Two years after launching lab tests for nickel-free production, Sàfilo has successfully implemented a 100 per cent nickel-free production process in their Longarone plant in Italy.
Through a five-million-euro investment in research and development of new technologies, of which one million was invested in galvanic surface treatments, Sàfilo developed nickel-free and non-cyanide galvanic processes, which are today verified and employed throughout all the production lines. The Longarone site primarily deals with metalworking and is the largest of the company’s four Italian plants.
Developing nickel-free decorative galvanic finishes was a top priority for Safilo to ensure the safety of workers and consumers alike. Nickel is a silvery-white metal traditionally employed in the galvanic treatment of eyewear for its sleek, gloss finish or used as a basecoat for other surface treatments. Although glasses come in direct contact with the skin only to a limited extent, they are among the accessories that may cause nickel allergies or allergic contact dermatitis, producing itchy skin rashes and eczema. It is estimated that nickel allergies affect 1 per cent of men and 10 per cent of women worldwide. Moreover, nickel salts used in galvanic baths are classified as carcinogens by inhalation and are, thus, subject to stringent preventive and protection measures during handling to protect workers from risks related to exposure to carcinogens.
This is one of Safilo’s latest achievements in a series of development projects carried out at the Longarone plant, pertaining to environmental impact, sustainability and safety. These projects include the recovery of precious metals and the reuse of industrial waters, consequently reducing water extraction and eliminating effluents. Sàfilo has been awarded quality, safety and social responsibility certifications, with the most recent being the ISO 50001 energy certification, awarded for efficient usage of energy, the use of environmentally low-impact materials, and the reduction of CO2 emissions.Back