Microsphere Technology, the Edinburgh-based technology company, has signed an intellectual property licence deal worth in excess of $1m with Trelleborg Engineered Systems, part of Sweden’s Trelleborg Group AB. Microsphere Technology, which specialises in the coating of hollow glass microspheres, secured the deal with the global industrial group that will ensure the companies collaborate on the development of new paint additives for the global civil aerospace market. The technology firm, based at the Pentlands Science Park outside Edinburgh, has been developing microsphere-related technology for use in a series of applications. In this case, the technology is aimed at weight reduction of aircraft paints with the subsequent advantage of significant savings in fuel consumption and carbon foot-printing.
Tom Johnston, Microsphere Technology’s Operations Director, said that the deal signed with the help of Glasgow based IP specialists Metis Partners, provided yet another opportunity to push the company’s innovative research towards full commercialisation: “Signing a license deal with a company of the reputation and standing of Trelleborg is an invaluable validation of MTL’s low density pigment technology. The environmental and economic requirement for weight-reducing technologies in the aerospace industry is clearly understood and Trelleborg have seen the value of MTL’s new material in addressing these requirements. We look forward to working closely with Trelleborg to move the technology towards the market as rapidly as possible.”
“MTL is currently pursuing other exciting opportunities in the areas of water treatment, cosmetics and fluid dynamics. Our coated microspheres offer innovative solutions across many sectors and we have been very encouraged by the level of interest we have received to date.”
Microsphere Technology uses hollow glass microspheres as a platform on which to layer other materials such as metals and pigments for specific technology applications. Technology products under development include titania-coated microspheres for use in sunscreen, fluorescent microspheres for use in the flow visualisation design industry, as well as coated spheres for breaking down many organic and inorganic pollutants in wastewater.
Lennart Johansson President of Trelleborg Engineered Systems said: “To combine both companies technologies and application know how opens up new interesting opportunities in this market.”
The Trelleborg Group view the low density white pigments as a radically new approach to aerospace and automotive paint production.
Tom Johnston added: “We see the Trelleborg deal as an important first step in the company’s strategy to develop successful partnerships to support the commercialisation of our intellectual property with leading global corporates. We are already focused on securing other new licence deals to further our ambitious growth plans.”
Microsphere Technology Ltd (MTL):
In May 2007, MTL purchased the intellectual property and expertise associated with Microscience Technologies Ltd. in order to commercialise the wide-ranging and rapidly developing technology of coated hollow microspheres. Knowledge and experience gained through the development of microsphere products for a large range of applications allows MTL to offer specialist consultancy services in assisting in any microsphere related area, working with clients to achieve and produce new coated microsphere materials or to customise its own range of materials to produce ideal coated microspheres for international clients. www.microspheretechnology.com
Trelleborg is a global industrial group whose leading positions are based on advanced polymer technology and in-depth applications know-how. Trelleborg develops high-performance solutions that seal, damp and protect in demanding industrial environments. The Trelleborg Group had annual sales 2007 of approximately SEK 31 billion (with about 25,000 employees in 40 countries). The Group comprises four business areas: Trelleborg Engineered Systems, Trelleborg Automotive, Trelleborg Sealing Solutions and Trelleborg Wheel Systems. The Trelleborg share has been listed on the Stockholm Stock Exchange since 1964 and is listed on the OMX Nordic List, large cap. www.trelleborg.com
Microspheres come in a variety of different forms; solid, porous or hollow, plastic, ceramic or glass, coated or uncoated. They can be man-made or mined from natural sources. Some are recovered from the ash produced in power stations while others can even be harvested from volcanoes.
Microspheres are already present in a wide range of consumer products, including many cosmetics, paints, fillers, insulators, buoyancy aids, sealers, adhesives and plastics. Coating a single large aircraft requires hundreds of kilos of paint, and given that these large aircraft also burn prodigious amounts of fuel, even modest savings in the weight of paint on the surface will have considerable knock on effect on fuel consumption.
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