Issue: Nov 2006


FriCSo Receives Frost & Sullivan's 2006 Technology Innovation Award



by Alan Tran

FriCSo, a provider of patented, environmentally friendly nanolayer-based technology that significantly reduces friction between moving parts, today announced that it has been awarded the 2006 Frost & Sullivan Technology Innovation Award in the field of automotive coatings. The award recognizes FriCSo's breakthrough Surface Engineering Treatment (SET) technology, which reduces the friction between moving parts using an innovative mechanical process.

"FriCSo's solution is an innovative device, which could potentially replace existing non-environment friendly coatings in the field of automotive coatings," said S.Sumithra, Research Analyst of Frost & Sullivan. "The three significant advantages achieved by the polymer lapping process are the increase in the surface hardness of the metal, improvement in the surface topography and most importantly the formation of an oil retaining protective nanolayer that is chemically bonded to the metal surface."

"FriCSo's solution is not a coating but delivers coating-like performance at a fraction of the time, cost and maintenance required by traditional solutions," said Amir Weisberg, CEO of FriCSo, Inc. "Metal parts treated with SET enjoy high wear resistance and improved energy efficiency in the engines. SET is cost effective compared to using exotic metals (such as bronze) for metal-pairs design, DLC and other coatings and bushings, and even offers superior performance in certain applications. Being environment friendly, this technology does not produce any toxic waste and complies with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) restrictions."

The Surface Engineering Treatment (SET) comprises two processes:

-- High performance polymer lapping as a single treatment.
-- Two steps treatment consisting: surface texturing using vibro-grooving
and polymer lapping.



The influence of the two surface treatment steps is as follows: The polymer lapping process influences the surface of the metal by improving the surface characteristics. The conventional lapping process makes use of a metal tool such as cast iron whereas FriCSo's lapping process uses a uniquely designed patented polymer device. The surface texturing process, involves introducing recesses onto the surface of the metal. These recesses can be either grooves done by plastic deformation or laser dimples. The recesses in the surface of the metal act as oil batteries by retaining oil and making it available to the surface in periods of insufficient oil supply. This provides the necessary lubrication among the mechanical parts of the vehicle in oil starvation conditions like start of an engine. These recesses also funnel the metal debris that is created during sliding friction.

During the lapping process, small torn out fragments from the polymeric lapping device with reactive polar groups abrade the oxide layer, thus stimulating a mechano-chemical reaction between the polymeric fragments. The outcome of this process is a unique protective/metallic interface, which covers the surface of the metal. The protective nanolayer is bonded to the metal substrate by strong ionic forces during the lapping process. The formation of these strong chemical bonds aids the adhesion between the polymeric molecules and the metal surface.

Various tests conducted by prospective clients of FriCSo proved that the coefficient of friction achieved in the SET process is much lower than the conventional process and the hardness of the metallic nanolayer increases near the surface as against the results achieved in a conventional process. The oil film that is formed on the protective monolayer provides better lubrication with its smaller coefficient of friction. This technology meets the friction reduction needs in automotive cylinders, liners, piston pins, rocker shafts, camshafts, parts of diesel fuel injectors, and additional parts of hydraulic systems.

Institutional and private investors, led by Israel based Aviv Venture Capital (http://www.avivvc.com/), demonstrated their confidence in the potential value of FriCSo's technology by investing $7.5 million in two financing rounds. With strong patent protection of its technology, FriCSo opens up new horizons in the field of automotive coatings.

FriCSo - Friction Control Solutions (http://www.fricso.com/) was founded in 2003 by Dr. Boris Shamshidov and Dr. Alexander Ignatovsky, two scientists specializing in tribology, the science of friction, lubrication and wear. The company's headquarters are located in Farmington Hills, MI, near Detroit - the heart of the US automotive industry. The R&D center is located in the Tirat Hacarmel Industrial Zone, Israel. FriCSo employs 20 people.

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