DIT R&D centre collaborates with tile manufacture to develop new coating


Robert Hickson, CEO of VitrA Ireland/UK and Dr. John Colreavy, Director of CREST at DIT.

The Centre for Research in Engineering Surface Technology at DIT (CREST) aims to be the model for developing new technology in the field of surface coatings in Ireland.  Since 2008, CREST has been collaborating with VitrA Ireland, a manufacturer of tiles, to develop a novel photocatalytic coating for ceramic tiles. Dr. John Colreavy, Director of CREST, and Mr. Robert Hickson, CEO of VitrA Ireland/UK were first introduced to one another by Enterprise Ireland, and an innovation partnership developed.  The result has been the development of a nano-coating that effectively destroys bacteria simply by relying on a light source and the moisture in the air.  Suresh Pillai was the researcher with CREST who made the discovery.  While working on a solution to a separate challenge for another Irish company, Suresh realised that the reverse solution could be applied to address VitrA’s requirements.  This week commercial trials are taking place at the main VitrA manufacturing plant in Turkey.  The project is funded under Enterprise Ireland’s Innovation Partnership Scheme.  The technology has also led to Crest’s first spinout company RADICAL, which will manufacture and supply the technology to VitrA and other companies interested in the application in different fields. 

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