Request for Proposal
Status: RFP is Closed

Improving Precision of Coatings Applications for Metal Plates

Request Number
Due Date
Oct 5, 2018
Program Manager


Licensing, product acquisition, contract research, proof of concept leading to scale - up to manufacturing, joint development, supplier agreement.


Phase 1 – Feasibility evaluation, proof of concept (6 - 12 months, depending on the technical maturity of the proposed approach)
Phase 2 – Technology adaptation/optimization


All terms to be negotiated between the Solution Provider(s) and the Client sponsor, as warranted.
RFP was closed on
Oct 2018

RFP Title


Improving Precision of Coatings Applications for Metal Plates
RFP Description
NineSigma, representing a Global Electrochemical Company, invites proposals for technologies or approaches capable of applying a coating material uniformly and efficiently to one (i.e. the top) surface or multiple surfaces of a 2D open (i.e. mesh or perforated sheet) or 3D porous metal plate (typically titanium or nickel).
The current coating material formulation is a solution of dissolved precious metal and transition metal salts, which is then put through a thermal process to form a mixed metal oxide on the titanium mesh.
The challenge is to:
  • Minimize the resulting mixed metal oxide formations on undesired surfaces
  • Minimize coating material used and process waste (e.g. overspray, drips, clean up, etc.)
  • Improve the coating distribution (minimize variations in loading across an entire surface)


Liquid solutions containing dissolved precious metal and transition metal salts are used to coat titanium plates in the manufacture of industrial electrodes. The coating must adhere to the surface of the electrode plate, where further processing (usually a thermal method) converts the coating to a mixed metal oxide layer. The liquid coating is applied using standard means (spray, brush, or roller) to either a solid surface or a surface with mesh-like features, holes, or three-dimensional pores. The liquid coating tends to flow or wick through the void features and collect onto undesired surfaces of the plate. The void features in 2D and 3D structures have characteristic lengths on the order of 0.2-10mm and 0.1-3mm, respectively.


The RFP client is seeking a technology that minimizes the amount of material used to apply the coating to the desired surface of the plate. The end goal is to have a titanium plate with an oxide layer in intimate electrical contact with the substrate that serves as an electrode.

Key Success Criteria

The technology must:

  • Effectively and efficiently coat the surface of a metal plate substrate (0.25-3.0 m² projected area and 0.5-2 mm thick) while preventing or minimizing the coating material from spreading or wicking to surfaces that are not necessary to coat (i.e. the underside of the plate).
  • The resulting mixed metal oxide must be in intimate electrical connection with the metal substrate (i.e. no non-conducting interlayers can be used).
  • All surface treatments and interlayers that meet the aforementioned criteria are acceptable.
  • Improve coating distribution and uniformity on desired surface.
  • Minimize the amount of material needed to achieve the desired mixed metal oxide coating loading
    • E.g. minimize the coating wasted due to overspray, drips, volume of system, etc.
  • If the proposed technology incorporates a liquid solution, it must:
    • Be able to dissolve noble metal and transition metal salts, or be adaptable to these formulations
    • Not pose an unreasonable EH&S concern (i.e. no carcinogenic or mutagenic material).
    • Be compatible with reasonable large-scale manufacturing techniques (e.g. stable in normal/cost effective temperatures, humidity, and atmospheres).
Possible Approaches
Possible approaches include, but are not limited to:
  • Coatings adaptations from other industries with the ability to precisely apply the coating to maximize coating efficiency and minimize waste
    • Coating may need to be applied in multiple passes to achieve the desired loading
    • Coating in multiple coats is not a required process trait
  • A mixed metal oxide must be formed either thermally (400 - 650°C) or with alternative processing.
  • Alternative pre-treatments and interlayers to promote controlled coating distribution or adhesion as long as the resulting coating is not electrically isolated from the substrate
  • Other novel methods to coat an oxide layer precisely onto a metal plate, with or without the need for heat treatment to form the end product
  • Equipment modifications to maximize coating precision and accuracy
  • Systems approaches to prevent liquids from flowing or wicking through
  • void features
  • Technologies to recover and reuse wasted coating material – either from undesired surfaces or from general waste (e.g. overspray, drips, unused, etc.)
Approaches not of Interest
The following approaches are not of interest:
  • Any approach that does not significantly reduce the amount of liquid coating that is currently required to coat the surface of the plate. In other words, the proposed approach must minimize the volume of coating product that ends up on the underside of the plate or wasted (i.e. not recoverable to be recycled for coating use).
  • Any approach that cannot accomplish the goal of having an oxide layer on the plate surface. I.e. mechanisms that can not withstand processes that result in an oxide coating.
  • Any technique that exclusively results in a mixed metal oxide electrically isolated from the substrate.
Items to be Submitted
Your response should address the following:
  • Non-confidential description of proposed technology and working principle
  • Availability of technical data
  • 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
  • Position on intellectual property including patent references
  • Desired relationship with sponsor
  • Team description and related experience
Appropriate responses to this Request
Responses from companies (small to large), consultants, entrepreneurs, or inventors are welcome. For example:
You represent a company or university that has demonstrated a proof of concept.
You represent a company or university that has reduced method to practice at lab scale.
You represent a company or university that has developed a method for use at pilot scale.
You represent a company or university that has demonstrated a method ready for implementation at industrial scale.
You represent a technology transfer agency that represents an inventor or technology holder who can demonstrate an approach to address the request.
You represent a university research department that has a bench - scale demonstration ready to adapt.
You represent a university research department that has an undeveloped pathway with a high probability of success.
Preferred Collaboration Types
Area of Interest