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Reach for the skies

For a number of years now, one of the main topics of conversation in aircraft painting has been the effect of European Union regulation on REACH

For a number of years now, one of the main topics of conversation in aircraft painting has been the effect of European Union regulation on Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of CHemicals (REACH), and how end-users will have to adapt in order to ensure the continuity of business after 19 January 2019, when chromates will be completely banned. Exceptions are substances for very specific applications for which manufacturers have applied for authorisation by the EU. Some paint manufacturers are now phasing out deliveries of chromate wash primers. This is likely to pose some problems for MROs.

Andreas Ossenkopf, Head of Aviation at Mankiewicz, says: ‘’Mankiewicz has always been a customer centric company, and, for us it is important to ensure that customers can continue with preferred working practices that they deem most suitable, and that is why we decided to authorise the continued use of chromates used in CELEROL WashPrimer 913-21 (sometimes referred to as Etch primers) after January 2019.

Of course, Mankiewicz also offers tried and tested fully chromate- free systems (approved for major OEM aircraft) too, and these are being adopted by a number of airlines and OEMs, but, at the end of the day for Mankiewicz, it is all about supporting our customers and giving them the choice to use the systems they prefer rather than trying to force them into areas they may not feel secure about. The continued supply of CELEROL WashPrimer will help customers with their sustainability plans, letting them decide when and if they move to other systems in their own time. We will not make that decision for them, but can offer help and guidance where needed.”

The CELEROL WashPrimer has very good compatibility with all current exterior coating systems on the market, and is very easy to use. Mankiewicz considers it very important not to leave its customers alone and to ensure clean transition processes. The times in the aviation industry to change specifications, drawings and processes are comparatively long and so are product development and qualification cycles. Even though
there was a transitional period, they clearly still see a need for these products. Nevertheless, Mankiewicz is constantly developing chromate-free products further.

Washprimers have a number of advantages for both the end-user (MRO) and the airline.



Advantages for the MRO include:


  • active corrosion protection (compared to passive systems that only work as barriers)
  • ease of application by spray gun, which creates ultrapure surfaces on its own with no further preparation needed
  • a track record of being part of robust paint systems
  • continued use which allows for contracts to be fulfilled going forward


  • reduced chromate content compared to chromated epoxy systems
  • compliancy with the EU solvent emission directive.



Meanwhile, advantages for the airline include:


  • no costly changes of aircraft engineering orders and drawings
  • peace of mind regarding the continuity of a robust system
  • approval for use on both Boeing and Airbus aircraft.

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