(North Canton – June 7, 2012) Entrepreneurial spirit and engineering inventiveness are the driving forces behind Stark State College’s newest business partner now headquartered on its North Canton campus.
Tesla NanoCoatings, Ltd. has leased 1,000 square feet of space at the College’s Advanced Technology Center to allow more room for research and development of its groundbreaking corrosion control coating that is applied like paint, but protects metal with a unique galvanizing process.
Stark State’s support played a role in the company receiving a $100,000 startup award from the Innovation Fund, said Todd Hawkins, Tesla’s managing director. Stark State College is a supporting member of the regional fund focused on supporting technology-based entrepreneurial endeavors and emerging businesses.
Working with the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center, Tesla has engineered a carbon nanocoating described as a revolutionary corrosion control coating. It is the toughest, most resilient and most effective organic protective coating developed for metals – the use of fullerene nanotubes results in a network of “ropes” which strengthens and stiffens the coating film while building an electron pathway. The unique properties of the coatings lend themselves to longer life cycles and reduced maintenance costs.
Along with refining a product already approved for use by the U.S. Army and destined for use in the aerospace, petrochemical, transportation, marine and industrial markets, Hawkins sees the Stark State operation as an initial production platform. He’ll be recruiting Stark State and university engineering students as interns, he said.
“We’re in a great place to be doing this,” Hawkins said. “Northeast Ohio is a coatings cluster and we’re excited that Stark State is open to nanotechnology like they were to fuel cell technology. We anticipate attracting other nanotechnology ventures here. We are on our way and look forward to a long and distinguished relationship with Stark State and our community.”
Tesla’s nanotechnology advancement is especially significant in the light of the fact the U.S. Government Accounting Office estimates corrosion costs in the U.S. at $400 billion each year, with the U.S. market for corrosion-control coatings at about $50 billion a year.
The company hopes to have it operations at Stark State in full swing by mid-July, said Hawkins, a Massillon native who has worked as an engineer in the aerospace industry and is a consultant and an entrepreneur. He founded Tesla NanoCoatings in 2007, but emphasizes the importance of collaborations in bringing new ideas to fruition.
Tesla NanoCoatings also was named an R&D 100 Award winner by R&D Magazine and received a Nortech 2012 Innovation Award.
Applications for thenext funding cycle of the Innovation Fund are due June 15. For more information, go to www.innovationfundneohio.com.
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