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AkzoNobel Invests in Coatings Application Technology

Monday, April 5, 2021

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In a media release last week, global coatings manufacturer AkzoNobel (Amsterdam) announced that it has acquired a stake in a new industrial coatings application technology.

The fully automated solution has been developed by Qlayers, a high-tech start-up based out of The Netherlands. According to the company, the technology is safer, more consistent and faster than the manual coating process currently practiced in the industry.

AkzoNobel’s investment has been jointly made with ECFG’s Eindhoven Venture Capital Fund II (EVCF II), an investment fund primarily focused on innovative small and medium enterprises with distinctive product/market combinations.

“This collaboration with Qlayers is not only a strategic investment for AkzoNobel and our co-investor ECFG, it’s a win-win-win for us all,” said Menno van der Zalm, Global Director Innovation at AkzoNobel. “It fits our vision to make the paints and coatings value chain more sustainable and efficient with innovative products and solutions for our customers. ECFG is adding another promising enterprise to their portfolio. And Qlayers is now ready to scale up and accelerate their growth. Working together, we’re going to make progress and be successful.”


In a media release last week, global coatings manufacturer AkzoNobel (Amsterdam) announced that it has acquired a stake in a new industrial coatings application technology.

Qlayers adds that the technology is a sustainable solution that also promotes cost savings.

“We’re thrilled that AkzoNobel and ECFG have decided to make this investment in our company,” said Josefien Groot, Co-founder and CEO of Qlayers. “Our solution is a unique technology in the market. This investment brings us closer to our dream of a future in which paints and coatings are applied in a more efficient and sustainable way.”

Qlayers is part of AkzoNobel’s Paint the Future collaborative innovation ecosystem and has been working with the company ever since earning a coveted partnership agreement in its 2019 global startup challenge. Qlayers’ technology has already been used by customers to successfully apply anti-corrosive coating systems on storage tanks, where the benefit of automated application has enhanced worker safety and delivered increased sustainability and process efficiency results.

“I’m pleased that we can invest in Qlayers with AkzoNobel,” said Hans Bloemen, Managing Director at ECFG. “We’re bundling our strengths to help Qlayers reach the next level in their sales and business development. It’s not only about money, but also about knowledge and experience. This is how we realize added value, together.”

Paint the Future

Last month, AkzoNobel announced that it had officially kicked off its Paint the Future startup challenge in China. The annual event invited startups to “put forward their pioneering solutions to accelerate innovation in the paints and coatings industry.”

The challenge focuses on three areas, including:

  • Digital Customer Experience - Looking for new technologies and digital solutions that can help AkzoNobel improve the way customers experience its products and services and ensure more consistent results with less time and effort during the entire paint process. This includes picking the right paint and application methods, connecting with the right painting professionals and successfully completing the paint job.
  • Zero Waste - Seeking sustainable and cost-effective solutions that are not only about the recycling of paints and coatings, but also about the consciousness to minimize waste and maximize the potential of materials across the whole value chain, minimizing the impact to our planet.
  • Smart Supply Chain - Interested in end-to-end supply chain solutions, spanning customer/consumers, delivery, planning, manufacturing and suppliers, that can help us accelerate the building of a strategic, integrated, customer-driven and smart supply chain to better service our customers in China and achieve operational excellence.

The deadline for submissions is May 15 and selected finalists will participate in an accelerator event in August.

In July 2020, AkzoNobel announced that agreed to partnerships with five companies that were a part of the inaugural Paint the Future, which was held in 2019.

Details on those collaborations included:

  • Lonza Microbial Solutions – a real-time microbial detection method. This new technology can obtain data that will help assess the quality of raw materials and respond to any deviations in production lines.
  • IGM Resins – instant-drying hybrid decorative paints. This partnership is focused on developing paint for professionals that dries significantly faster. Typical applications will include doors and window frames.
  • ICL Group – safe and stable paint formulations. This is a response to an increase in concerns and - regulatory pressure around allergens and toxic materials.
  • Smart Materials – self-healing coatings. Developing coatings that recover from scratches at room temperature, which will help to protect the surface and retain the coating’s glossy appearance.
  • Wagner Painting – zero overspray application equipment. Developing an intelligent and adaptable industrial spray equipment concept, known as “SpraySavvy,” which aims for zero overspray and less waste.

In March of that same year, the company released an update on its partnership with the winner, Apellix, a Jacksonville, Florida, startup.

The duo is reportedly collaborating on a computer-controlled spray-painting drone, which uses “unique software flight control” that the companies say can more accurately apply coatings and capture painting data.

Apellix’s custom-built drone is tethered to the ground for its power and coating supply, however, its flies autonomously, according to AkzoNobel. The drone uses “unique software flight control,” which the companies say can more accurately apply coatings and capture painting data. The application aims for benefits such as reduced application time and less waste, as well as increases safety.


Tagged categories: AkzoNobel; Asia Pacific; Business matters; Business operations; Coating Application; EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa); Latin America; North America; Paint application; Paint application equipment; Z-Continents

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