Tecnalia. Inspiring Business

Tecnalia. Inspiring Business

Nanotechnology enables non-scratch cars and cleaner engines


New developments in nanotechnology are key to meeting sustainability, competitiveness and innovation challenges in industry

Nanotechnology is being used to improve conventional materials and manufacturing processes, such as plastic injection and founding, enhancing the value of products and industrial processes.

With this in mind, TECNALIA is leading a European consortium to develop new components for the automotive sector, including highly functional, great-looking plastic components, and bimetallic components that increase engine efficiency.

The initiative forms part of the IZADI-NANO2INDUSTRY Project and is backed by the Horizon 2020 EU Research and Innovation programme. Other Basque companies taking part include MAIER, the European leader in plastic decorative elements and manufacturer of technical sub-components for the automotive industry; SISTEPLANT, which offers the industrial sector solutions to increase competitiveness; and SEMATEC, an environmental, health and safety service provider.

The initiative aims to leverage the opportunities that nanotechnology can offer industry, enabling companies to respond to market demand for more competitive, more sophisticated and better looking products, which are also lighter, more efficient and require less maintenance.

TECNALIA has been working with SISTEPLANT and SEMATIC to design safe, competitive manufacturing processes, using Safe by Design tools. These enable us to evaluate and design safe products and processes from the earliest stages of development.

Nanotechnology applied to the automotive industry

As part of the project, we use nanotechnology to manufacture injected plastic parts for the automotive sector, offering a 140% increase in scratch resistance, as well as greater durability and a novel appearance. The technology is expected to be on the market in 2020, in the form of innovative, competitive new products.

Nanotechnology applied to industrial machinery

In addition to plastic parts for the automotive industry, solutions have also been developed for mobile plant, specifically for a manufacturer of hydraulic motors.

The new hydraulic motors use nano-reinforced forged pieces, which offer a 30% improvement in mechanical function. Additionally, one of the bimetallic components of the motor has been replaced by a steel part with a nanostructured coating made using thermal projection technology. The new parts improve the efficiency of the motor, resulting in savings of €700 on fuel and eliminating 1.3 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year. The increased durability of the piece also cuts maintenance expenses by more than half.

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