Coating Technology Recognized as One of the Most Innovative Micro/Nano Technologies of 2006


Fayetteville, Arkansas – NanoMech, LLC has received an award from R&D Magazine for producing one of the 25 most innovative and ground-breaking technologies of 2006. NanoMech won the award for its nanostructured cubic boron nitride coatings for cutting tools and other wear applications. R&D Magazine and its affiliated Micro/Nano Newsletter conducted an inaugural MICRO/NANO 25 Competition to select the best micro- and nanotechnologies of 2006. According to the newsletter’s editors, the products, processes and innovations they selected are “groundbreaking technologies that are likely to have the largest impact on their specific industries and society.” Criteria used for selecting the winners included the uniqueness of the technology, the potential value and performance that the technology exemplifies, and the creation of new intellectual property as compared to existing technologies.

The award provides additional national and international recognition for NanoMech and its nanostructured coating technology, following closely on the heels of the 2005 Excellence in Technology Award that NanoMech received earlier this year from Frost & Sullivan, a global consulting company known for its high-quality research on market trends and new technologies. NanoMech has developed nanostructured cubic boron nitride (cBN) coatings based on a patented electrostatic spray coating process originally developed at the University of Arkansas. NanoMech has exclusive license to this technology, and has demonstrated the feasibility and performance of the TuffTek cBN coatings for cutting tools through research and development projects funded by the NSF Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. In announcing the award, Micro/Nano Newsletter noted that the application of cBN nanoparticles “has been shown to dramatically improve the cost and effectiveness of the surface coatings of carbide cutting tools.” This innovation promises to enhance the machining productivity for manufacturers who are continually looking for ways to produce more at lower cost.

NanoMech’s patented NanoSpray coating process involves physical spray of pre-synthesized materials, such as nanoparticles, under the influence of an electric field. Nanoparticles are the smallest scale materials currently available to scientists for industrial and biomedical applications. They range in size from about 1/1,000th to 1/10,000th the width of a human hair. In the NanoSpray process, the electric field allows deposition of the nanoparticles on the surface to form a uniform coating of desired thickness on simple or complex, three dimensional geometries. “We are very proud of this award, which recognizes the superior research and development that is ongoing at the University of Arkansas and the significant value provided by NanoMech’s commercialization of this unique technology” says Ajay P. Malshe, co-founder and Chief Technology Officer of NanoMech. In addition to cutting tools and other wear applications, the company is pursuing other important spin-off applications of the technology, including lubricating, anti-corrosion, biocidal and biocompatible coatings, as well as thin films for use in microelectronics applications.

R&D Magazine noted that there has been a flurry of activity in micro/nanotechnology, resulting in “a slew of products, processes, and potential device structures, all carrying the promise of improving upon current technologies.” The MICRO/NANO 25 Competition aimed to determine which of these represent true breakthroughs. The exclusive award recognizes “the best of the best in micro/nanotechnology innovations produced in 2006.”