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A Danish company has developed a breakthrough nanometer-thin adhesion technology enabling easy bonding of metal, glass and other materials to plastics. The nanocoating is invisible, extremely strong and can endure harsh conditions, while chemically safe, environmentally friendly and designed for easy disassembly of components. They are looking to license the technology to production companies in various industries which are developing new products, launching new business strategies etc.
The Danish company was established in 2015 following a spin-out from Aarhus University, with the aim of commercialising a patented technology that completely changes the concept of adhesion between metals, glass, ceramics etc. and plastics. The solution is based on the knowledge of surface chemistry, materials science, chemical engineering that the team has accumulated over many years. The technology is currently deployed by companies in energy, design, high performance materials and medical industries in Sweden, Germany, Belgium, Japan and the US.
Currently, dissimilar materials like metals and plastics are joined by glues and screws. However, for a wide number of material combinations and product designs, these methods cannot deliver the appropriate performance, either due to inherent material properties or limitations in the thermal and mechanical stability of the bonding interface, especially over time.
The technology offered by the Danish company applies an adhesive nanocoating, based on polymer brushes, on solid materials, like metals, that allows for ultra-tight direct bonding to plastics. The joining process can be incorporated in most types of traditional industrial techniques, like injection moulding and solvent or ultrasonic welding. All this provides a highly efficient and versatile assembly process without the requirement of traditional primers or glues. The bonding process is reversible, allowing for designs for easy disassembly and recycling of the components.
Besides adhesion to plastics, their nanocoating also functions as a surface primer for glues and coatings, providing improvements for critical adhesion performances, such as strength, stability, lifetime and coatability.
They also offer functional nanocoatings that offer unparalleled control over surface properties and functionality. Applications of these include super-hydrophobicity/hydrophilicity, anti-fouling, low-friction materials, anti-corrosion, bioelectronics, sensors, and hybrid materials.
The following industries, are among those that can benefit from the technology:
1. Medical - offering a safe way to bond, no adhesive layer seeping out, no interface for bacteria to grow, cleaning processes are easier.
2. Electronics - offering tight bonding, to seal elements to protect them from water.
3. Design – enabling the attachment of acrylics to metal and other hard surfaces, which usually is not easy, and can now replace bolts and screws.
4. Offshore, marine industry – anti-fouling coating against marine organisms etc., the adhesion is robust enough to withstand conditions in harsh environments, watertight against biofilm etc.
5. Food and beverage – safe adhesion, no risk of leaking over time, no contamination.
6. Automotive and aerospace – possible to create safe and durable hybrid components of plastics and metals. Substituting some metal parts with plastics lowers the weight of e.g. automobiles, resulting in reduced fuel consumption, making vehicles and aeroplanes more environmentally friendly.
The intended users are companies from any of the aforementioned or other sectors, who are running development projects, working on new products, solutions and strategies, which can be executed via non-traditional methods. The partnership will be in the form of a project collaboration followed by a licensing agreement for adaptation and use of the adhesive.
Some of the advantages over traditional adhesives are:
- Ultra-tight and nanometer-thin interface - incl. air and watertight, making it ideal for applications that are subjected to rough environmental conditions.
- Invisible bonding interface.
- Chemically safe and environmentally friendly - allowing for easy disassembly of the products/product components for reuse or recycling.
- Increased strength and durability - unaffected by the roughness of the surface.
- Increased coatability and stability - the coating works even on very smooth surfaces and is not dependent on surface roughness.
- Can be used with conventional welding methods (heat, solvent etc.) as well as plastics over-moulding.
- Surfaces pre-coated with the primer can be stored separately for many months, making it possible to separate the priming and assembly process.
The intended users are production companies running development projects, working on new products, solutions and other long-term projects to be launched on the market, which can be executed via non-traditional methods and via a non-traditional production line. This can cover numerous marekts, from energy and automotive to medical and food manufacturing.
The customer itself will be the one making the coating after the initial process of the formula being developed and tested by the Danish company, in order to make sure it suits the materials the customer uses and helps overcome the challenges the customers experience.
As there are numerous market keywords, choosing all possible ones would make the profile very long, so just one has been chosen.