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Advanced materials and processes can create solutions to technological problems, which produce superior results without increasing cost or environmental impact. LumiShield was founded to develop these improved solutions in the area of corrosion-resistant metal products. Existing coatings, such as chromium and cadmium, are both expensive and environmentally harmful. LumiShield technology uses a relatively harmless metal, aluminum, and a process that can be conducted in open vessels at ambient conditions without creating toxic vapors. These qualities allow LumiShield products to be produced less expensively without the historic environmental impacts of metal plating.
LumiShield’s technology takes a process that is expensive and harmful to the environment and makes it inexpensive and nontoxic. This innovation can replace 90% of the corrosion coatings that are currently being used. By commercializing this technology, LumiShield has the potential to eliminate the release of millions of tons of heavy metals into the environment.
Electroplating is the most common method of metal coating. Many manufacturers coat materials with heavy metals, which end up in the environment and water supplies. LumniShield’s technology replaces chromium and cadmium, which are toxic and carcinogenic, as coatings. Europe has already banned cadmium because of its harmful effects. LumiShield’s proprietary solution is inexpensive and allows metal coating in aluminum, which is much safer. Businesses will save money, not only in the less expensive solution, but also in avoided disposal costs. This innovation is a drop-in replacement for manufacturers and electric platers who are currently using chromium and cadmium coatings. Businesses can use all of their existing capital equipment to use this process, which makes this innovation extremely scalable.
The founders of LumiShield had several years of experience in a laboratory, but they wanted to do work that would make a difference. They started the company with the goal “to do interesting research to make important things and see them applied in the real world.” LumiShield was founded with a metal coating technology that they were trying to advance. One day, David’s partner approached him and said that he thought he could come up with an inexpensive way to plate aluminum from aqueous solutions. David walked out thinking it might actually work. If his backers found out that they were shifting focus to a new project, they would not be happy. David knew he had to accept responsibility: “I would take the heat for it if they found out we were doing something that’s supposed to be impossible.” The idea led to a revolutionary change in metal coating.
LumiShield's metal-coating technology reduces the release of heavy metals into the environment and reduces manufacturers' costs through a less expensive solution and no regulated disposal costs.
By focusing on a disruptive innovation, LumiShield is able to offer significantly more applications for their product.
LumiShield’s innovation has the potential to have great environmental and economic benefits. Once commercialized, the process will reduce the release of heavy metals into the environment, leading to a cleaner water supply and improved public health. Also, people will need to use fewer resources toward corrosion, which frees up capital for other areas. Twenty years from now, David hopes that someone would be able to tell him that “thousands of people would’ve died of cancer if you hadn’t bothered to go to engineering school.”
Advances in materials sciences reduce the costs of common objects like houses and cars. Aluminum metal coating can be applied to the aerospace and automobile industries to create high-efficiency vehicles. Furthermore, regulations are forcing manufacturers like the military, who use cadmium, to find alternatives. “We think we might be able to use this technology to reduce the cost of titanium,” David said. It could even lead to titanium vehicles.
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David Luebke, Ph.D., CEO & Founder