Surfunction tackles further growth steps – financing round successfully completed
Surfunction develops new surfaces for industrial series production with laser technology – New financing partners strengthen further expansion and marketing activities of the xDLIP technology platform
Saarbrücken, January 19, 2022 – Surfunction GmbH, a leading system provider for contactless surface functionalization using laser technology, is entering its next growth phase with two new financing partners. The financing volume is in the seven-digit range in total. Surfunction’s goal is the international marketing of laser technologies for the creation of new functional surfaces modeled on nature. With the claim “Nature knows best”, the company has transferred the possibilities of complex laser interference processes to industrial applications for the first time. Surfunction GmbH is a spin-off from the Steinbeis Research Center Material Engineering Center Saarland (MECS). The two new financing partners underpin the performance and future prospects of the business model.
“In order to be able to follow the chosen path more quickly and to deal with the many challenges more effectively, Surfunction is starting the new year with increased financial strength. With a comfortable seven-digit sum behind us and the support of renowned “family offices”, which actively accompany the long-term, sustainable and organic growth course, structures will be further professionalized, ongoing projects will be processed more efficiently and the development of the surface competence center at the Saarland location will also be actively advanced”, explains Ralf Zastrau, shareholder of Surfunction GmbH.
Diverse application scenarios for xDLIP
With compact systems that are easy to integrate into production processes, process optimizations and complementary processes, Surfunction offers xDLIP (Extended Direct Laser Interference Patterning), a market-ready and scalable technology platform. For example, surface functions in the areas of electrical systems, medicine and safety can be realized in an environmentally friendly manner. The spectrum ranges from the control of mating forces or resistance in electrical contacts to superhydrophilic or superhydrophobic surfaces and hygienic properties such as germicidal and bacterial adhesion. Tribological adjustments of the coefficient of friction and wear are also possible, as well as individualized optical effects in the safety area. All marketing activities are to be significantly expanded and intensified in the course of the year.
The focus is currently on applications for industrial surfaces in particular. Additional potential is offered, for example, in medicine and safety. Recently, the company agreed on a global strategic partnership with the mechanical engineering specialist Noxon Automation GmbH & Co. KG. The cooperation covers the marketing and professional integration of xDLIP technologies into industrial production processes in the field of plug-in contacts.
Dr. Dominik Britz, shareholder and technology manager of Surfunction GmbH: “In contrast to conventional processes, contactless surface modification and the associated potential benefits for the environment make the transfer from research to industrial application so significant. The research series on antimicrobial metal surfaces, which German astronaut Matthias Maurer took into space in cooperation with MECS and Saarland University, is also based on precisely this technology. Our solutions for industry make use of these processes and transfer them to series applications. We will continue to drive our market development this year in order to convince companies of the economic advantages and the resulting environmental benefits of the xDLIP technology platform.”
SurFunction GmbH (www.surfunction.com):
SurFunction is a leading system provider for contactless surface modification. The company, based in Saarbrücken (Saarland), uses various laser-based processes based on award-winning and patented interference technologies (xDLIP). This makes it possible to create cost-effective, cross-scale surface structures in record time, which are modeled from living nature. Surfaces can thus be equipped with new properties (e.g. non-stick, antibacterial, energy-efficient, low-friction, highly electrically conductive or tamper-proof). True to the claim “Nature knows best”, SurFunction opens up new innovation potential and provides companies from numerous industries with significant competitive advantages. SurFunction provides customers with complete systems as well as highly functional surfaces. SurFunction wants to improve the products or processes of its customers and conserve resources. SurFunction cooperates closely with leading research institutions worldwide, has first-class references as well as comprehensive competency – based on years of experience and development. SurFunction is a spin-off from the Steinbeis Research Center Material Engineering Center Saarland (MECS).
Surface structures on almost any component have a significant impact on their performance. The research that has been carried out for decades has proven the almost infinite variety of possibilities. If particularly successful surfaces of nature are analyzed in this context, it can be determined that almost all effective structures (e.g. creation of non-stick properties of the lotus plant or color effects on butterfly wings) depend on complex geometries in tiny orders of magnitude. So far there has been no technology that enables industrial use economically and at relevant process speeds.
The researchers and co-founders of SurFunction, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Frank Mücklich and Prof. Dr.-Ing. Andrés Lasagni, have been working on a solution to this problem for more than twenty years and are the inventors of “Direct Laser Interference Patterning”. Due to its simple functional principle, this technology holds the key to creating artificial surfaces inspired by nature. For example, by splitting and superimposing laser beams, structures of the relevant order of magnitude can be generated through “interference”. The phenomenon is symbolically comparable to the interaction of colliding water waves. If a crest of the first wave meets a crest of the overlapping second wave, the resulting wave reinforces the other. By using this principle professionally and supplementing it with accompanying technologies, successful industrial use can now be achieved. This new cross-sectional technology is summarized under the term xDLIP (Extended Direct Laser Interference Patterning).