(Nanowerk News) The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) and PJI Contract Pte Ltd announced today the opening of a production facility to manufacture Titanium Dioxide (TiO2) solution, an eco-friendly nano-coating material, by Dr Raj Thampuran, Executive Director, Science and Engineering Research Council, A*STAR, in Woodlands. PJI Contract, a leading specialist contractor for industrial polymeric floors, protective coatings, and linings, has licensed from A*STAR the patented TiO2 manufacturing process developed by the Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology (SIMTech), a research institute of A*STAR.
The eco-friendly, self-cleaning property of the TiO2 coating technology has been recognised under the category of "green innovation and features" by the Building and Construction Authority's (BCA) Green Mark Scheme. The "self-cleaning" properties are derived from the oxidative and hydrophilic nature of the coating. When exposed to the sun the oxidative property will decompose organic substances like microbes, whilst the hydrophilic nature of the coating would naturally allow accumulated water to "wash away" dust and dirt particles. Essentially, harmful bacteria would be removed, odour eliminated, leaving coated surfaces, like residential and commercial buildings, cleaner and fresher, with minimal human intervention. The resultant effects would be an eco-friendly solution that saves on water and maintenance bill, as the frequency of physical cleaning would be reduced, but still maintaining the freshness of paint surface!
PJI Contract is one of Singapore's first industry adopters of this technology, and has applied the self-cleaning coating on the building facades of its commercial customers such as a pharmaceutical giant in Singapore. The tremendous and untapped potential for this eco-friendly technology drives PJI Contract to invest in a manufacturing facility. In addition to using the technology for self-cleaning coating for buildings, PJI Contract is also broadening its applications for the mass market by making available the coating in a spray can to target the consumer market. By having its own in-house production facility, PJI Contract will be able to better manage the product's cost and quality. The eco-friendly, photo-catalytic TiO2 "self cleaning" coating is expected to become one of PJI Contract's top 10 revenue generators.
Speaking at the opening ceremony for the new plant, PJI Contract's Managing Director, Mr Philip Loh said, "SMEs should embrace technology for growth and to differentiate themselves from the competition. R&D plays a significant role in the quest for technology but it is also a resource intensive process. As such, SMEs should collaborate with organisations like A*STAR, in the R&D process and focus their limited resources on commercialisation."
In addition to licensing the TiO2 manufacturing process, PJI Contract has had 2 researchers seconded from SIMTech to help build-up its in-house R&D capabilities. PJI Contract is also a member of SIMTech's Nanotechnology in Manufacturing Initiative (NiMI), an industry consortium focused on assisting industry to develop capabilities, enhance manufacturing competitiveness, and share knowledge and best practices in exploiting nanotechnology for manufacturing.
Dr Lim Ser Yong, Executive Director of SIMTech said, "In adopting the SIMTech-developed technologies, SMEs such as PJI Contract are able to move up the value chain with innovative processes, products, and services, or shorten the development cycle time to add to its array of existing product range, creating new revenue stream and avenues for growth. Through the use of technology and R&D, our local enterprises can become key players in the global marketplace."
Exploit Technologies Pte Ltd (ETPL), the commercialisation arm of A*STAR, played a pivotal role in licensing the TiO2 technology to PJI Contract. Besides closing the license, it also facilitated the follow-on Technology for Enterprise Capability Upgrading (T-Up) between PJI Contract and SIMTech to build PJI Contract's R&D capability to further develop new products based on the licensed technology.
Mr Philip Lim, Chief Executive Officer of Exploit Technologies, applauds PJI Contract for their foresight and determination to leverage on technology and innovation to enhance their competitive edge. He goes on to say, "PJI Contract has used technology as a strategic lever to jump-start their foray into nano-coatings, reducing their upfront risk of technology development. It is even more significant that PJI Contract continues to further develop new applications from the licensed technology to further grow their market." Mr Lim encourages SMEs to use technology as an enabler to increase market opportunities and growth. SMEs could engage A*STAR to collaborate in R&D, or to license technology to meet their needs.