AkzoNobel Taps Into Start Ups For Paint Innovation

The paint company’s Paint the Future competition held in Amsterdam on May 16 selected five start-ups from 160 entries.

AMSTERDAM--Paint giant AkzoNobel, which supplies coatings to the likes of Airbus and Boeing as well as MROs offering painting services, has announced the winners of its Paint the Future competition that aims to accelerate innovation and grow collaboration in the segment.

The Paint the Future initiative was launched in partnership with professional services company KPMG. This year, the awards garnered 160 entries spanning North America, Europe, Latin America, Africa, Asia-Pacific and China. Twenty-one of those start-ups were invited to Amsterdam to work on their solutions before making their final pitch to the jury.

Two of the winners are U.S.-based companies, with both taking the prize of a joint development agreement with AkzoNobel. This arrangement will see both companies jointly collaborating with AkzoNobel to improve and sell its solutions.

The first, Newark, New Jersey-headquartered SAS Nanotechnologies, won for its submission of self-healing microcapsules that serve as an anti-corrosive pigment on the material surfaces. Second is Apellix, based in Jacksonville, Florida, which has developed a semi-autonomous spray painting drone that cleans and coats surfaces.

Dutch company QLayers and UK-based start-up Interface Polymers also picked up Paint the Future awards. QLayers’s solution is an automated printing head for coating large surfaces while Interface Polymers developed di-block polymers aimed at tuning surface functionality.

Another winner, Alucha Recycling Technologies of the Netherlands, is the recipient of a sourcing agreement where its solution will be ready to buy. The company has found a way to turn waste into bio oils and minerals.

“Together with these startups, we're going to drive innovation in paints and coatings beyond expectation, imagination and generations. With the power of an entire ecosystem behind us, big things are on the horizon,” says Klaas Kruithof, AkzoNobel's chief technology officer and chairman of the Paint the Future jury.

The painting and coatings company estimates that 20% of its production output at its facility in Sassenheim, located around 40km from Amsterdam, is for the aerospace industry.  

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