Request for Proposal
Status: RFP is Closed

Next Generation Cleaning for Welded Surfaces

Request Number
Due Date
Jan 28
Program Manager


Technology Licensing, Technology Acquisition, Joint Development, Supplier Agreement, To Be Negotiated

Opportunity to partner with Metalsa - a global Tier 1 Automotive Manufacturer of Structural Components


Phase 1 – Review of technologies: Q1 2019

Phase 2 – Proof of concept: Q2/Q3 2019

Phase 2 – Implementation of selected technologies: Q4 2019/Q1 2020


All financial details to be determined jointly with the client based on the proposed technology and pathway to implementation.


Consult the NineSigma Proposal Writing Guide for more information about writing your response!

RFP was closed on
Feb 2019

RFP Title


Next Generation Cleaning for Welded Surfaces
RFP Description

NineSigma, representing Metalsa, a global Tier 1 Automotive Manufacturer of Structural Components, seeks efficient next generation technologies for the removal of silica contaminants on metal components produced by arc welding.


Metalsa produces a variety of steel assemblies using gas metal arc welding (GMAW). During this process, atmospheric oxygen combines with elements in the welding wire (for example, silicon, manganese and iron) to create ‘silica islands’.

These concentrations of undesirable contaminants cool down and remain in the weldment and its heat affected zone. These islands then prevent the proper adhesion of coatings intended to protect the surface from corrosion, leading to performance degradation during product usage.

Presently, Metalsa has two primary methods for removing silica islands: mechanical and chemical. 


Mechanical Removal

  • Brushing
    • Effective but time consuming and labor intensive
  • Shot blasting
    • Effective but can be difficult and/or expensive to implement for large items

Chemical Removal

  • Acid Bath
    • Effective but can severely damage aluminum or zinc-coated steel pieces

Click here to view images of weld assemblies prior to and following a mechanical processing to remove silica islands (also available the bottom of the page). 

The client is seeking innovative new methods that are capable of efficient and complete removal of the silica islands from steel assemblies.


Anticipated Project Phases

Phase 1 – Review of Technologies

  • To be completed Q1 2019

Phase 2 – Proof of Concept

  • To be completed Q2/Q3 2019
  • Selected technologies will demonstrate the effectiveness of the technology
    • Metalsa will send samples for cleaning

Phase 3 – Implementation

  • Successful technology to be implemented at Metalsa facilities in late 2019 or early 2020


Criteria for Moving from Phase 1 to Phase 2

Metalsa will consider for advancement an approach that meets performance criteria with acceptable economics and pathway to commercialization. While commercially available technologies are of primary interest, Metalsa will also consider maturing technologies with a reasonably short timeline to commercial viability.

Key Success Criteria

The successful technology will:

  • Completely remove silica islands from steel substrate
  • Have no negative impact on steel substrate
  • Permit cleaning of a minimum of 70 assemblies per hour
    • Single assembly: 54-60 lineal feet of welding
  • Be easily implementable into existing assembly lines
  • Require zero or minimal capital investment
  • Be robust and repeatable
Possible Approaches

Possible approaches might include, but are not limited to:

  • Automated mechanical brushing
  • Vibrational cleaning
  • Laser removal
  • Novel chemical technologies
  • Water jet cleaning
  • Weld wires and technologies related to halting the formation of oxides during the arc welding process.
Approaches not of Interest

The following approaches are not of interest:

  • Technologies that damage the steel assembly
  • Technologies requiring capital expenses
  • Technologies not capable of meeting through put requirements
Items to be Submitted

Your response should address the following:

  • Non-confidential description of proposed technology and working principle
  • Availability of technical data including:
    • Efficacy at silica island removal
    • Speed of removal
    • Assembly processing rate
    • Number of operators required
    • Safety considerations for operations
    • If applicable, equipment or technology’s maintenance
  • Technical maturity of the approach (concept, reduced to practice, prototype, ready to commercialize, ready to implement, commercialized)
  • Pathway to commercial scale including timing, estimated budget, and capacity for manufacture
  • Estimated unit cost of technology
  • Position on intellectual property including patent references
  • Desired relationship with sponsor
  • Team description and related experience


Preferred Collaboration Types
Area of Interest