April 12, 2005 — Ecology Coatings of Akron, Ohio, announced a licensing deal Monday with DuPont Performance Coatings allowing DuPont to manufacture and sell Ecology Coating’s products for use in North American automotive applications. Ecology Coatings also announced the formal launch of its licensing program.
Terms of the DuPont agreement were not disclosed, but Rich Stromback, Ecology Coating’s chief executive officer, said DuPont licensed the technology to use in automotive applications where coatings must adhere to both metal and plastic while simultaneously withstanding abrasion and corrosion.
“The coatings industry has been overlooked,” he said. “Incorporating (nanomaterials) is tougher than people thought.”
Ecology’s technology combines the company’s core ultraviolet-curable coating technology — what it calls “liquid 100 percent solids” — with nanoparticles that act as a sort of smart filler, lowering the coating’s viscosity, adding to its durability and increasing its transparency.
Stromback said that his company’s technology is intended to compete with conventional coatings technology that can require heating a part in order to cure the coating. Ecology’s ultraviolet curing, he says, also makes it appropriate for medical, electronics and display applications.
The company’s business model is to focus on the technology and partner with leading firms to address individual markets. In addition to the DuPont agreement, Stromback says Ecology Coatings also has a licensee that uses its technology in surgical medical devices. He said the terms of the agreement prohibit him from naming the licensee.
Sally Judith Weine Ramsey, Ecology’s chief chemist, said flexibility would also become an issue for protective coatings as the market for organic light emitting diode (OLED) and other next-generation display technologies matures. “We’ve seen the coating being the bottleneck,” she said of the sector. Stromback said Ecology is in discussions with the holders of the key OLED intellectual property and leading manufacturers of OLED devices.
– David Forman