COUNTRY: Ireland



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Barry Twomey

CAST (Conductive Anti-Stick Treatment) for bolts and fasteners

The CAST process can be applied to bolts and fasteners used in the Space and Aerospace sector to ensure consistant performance and re-use, reducing galling and scrapage of bolts.

It could be assumed that there is little in common between the Medical and Aerospace sectors, and less likelihood of technology transfer between the two. ENBIO developed the CoBlast surface treatment process for the deposition of artificial bone onto titanium surfaces at room temperature to improve ossteointegration, while minimising any detrimental thermal impact on the implant; this has been demonstrated at animal trial stages. CoBlast can also be used to deposit lubricious PTFE surfaces onto guidewires without significantly increasing the thickness and without the use of a chemical primer before coating.

Left – uncoated and PTFE CoBlast coated titanium bolts; Right – scanning electron microscope image of uncoated (right) and coated (left) thread profile

Left – uncoated and PTFE CoBlast coated titanium bolts; Right – scanning electron microscope image of uncoated (right) and coated (left) thread profile

Although originating in the medical sector, ENBIO have utilised CoBlast to deposit burnt bone, a black powder, onto titanium substrates for the Space sector. This surface has been qualified for use on the upcoming European Space Agency Solar Orbiter mission and is a mission critical surface.

The proposed ACTTiVAte project, CAST, aims to utilise the CoBlast process to deposit a lubricious fluoropolymer coating on the bolts used in the Aerospace sector. This well adhered coating will minimise galling and cold welding on the thread sections, as well as maintaining surface conductivity.

A key deliverable of this project is to demonstrate the re-use of bolts after extraction by maintaining the same torque profile as the first use while ensuring consistent tension/compression is achieved during fixing. The objective is to reduce scrappage of bolts during assembly, ensuring a reliable performance and to minimize any weight impact on the part.

About the company

ENBIO is an Irish SME with a patented, disruptive coating technology called CoBlast.

ENBIO was founded in 2006, originally focused on the medical device sector, with the aim of delivering better, more robust osteo-conductive (promote bone on-growth) surfaces on dental and orthopaedic implants.

However, the company shifted focus to other sectors in 2011 and started developing coatings for the European Space Agency. This shift marked an expansion on the types of surfaces being developed and the company expanded its team from six in 2011 to eighteen in 2018.

The current products include both black and white thermal control coatings for space (SolarBlack and SolarWhite), and release coatings for the tire, footwear and silicone moulding industries (PRO-RELEASE and MAX-RELEASE); while also developing surfaces for lubricious applications (CAST and bearing coatings), REACH compliant adhesive primers for space (H2020 SME Instrument – OSMOSIS – 757088) and protective finishing coatings for the automotive sector (Eureka project – STAR-DIP).

ENBIO have a flexible R&D coating facility based in Dublin, supported by state-of-the-art labs and technical staff (8 PhD and 4 MSc). The base in Dublin is important for the company as it provides ease of access to four major research institutes (DCU, DIT, TCD and UCD). Alongside R&D, ENBIO have a semi-cleanroom coating facility in Clonmel for the application of SolarBlack and SolarWhite on flight hardware.

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