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Coating Firm Tops Europe’s Innovators

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

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A young nanocoatings company that began life as a UK military project has been named the Most Innovative Company in Europe for 2011.

P2i, a global developer of liquid repellent nanocoating technology, received the honor as part of the 2011 International Business Awards.

Nicknamed “the Stevie Awards” for the Greek word “crowned,” the awards honor performance in business globally.

‘Game-Changing Technology’

P2i (“Perform. Protect. Improve.”) was recognized for how its “technology challenges the way people think about everyday conventional liquid protection” and resulting speed of adoption, the company said.

 P2i

 P2i

P2i produces nanocoatings for military and institutional, life sciences, electronics, and filtration and energy applications.

For example, in two years, P2i’s Aridion liquid repellent nanocoating for electronics has been adopted by four of the six leading hearing aid manufacturers and applied to more than four million devices worldwide, the company says.

“We have a highly innovative, fast-growing and scalable business, which is based on proprietary and game-changing technology,” said chief executive Carl Francis. “Innovation is part of our corporate DNA, so we are extremely proud to receive this prestigious award.”

How It Works

P2i’s technology works by applying a nanometer-thin polymer layer over the entire surface of a product. Using an ionized gas (plasma), this layer is molecularly bound to the surface and will not leach away. The process confers superior oil and water repellency by reducing the surface energy to ultra-low levels—down to one third that of PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene), the company says.

In footwear and textile applications, P2i’s technology also minimizes liquid absorption from outside elements and evaporated perspiration.

Tests show that P2i’s patented nanocoating technology can deliver performance benefits for a wide range of materials, including polymers, metals, fabrics, leather, ceramics, glass and paper, according to P2i. Even filtration, bio-consumables, footwear and other complex 3D objects can be treated successfully with the P2i process, the company says.

Defense Spinoff

Originally developed as a project within the UK Ministry of Defense to protect military clothing against chemical warfare, P2i’s liquid-repellent nanocoating is now applied throughout five key sectors: Electronics, Lifestyles, Life Sciences, Filtration and Energy, Military and Institutional.

The company was spun off as a commercial venture in 2004.

P2i is now working with many of the world’s leading military and protective clothing manufacturers, as well as institutional organizations such as accident and emergency, mail delivery, police and fire services.

In consumer sectors, P2i’s brands include ion-mask (for footwear, outdoor clothing and accessories) and Aridion (electronics).

More Functional Nanocoatings Planned

“We are building on our cutting-edge technology in liquid repellency by moving into anti-microbial, anti-scratch, anti-stain and other functional nanocoatings as well,” Francis said.

The nanocoating technology “delivers high performance protection against oil and hazardous liquids for tactical clothing operating in the most challenging conditions,” P2i said in a statement. “By avoiding the need for bulky membranes, the technology preserves the natural airflow and drape of the material, whilst maintaining comfort and minimizing weight through lack of moisture absorption.

“The technology is also applied to whole garments, ensuring maximum levels of protection when compared to the treatment of individual components.”

Surface Innovation Acquisition

P2i recently acquired UK-based Surface Innovations Ltd (SIL). Founded in 2001 by Professor Jas Pal Badyal as a spinoff from Durham University, SIL brings 14 additional nanocoating patent families to P2i in areas such as antimicrobial, super wettable and protein resistance.

The acquisition will enable P2i to commercialize new functional nanocoatings beyond liquid repellency, the company said. P2i now owns 46 patents.

International Stevie Award winners were selected from more than 3,000 entries received from organizations and individuals in more than 40 nations. Winners were determined through two rounds of judging by 200 professionals worldwide. The awards will be presented Oct.11 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

   

Tagged categories: Awards and honors; Coatings technology; Nano and hybrid coatings

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