The Engineering Center for Advanced Surface Treatment and Coatings (CITRA) is an association type law 1901.

Its technical skills include:

  • Wet surface treatments and coatings, thermal spraying and vacuum deposition
  • The characterization of the layers obtained 

The CITRA office is made up of half university members and half industry members.


CITRA’s role

In order to optimize the transfer of technology to industry, CITRA has different ways of development and characterization. Its work in collaboration with the University of Limoges and the laboratory IRCER, this allows CITRA to be attentive to the latest research.


CITRA in a few dates

  • 1998: Creation of CITRA in association with ENSIL, DRIRE Limousin and GIAT Industries
  • 2001: Commissioning of the pilot chain of wet treatment at the Tulle site (GIAT industries)
  • 2002: Implementation of a PVD / PECVD demonstrator on the Limoges site (ENSIL)
  • 2004: Installation of atmospheric plasma thermal projection equipment (APS) and a 6-axis robot on the ENSIL site
  • 2005: Consolidation of all ressources and equipment of CITRA in the premises of ENSIL (University of Limoges)
  • 2006: 1st improvement of the PVD / PECVD system: acquisition of a PEMS
  • 2006: 1st improvement of the thermal spraying system: purchase of a rotary table
  • 2006: Purchase of Glow Discharge Spectroscopy Characterization Equipment (GDOES or SDL)
  • 2008: First obtainment of the CRT (Technological Resources Center) label
  • 2010: Acquisition of a projection equipment by HVOF
  • 2011: First ISO 9001: 2008 certification
  • 2011: Acquisition of a Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM-FEG)
  • 2012: 1st improvement of the MEB: purchase of an ionic polisher
  • 2013: 2nd improvement of the SEM: polarization system SEEF
  • 2014: Installation of a 2nd thermal spray booth dedicated to the HVOF equipped with a 6-axis robot
  • 2015: Refurbishment of PVD / PECVD equipment
  • 2016: Installation of CITRA in its new dedicated premises
  • 2016: Refurbishment of the SDL system
  • 2017: Acquisition of a new complete thermal projection equipment: the Cold-Spray

CITRA’s location and materials ressources

Its head office is located on the site of the ESTER Technopole, in the premises of the National School of Engineers of Limoges (ENSIL). Transfer Center of Technology to promote Surface Treatments in all their ways, from the point of view of development, characterization or training (continuous or professional), CITRA has industrial drivers corresponding to several Deposit technologies, namely:

  • Robotic thermal spray systems (HVOF, APS, Cold-Spray, Arc-wire);
  • A vacuum deposition machine of the PVD / PECVD type;
  • A pilot chain of electrolytic surface treatments.

These equipments are installed in the Materials sector of ENSIL-ENSCI, with which CITRA actively collaborates. By its affiliation with ENSIL-ENSCI and the university, as well as the IRCER laboratory, CITRA can also have access to various existing means of characterization (X-ray diffraction, nano indentation for example).


CITRA’s scope

The production constraints of a company do not make possible to monopolize the work tool for tests or improvements of ranges. The action of CITRA pilots is to set up technical evolutions so as to reproduce as faithfully as possible the effect obtained when the company makes the change internally. This is the goal of the technology transfer: to provide solutions for the evolution of a process, minimizing the integration time on an industrial scale, by responding as soon as possible to the final sizing constraints. CITRA is thus a pole of technological resources in the field of coating and surface treatment, offering specialized services to businesses based on the know-how and resources of the University and Industry. It thus enables companies to come together around a common project to pool their resources and develop complementarities in fields as varied as innovation, professional training, and access to financing and economic intelligence.