Cutting edge nanotechnology brings new jobs and opportunities

A 16-month project is supporting a new process to produce high performance coatings for use in the automotive, aerospace and microchip industries.

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Innovative nanotechnology is being used in the automotive, aerospace and microchip industries Innovative nanotechnology is being used in the automotive, aerospace and microchip industries

A company based in Riga has developed an innovative nano-coating process that is being used to meet a range of industrial needs. The patented process offers greater speed, flexibility and cost-effectiveness in adding special coatings to precision products used in a variety of advanced technology industries, many of which require high performance coatings to add specific physical properties such as protection, durability, chemical resistance, and performance.

The advanced coating technology is based on high-speed ion-plasma magnetron sputtering (HIPMS) which is undertaken in a vacuum chamber. This patented nano-coating process is capable of creating sophisticated multilayered and multi-component coatings – according to requirements - which can be as thin as 0.01-150 microns and can greatly increase the usable life of the coated parts and improve functionality.

Energy-efficient and flexible

The new technology means that coating products can be manufactured 10 times faster than with existing techniques. The equipment is extremely energy-efficient and replaces the traditional environmentally-damaging chemical coating methods.

The new process also offers high levels of flexibility for customisation. The same coating machine can provide a wide variety of technical solutions for different industries. Over the past three years, 140 different components and assemblies have been coated with the technology and tested according to ISO test standards.

Looking to the future

The company, Naco Technologies, was established thanks to financial support from Latvia’s first start-up investor Imprimatur Capital, a fund created under the EU’s JEREMIE initiative, which encourages the development of innovative, high-growth start-ups. The support provided through the European Regional Development Fund, together with other national funds, has enabled the small business to open a nano-coating production centre in 2012 where the technology is being exploited.

Naco Technologies currently has a team of eight people, including four PhD researchers in material science. Its aim is to at least double production capacity in 2013 and to continue to recruit material science graduates. The company’s long-term goal is to develop a nanotechnology engineering centre of excellence in Latvia and to become a successful high-growth international business in the field of manufacturing with links to the automotive and aerospace industries across the world. 

 “Our technology is the leading method among nano-coating techniques due to its high productivity, quality, and versatility. Thanks to the support provided by the EU-backed investment facility, we have developed the core elements needed to achieve our goal, in particular a leading-edge technology, talented scientists, and an internationally focused team.”

- Alexander Parfinovics, CEO and co-founder of Naco Technologies

Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for the project "Implementation of nano coating technology in production" was EUR 590 678, with the EU's European Regional Development Fund contributing EUR 148 791. The project is funded through the priority “Access to Finances” of the Operational Programme "Entrepreneurship and Innovation" for the 2007-2013 programming period.

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