Request for Proposal
Status: RFP is Closed

Permanent Color Fill for Engraved Glass, Wood and Silver

Request Number
Due Date
Dec 7, 2015
Program Manager

RFP Custom Information

Ohio Third Frontier Gallery Request


Nick Kacsandi, M.S.


Client seeks commercial or near-commercially available technologies for licensing, acquisition, or supply agreement.


Preliminary volumes up to 350 kilograms are required to meet current North American demands, with strong potential for ongoing annual resale opportunities.



The client wishes to conduct preliminary discussions under NDA with top-rated partners no later than Q1 2016


Phase 1 – Proof of concept in 3 months

Phase 2 – Commercial supply agreement within 3 months of proof of concept



Based upon the nature of the proposed solution, initial funding may be available to demonstrate proof of concept.


Funds exist for immediate purchase of commercially viable solutions.




Phone: +1-216-283-3901


RFP was closed on

RFP Title


Permanent Color Fill for Engraved Glass, Wood and Silver
RFP Description
NineSigma, representing a North American Retailer, invites proposals for coatings, paints, dyes or other materials to impart permanent color into complex surface grooves on a variety of substrates, primarily glass, wood, silver, and plastic. The ideal technology will be waterproof and non-toxic, as well as display compatibility and reliable performance across a range of color options. Solutions from across the landscape of industry, research and academia are invited to respond.

Engraved materials frequently require the addition of a secondary color agent to create an eye-catching effect on the finished piece. These agents include a range of materials including paints, adhesives and other surface treatments, many of which tend to fail or degrade when exposed to common household temperatures, cleaners and dishwashing (e.g. water / steam, high temperatures, etc.) resulting in poor aesthetics. NineSigma’s client produces a wide variety of personalized engraved items that demand a permanent color stability in the finished product to withstand shipping, washing, and exposure to other environmental impacts.


Each finished product is produced manually via an onsite operator using substrate materials that are not traditionally receptive to coatings or color, primarily glass, silver and finished wood. After the engraving is completed, a colored agent is applied directly to the substrate, and then wiped over the surface to fill the grooves while any remaining coloring agent is simply wiped away. The end effect is a color-filled design lacking any residual or extraneous color on the rest of the surface. As such, it is important that the color treatment does not cure immediately, but allows the operator enough time to complete the application and cleaning process (approximately 2 minutes total duration).


The goal of this technology search is to identify potential partners with durable material technologies that can impart a permanent colored effect within the engravings on one or all of the aforementioned materials. The client has a near-term need to acquire viable technologies for implementation within their current infrastructure of nearly 600 retail outlets across North America.


Anticipated Project Phases or Project Plan

Phase 1 – Proof of concept

Phase 2 – Commercial supply


Key Success Criteria

The successful technology will:

• Fill complex surface deformations (engravings, etchings, grooves, etc.)

○ Width: Up to 6.35 mm

○ Depth: No deeper than 1.9 mm

○ Permanently adhere / fill engravings on one or more of the following substrates:

 Primary: Glass, wood, and silver

 Secondary: Plastic and acrylic

• Easily wipe away from the surrounding substrate material for at least two (2) minutes post-application without leaving a residue

• Be compatible with or adaptable to a wide range of color options

○ Basic color palette, as well as gold, silver, copper, black and white

• Cure semi-permanently within 1 hour

• Cure permanently at room temperature within 24 hours of application

○ Waterproof

○ Temperature-stable

○ Stable in the presence of liquids and alcohol

• Be non-toxic

• Be cost effective


Additionally, successful proposals should address the technology’s compatibility with the following requirements:

• Incorporate with an easy-to-use package / dispenser to allow manual application to substrates

○ e.g. Squeeze bottle or tube

• Shelf stable in the dispenser / package for up to one year without loss of efficacy

• Compatible with regular opening/closing of the dispenser / package without drying out or separating

• Stable under standard shipping conditions in both its packaged and cured state, including:

○ Temperatures ranging from -40F to 140F

○ Humidity ranging from 0-100%

○ Repeated vibration, shaking or jolting

• Be easily applied to / wiped from the engraved substrate via a strictly manual process


Possible Approaches

Possible approaches might include, but are not limited to:

• Paints, inks and dyes

• Color-receptive adhesives

• Platform technologies

○ Must be able to customize color palette to client’s requirements

• Pastes, gels, viscous liquids

• Permanent film-forming materials

• Topcoats or secondary coating materials that form a seamless seal over the colored engraving

○ Must not leave a noticeable residue or visibly alter the underlying color

• Solutions that require a solvent or secondary agent to remove residue from the substrate

○ Must be non-toxic

○ Ideally, have little to no associated solvent odor


Approaches not of Interest

The following approaches are not of interest:

• Solutions that require a high temperature curing process (e.g. kilning, etc.)

• Solutions that leave a residue on the substrate that cannot be easily wiped away

• Solutions that require specialized equipment to apply and/or cure

• Solutions that cannot be safely applied in a retail environment

• Proposals for automated technologies or that are otherwise incompatible with manual operators


Items to be Submitted

To respond, please make sure you are registered in NineSights, as it will prompt you to log in. Then, use the Response options at the top or bottom of the page. You may submit supplemental files in addition to your completed response form.


Appropriate responses will use the response form and address the following:

• Non-confidential description of proposed technology

• Technical maturity of the approach (concept, prototype, ready to commercialize, commercialized)

• Compatibility of the proposed solution with the requirements outlined in the “Key Success Criteria” section above.

• Discussion of how to resolve unmet Success Criteria

• Sample availability

• Performance data, if available and applicable

• Budget / Cost information, if available

• Team / Organization description

• Relevant expertise, experience or background related to the RFP topic area

• Desired relationship with the RFP sponsor


Expiration Date
Preferred Collaboration Types