On Wednesday, December 11, Beneq received a special commercialization breakthrough award from Tekes, the Finnish funding agency for technology and innovation, as part of its six-year-long Functional Materials program. The goal of the program was to promote the development of application-focused materials and processes, as well as to raise foreign investor awareness of Finland’s exceptionally high level of material expertise.
Beneq was selected for the Commercialization Breakthrough award thanks to the company’s outstanding work on two particular commercialized projects: transparent conductive oxide (TCO) for aerosol applications and Roll-to-Roll atomic layer deposition (ALD).
During 2013 alone, Beneq sold three Roll-to-Roll ALD systems. The world’s first scaled-up Roll-to-Roll ALD system was delivered to the Advanced Surface Technology Research Laboratory (ASTRaL), a research unit based in Mikkeli, Finland, that belongs to the Lappeenranta University of Technology. This laboratory has been a global forerunner in developing new applications that take advantage of ALD coatings. The second delivery went to the UK’s Centre for Process Innovation (CPI). The third delivery will go to an undisclosed partner, whose unit is currently in build phase.
“Our Functional Materials program, which focused particularly on coatings and coating technology, achieved excellent results, despite the economically challenging times,” says Markku Lämsä, Program Manager from Tekes. “From the projects completed, we have more than 100 patents, 200 scientific publications and 90 theses. Moreover, companies that participated in the program estimate that they have already received over EUR 60 million in new funding from foreign investors.”
The final seminar of the Functional Materials program, which Tekes carried out from 2007 to 2013, brought together over 300 experts from many different fields. Beneq received its award at the end of the day.
“When we began, we only had a strong belief in our special coating know-how. Yet, we have continued to be driven mostly by our passion to reach a commercialized breakthrough – and bring our coating technologies to real-life applications” says Sampo Ahonen, CEO, Beneq. “We took well-calculated risks to bring something new to the market. But these kinds of decisions always need a strong vision and perseverance. This award validates the tough decisions we made many years ago.”
“I wish to extend my heartfelt thanks to all our Beneq employees, the team at Tekes and all our suppliers and partners. Without them, we would not be here today. A company always needs to rely on talented team members who are ready to give their best to accomplish a challenging goal,” he continues.