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Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: BSG-SME | Phase: SME-2012-1 | Award Amount: 1.54M | Year: 2012

The AVCOP project (added-value for metallic coated products by new sol-gel processes) proposes to enable seven small manufacturing enterprising companies to re-define the product offer in the market for metal-finishing applications. The proposal seeks to combine nano-structured sol-gel coatings with ionic liquids for the first time to seal and protect anodised aluminium, hot-dip-galvanised steel and electroplated zinc. The traditional manufacturing sectors are experiencing significant threat from cheaper, low-quality and low-cost imports from lower cost economies. In the spirit of Europe 2020, the SMEs aim to respond through the exploitation of innovative surface treatments to offer the market levels of wear-resistance, corrosion protection and aesthetic appearance that exceed the best standards available today. The SMEs aim to derive significant benefits for their manufacturing processes by reducing the energy input for the anodising process by 50%, the elimination of all toxic pre-treatments from the galvanising process and the use of nano-structured, ionic-liquid-enabled coating systems, that will be entirely solvent-free. The SME consortium is drawn from member states from the four poles of the EU compass presenting a perfect representation of the developmental span for EU member states. All of the SMEs have experienced challenges through product substitution or replacement from inferiorquality imports and aim to respond proactively by drawing the leading research performers in the field of sol-gel chemistry for corrosion and wear protection and the emerging chemistry of ionic liquids

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