Approval for Contact with Foodstuffs


ECS’s principle process for plating customer parts is high phosphorus electroless nickel. The coating produced is safe and can be used in intimate contact with foodstuffs as stated in the literature below.

USA FDA Approval of Elnic 101 High Phosphorus Electroless Nickel

Electroless Coating Systems Ltd has, up until now, been operating the Elnic 101 electroless nickel(EN) process as supplied by MacDermid NZ Ltd to produce high phosphorus EN coatings.

In 1992, samples plated with the coating were submitted by MacDermid Inc, USA, to the Food and Drug Administration for approval. Generally, individual platers are required to submit plated parts to the FDA for approval. But, in an unusual occurrence, the FDA granted blanket approval for parts coated with Elnic 101 deposits for use in food handling equipment. This means the coating is permitted to be in intimate contact with foodstuffs. This is the only EN process to have gained blanket FDA approval and confirmation of this is listed in the MacDermid Inc website

ECS has quite correctly been supplying the Elnic 101 coating and selling it as FDA approved for plated parts used in the New Zealand food industry. However, we regret that ECS has discontinued using the Elnic 101 process and is now unable to offer this particular EN coating. The main reason for discontinuing Elnic 101 was an ongoing quality issue relating to deposits plated from newly prepared Elnic 101 solutions. Deposits were pitted and failed the RCA Nitric Acid Test(details of the test can be supplied on request). With carbon filtration and “dummy plating” onto scrap steel, the solutions were again able to produce quality, pit-free, high phosphorus EN deposits that easily passed the RCA Nitric Acid Test.

For a number of months, the Elnic 101 process has been used only for plating parts for the food industry and where customers specify that Elnic 101 must be used. The bulk of production has been and is processed through a high phosphorus EN process independently developed by ECS. This process obviously does not have USA FDA approval. However, the ECS process known simply as “HPEN”, produces high quality coatings from a brand new solution – pit-free deposits which easily pass the RCA Nitric Acid Test.

Third generation EN solutions such as Elnic 101 contain lead in the plating solution. Lead is present in concentrations of below 0.5 ppm and acts as a stabilizer, preventing decomposition of the plating solution. A negligible amount codeposits with the nickel-phosphorus alloy. The ECS HPEN process has been formulated to contain less lead in solution than Elnic 101. Physical and mechanical properties of ECS HPEN and Elnic 101 coatings will be equivalent and are typical of quality high phosphorus EN deposits.

Based on the above, I have no hesitation in recommending the ECS HPEN process as an alternative to Elnic 101 for use in the New Zealand food industry.

January 25, 2008