Steinbeis team and an industry specialist enter into strategic partnership to develop standard machines for novel laser surface functionalization
SurFunction, the Saarbrücken-based Steinbeis company, uses laser technology to create unique surfaces modeled on nature. To promote so-called xDLIP technology in the plug connector market as well as further developments, the company recently embarked on a partnership with NOXON Automation from Pforzheim.
At the end of October 2021, a global strategic partnership was launched between SurFunction, a supplier of contactless surface functionalization systems, and NOXON Automation, a specialist in the development and manufacture of complex winding and unwinding machines. The partnership covers the marketing and professional integration into industrial production processes of a technology platform known as xDLIP (extended direct laser interference patterning). This technology is now market-ready and has also been validated in operational use, paving the way for new generations of solutions, as well as product concepts revolving around electrical connector systems, which are capable of significantly reducing friction by up to 40%. Not only does this save substantial resources, but it also improves system properties.
“The possibilities of laser interference methods have expanded significantly in recent months – thanks to a new generation of more powerful and compact optics, significant process optimizations, and complementary processes,” confirms Dr. Dominik Britz, co-founder and co-CEO of SurFunction. This potential is now being leveraged by the partnership with NOXON Automation, and it is best exploited in the modular production of electrical connectors. Frank Bauer, managing partner of the NOXON Automation, is also positive about the future prospects: “We’re delighted with our joint strategic partnership and we’re convinced that our joint system-based approach will allow us to offer the market excellent innovation potential for new generations of products.”
The two companies are currently engaged in promising discussions with potential customers. “We strongly believe we will be able to provide our customers with more innovative, resource-saving generations of high-performance products in the future,” says Ralf Zastrau, shareholder and co-CEO of SurFunction.
About SurFunction and xDLIP
SurFunction GmbH was founded in early 2020 as a spin-off of Material Engineering Center Saarland (MECS), a Steinbeis Research Center. It specializes in contactless surface modification using a variety of laser processes based on the award-winning, patented xDLIP interference technology. By splitting and superimposing laser beams, the process enables low-cost, cross-scale surface structures to be created in record time, modeled on examples found in nature. This allows surfaces to be enhanced with new properties. For example they can be made non-stick, antibacterial, energy-efficient, low-friction, highly conductive, or tamper-proof.