Enabling advanced functionalisation of powder particles 

The ICON project FUNY will investigate whether the existing process to add functionalities to powder coating particles can be made more sustainable. The project proposes to integrate two core technologies for the production of such particles: atmospheric plasma technology and coating reactor technology. This combined technology will open up opportunities for the functionalisation of powder coating particles in a wide variety of applications, and support companies in making their processes more sustainable

Powder coating technologies
Powder coatings are applied in the industry to change the surface properties of all types of products. They can, for example, enhance a product’s adhesion, wettability or corrosion and wear resistance.

Today, the main technology used to add particular functionalities to powder coating particles is based on a wet chemical process. More specifically, a solvent is often evaporated to leave behind a homogeneous shell layer around powder coating particles.

This wet coating process has some drawbacks. First of all, there are environmental concerns as the wet coating process requires solvents and toxic reagents, results in waste solutions, possibly leads to volatile organic compound emissions, and has a relatively high energy consumption. Secondly, this process can also suffer from agglomeration issues, especially with small particle sizes.

A more sustainable solution?
To deal with these drawbacks, the ICON project FUNY will investigate if a more sustainable technology can be used to add functionalities to powder coating particles. The project proposes to integrate two core technologies for the production of such particles. The first is MPG’s atmospheric plasma technology, an emerging technology to chemically modify the surface of materials at the nanometre level. The second is PROCEPT’s coating technology.

Advantages all around
The combined technology proposed by FUNY has advantages all around. It is a one-step process that can be scaled to large volumes. It is more environmentally friendly than traditional powder coating technologies as it is solvent-free, is more energy-efficient and produces less waste. It is operational at ambient temperature, enabling treatment of even the most heat-sensitive powder materials. Finally, the combined technology also has the potential to bring additional benefits by increasing homogeneity, optimising depth of penetration, and adding completely new functionalities to powder coating particles.

Functionalizing powder particles through a combined plasma-fluid bed reactor technology opens opportunities in a wide variety of applications, from the optimalisation of drug carriers (Janssen Pharmaceutica), over the adaption of cellulose esters (Eastman), to improvements in sealants and adhesives (Soudal). Overall, the innovative technology will support industries in making their processes more sustainable.

Project Details
Project type: ICON
Approved on: 18/11/2021
Duration: 01/11/2021-31/10/2023
Total budget: €2.801.965
Subsidy: €2.029.102
Project Partners
FUNY is an innovation project under the umbrella of Catalisti, the spearhead cluster that accelerates innovation into business in Flanders’ chemical and plastics sector. Integrating plasma and coating reactor technologies is a complex endeavour. The FUNY project therefore joins companies and research institutes with expertise in various fields. It includes MPG, PROCEPT, Eastman, Janssen Pharmaceutica and Soudal, as well as research partners KU Leuven, UAntwerpen, UGent and VITO. The project is also supported by Flanders Innovation & Entrepreneurship (VLAIO).
Questions about this project? Please contact catalyst Laura-Lynn Fockaert (