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Permanently Wet Coating Improves Manufacturing Processes

Gary Mintchell | April 30, 2014

Imagine painting your bedroom and there was none of the dried up paint accumulating on the lid of the can. Or when you were finishing with one can, you could get all the paint out of the can.

Better yet, if you are a manufacturer of products such as paint and wanted to keep the filling machines from continual clogging during manufacturing.

Last week I had the opportunity to interview Carsten Boers, president of MIT spin off company LiquiGlide. The company is the result of research by now CEO Dave Smith at MIT into developing intellectual property around “superhydrophobic” systems or permanently wet surfaces. Some of the work was pointed at the problem with methane hydrates in certain oil and gas applications. They are looking at systems for getting toothpaste out of the tubes, eliminating some of the hazardous waste involved in tossing paint cans and now also in agrochemical areas.

The company does not sell a “product” per se, but it helps customers develop applications licensing its IP. This is one of those technologies that has much potential in many areas.

Last week’s press release announced the “world’s first” commercially viable super-slippery coating for paint and paint colorants. LiquiGlide’s permanently wet coating prevents paint products from sticking to cans and manufacturing equipment reducing waste and hazardous pollution and improving production efficiency.

Press release

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), paint is the most voluminous and expensive household hazardous material that local governments collect and manage. The EPA estimates that between 35 and 103 million gallons of post-consumer architectural paint is disposed of by U.S. households annually. Improper waste disposal is also a major problem, with one gallon of paint capable of polluting up to 250,000 gallons of water.

LiquiGlide’s paint coating allows for easy and complete evacuation. As a result, consumers get all the paint they pay for, reducing waste and significantly improving quality as paint will no longer dry on container lids and contaminate fresh paint. For paint manufacturers, LiquiGlide improves energy efficiency and reduces paint build-up on their equipment, cutting downtime and cleaning costs. LiquiGlide’s coating can also reduce the amount of paint that reaches landfills and incinerators from both consumers and manufacturers.

LiquiGlide’s coating for paint and paint colorants was tested with more than 30 unique paint formulations and colors. The primary coating research included testing water-based paints and colorants on coated high-density polyethylene (HDPE) surfaces.

Key facts about LiquiGlide for paint and paint colorants include:

  • Safety – LiquiGlide contains no VOCs (volatile organic compounds).
  • Zero Product Impact – LiquiGlide has no impact on paint performance.
  • Durability – LiquiGlide withstands rigorous paint shaking, stirring and transportation.
  • Longevity – LiquiGlide has a shelf life of more than 16 months.
  • Customizability – LiquiGlide is customizable for each individual application to meet the needs of different paintformulations and surface materials.
  • Scalability – LiquiGlide can be applied using a spray-on process with equipment costs of approximately $150,000 per production line.
  • Odorless – LiquiGlide is completely odorless.
  • Recyclability – LiquiGlide has no effect on the paint container recycling.

“We’ve been working with several of the major manufacturers in the paint industry and we expect to see LiquiGlide for paint and paint colorants used in production lines this year and in commercial products within the next 18 months,” said LiquiGlide CEO, Dave Smith.

The companies hosts videos of LiquiGlide for paint in action.


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Gary Mintchell

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