Irish company C&F Automotive needed to find a durable surface coating that could be applied to external aluminium car trim parts. The surface coating needed to meet with car manufacturer specifications, to withstand corrosion and to be anti-scratch resistant.

Centre for Research in Engineering Surface Technology (CREST) developed an innovative sol-gel surface coating technology, called Dualion, and worked with C&F Automotive to reformulate and enhance the technology to meet car manufacturer needs.

C&F Automotive were referred to DIT Hothouse by an existing client, Graph Engineering. This led to trials of Dualion for C&F Automotive’s aluminium car trims for Volvo and Daimler. CREST and C&F Automotive employees then reformulated the Dualion technology, within the scope of the existing patent to meet the needs of C&F Automotive’s client Volkswagen. To bring the new technology to market, C&F Automotive needed to scale up to full size car parts, which required new equipment and large volumes. T. E. Laboratories, an Irish environmental laboratory and chemical manufacturer based in Carlow had the capabilities to be a bulk supply chain partner to scale up the new technology. They now handle the production of Dualion for C&F Automotive and have developed a new production line that is bringing them additional clients and business. The Westmeath plant has secured contracts with Volvo for their newly launched 2017 models, and Daimler has also accepted the enhanced Dualion surface coating technology.

DIT Hothouse was the facilitator between C&F Automotive and CREST and directed and encouraged both parties to embark on an Enterprise Ireland Innovation Partnership Project. DIT Hothouse patented and licensed Dualion to C&F Automotive and manages the collaboration on an ongoing basis.

“This technology will keep 50 jobs in Ireland and will generate sales of €10 – €20 million annually at full production.”
Mike Young, Business Development Manager, C&F Automotive

“The collaboration with C&F Automotive allowed CREST to develop a technology platform for Aluminium treatment for use in other industries such as, aerospace, medical device and electronics sectors, as well as automotive, and has been worth around €500,000 in industry and State funding directly to DIT to build up its research community”
Brendan Duffy, Centre Manager, DIT CREST