This proposal is related to the industrial application of novel functional materials to medium size – complex shape parts, the study of the best technique for each combination coating/substrate and the optimization of the process.
A big challenge when working with novel and functional materials is its industrialization, to transfer it from the laboratory to a mass production line. Companies find difficulties, not only related to the scale, but also with the optimization of resources and processes. Besides that, big companies usually lack interest in trying a new product or formulation, when an optimization process for each line requirements is needed.
It is important to remark that it is common to have chemical companies which have developed a novel material but that does not have the means to develop a coating system, and it is also frequent to have engineering companies with a lack of knowledge of the needs of this kind of processes from the chemical point of view.
This project will deal with the implementation of an automated system to provide coatings in a continuous way, and with the necessary equipment to provide a quality measurement of the coating in terms of thicknesses and functionality.
The objective of this project is the development of a controlled application system for advanced sol-gel materials nanocomposites as a first step to introduce this kind of technologies in the industry, because there is still a need of building bridges between the chemical industry and the mass production companies. For this goal, it will be necessary to study, in terms of cost per square meter and in terms of production speed, what are the best application method and parameters thereof for providing high quality and uniform coating on 3D parts. The specific objective has been defined as the improvement of the durability (abrasion and corrosion resistance) on metallic surfaces in such a way that both the quantity of material used and, in general, all the parameters of the process are controlled and optimized, due to the high cost of this kind of materials.
For that purpose, it will be necessary to study the best technique for applying each formulation to the specific part with the addition or modification of accessories for pre-treatments or post-treatments, obtaining a perfect covering of the piece. The second objective is related to the development of low temperature drying coating formulations offering with similar performances in terms of mechanical and chemical resistant as with thermally curable available products. We will focus on small and complex pieces and, to achieve these two objectives, it will be necessary to adapt both the equipment and the formulation. The third specific objective is to obtain different formulations with different functionalities that are compatible with each other, and to generate an optimized fabrication process to develop a multilayer coating for specific purposes, depending on the piece that is being treated. The fourth specific objective is based on the control of all relevant parameters and the automation of the process, obtaining an equipment that can be added to an in-line production system.