Tel. +44 1623 753 107

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      Cherry Hau

      production planning supervisor

      Tel. +44 1623 753 107

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      Mark Hardy

      production manager

      Tel. +44 1623 753 107

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      Paul Osborne

      assistant production manager

      Tel. +44 1623 753 107

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      Gulay Litchfield

      quality and compliance manager

      Tel. +44 1623 753 107

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      Do you have a question about materials or processes?
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