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Coating Innovation Wins Recognition

Monday, November 30, 2015

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A corrosion- and abrasion-resistant coating secured one fledgling Norwegian coatings company the top spot in a competition recognizing the best entrepreneurs from across a range of technology disciplines.

Seram Coatings AS, a startup based in Trondheim, says it has developed the world’s first anti-corrosion and wear-resistant coating based on silicon carbide (SiC), one of the world’s hardest compounds.

This distinction helped it beat out three other competitors for the 2015 ACES Award for Academic Enterprise, awarded Nov. 20 at the 2015 Science|Business Annual Summit in Barcelona, Science|Business announced.

Thermal Spray SiC Technology

Having evolved out of research at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, the Seram Coatings group is just one year old. Its patent-pending product is the first to allow SiC to be applied as a coating by thermal spraying, according to the company website.

istock.com/noompk2528
© iStock.com / noomcpk2528

Seram Coatings AS, a startup based in Trondheim, Norway, was recognized for developing the world’s first anti-corrosion and wear-resistant coating based on silicon carbide (SiC).

SiC is said to be one of the world’s hardest synthetic materials—only diamond, cubic boron nitride and boron carbide are harder—and touts a lower density than alternatives such as tungsten carbide for use in applications where weight is a concern.

Because this material has no melting point, it was previously not possible to use it for coating, the company said in its pitch.

According to Seram, these properties lead to a longer service life and lower maintenance costs for applications. It also offers cost savings over vacuum deposition methods, the company adds, as it is designed for use in atmospheric thermal spray conditions rather than requiring “expensive and size-limiting vacuum chambers.”

Recommended for use in corrosive and abrasive environments, Seram says the SiC coating can withstand high doses of radiation and high temperatures up to 1500 degrees Celsius (2700 degrees Fahrenheit) in air and 2400 degrees Celsius in inert atmosphere (4352 degrees Fahrenheit).

It boasts a very high hardness, up to a measurement of 1700 HV, and high thermal conductivity superior to stainless steel, the company says.

istock.com/xenotar
© iStock.com / xenotar

Target industries for the thermal spray SiC coating include the aircraft, automotive and oil and gas industries, as well as for heat exchangers, gas turbines and paper mills.

Seram identifies applications where high-wear-resistant coatings are used, especially in sliding and abrasion applications where corrosion protection is required, such as sliding surfaces, rollers, machine parts for the petrochemical and chemical industry; gate valves; pumps, slides; ball valves; mechanical gears and seals.

Target industries include the aircraft, automotive and oil and gas industries, as well as for heat exchangers, gas turbines and paper mills.

Seram expects its spray coating would replace coatings made of chrome and tungsten carbide.

The company says it is continuing to test its product for different applications in a range of industries and is looking for additional industrial partners for collaboration in confirming product capabilities.

Recognizing Innovation

The ACES program was launched in 2008 by Science|Business, a media and communications company that manages a network of 42 universities, companies and public-sector organizations focused on research and innovation.

ACES recognizes “spinouts” from universities and public research institutes in Europe. Since its starts, more than 150 companies across the European Union have been singled out for excellence. Several have gone on to success in growing sales, adding investment or finding new corporate partners and buyers, Science|Business says.

ACES 2015, the seventh annual competition, was open to individuals who created a promising spinout after June 1, 2013, and based on ideas developed at European universities. Experts from university tech-transfer offices, companies and investment firms specializing in ICT, med-tech and engineering/materials selected finalists out of this year’s 20 entries.

After narrowing the field down to four finalists, judges looked at the progress made during the first two years of their existence, with a focus on:

  • Novelty: what makes the company unique;
  • Business development and market potential production, marketing and sales;
  • Fundraising strategy;
  • Expected impact on society; and
  • Looking forward—growth targets foreseen in five years.
istock.com/loonger
© iStock.com / loonger

Seram identifies applications where high-wear-resistant coatings are used, especially in sliding and abrasion applications where corrosion protection is required.

According to Jonathan Wareham, Dean of Faculty and Research at ESADE, Spain’s leading business school, the judges were unanimous in their selection of Seram Coatings as the 2015 winner.

Seram met all the key criteria of fast-track entrepreneurship, he said, coupled with a very high social impact. For instance, the technology could cut 35 percent off the weight of an airplane engine, for example, reducing the amount of fuel needed for flight.

Wareham presented the prize to Gisle Østereng, CEO and co-founder of Seram Coatings.

The Field of Finalists

Seram faced off against three other university startups from France and Sweden in the final round. All four shortlisted companies presented their plans at during the 2015 Science|Business annual summit conference of university, business and policy leaders at ESADE Business School in Barcelona.

The other contenders included businesses with university affiliations in France and Sweden.

CAILabs, from the Université Pierre et Marie Curie, France, proposed its technologies to design optical components that manipulate the shape of coherent light, allowing optical fibers to carry more data, thus boosting bandwidth for Internet networks. With its technology, CAILabs helped Japan’s KDDI, the country’s second biggest telecoms firm, break the world record for fiber capacity, the company said.

PEP-Therapy, from the Université Pierre et Marie Curie, France, presented its innovative peptide-based drug delivery system which utilizes protein fragments small enough to get through the cell wall and lock onto intracellular targets, blocking the effects of cancer-promoting enzymes. Preclinical results support the initial clinical development of DPT-PEP1 in triple-negative breast, lung and ovary cancers, uveal melanoma (orphan disease) and chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Two further products are in preclinical development.

Neosense Technologies, spun off from the KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden, submitted its sensor for monitoring blood oxygen levels and temperature in premature babies. The developers estimate a market of 50,000 patients across Europe and calculate that a reduction of minor and major disabilities by 10 percent would save health systems €4 billion (US$4.24 billion) a year.

   

Tagged categories: Abrasion resistance; Abrasion resistance; Asia Pacific; Awards and honors; Coating chemistry; Coating Materials; Coatings; Coatings Technology; Colleges and Universities; Corrosion protection; Corrosion resistance; EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa); Latin America; North America; Protective Coatings; Research and development

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