Curtiss-Wright in the US has bought Cambridge-based Keronite for $35 million (€35m, £29.5m) in cash.
Keronite is a leading provider of Plasma Electrolytic Oxidation (PEO) surface treatment that provides corrosion protection, wear resistance, thermal protection and electrical insulation for semiconductor manufacturing and industrial vehicles as well as the commercial aerospace and defence markets where Curtiss-Wright is a major player.
The bath-based PEO process produces ceramic layers on light alloys such as aluminium, magnesium and titanium to enhance their performance. As the surface is oxidized, it incorporates an electrolyte to give the coating specialized characteristics that are tailored to the specific application.
This gives the lightweight metals the wear and performance properties of materials such as carbide or steel in a more environmentally-friendly manner for aerospace programmes.
The technology was used on the James Webb telescope launched earlier this year and the company is installing automated production lines in Cambridge and the US.
“We’ve seen a growth in the business from both our UK Technology Hub and our specialist US Manufacturing facility,” said Matt Hamblin, CEO of Keronite earlier this year. “There has definitely been a boost in UK manufacturing, with more UK manufacturers looking at technologies developed in Britain, and we’ve seen a lot of renewed interest in the technology from that.”
“In the US, we’ve seen factories reopen and demand return to pre-pandemic levels, with supply chains returning to their pre-pandemic state, also,” he said.
“We’ve received strong levels of customer engagement in the semiconductor industry, as well as some other industries where our research and development teams are creating invaluable solutions for our customers,” he added. “As well as being able to provide solutions, the scalability of the PEO technology puts us in a unique position to create highly innovative coatings that can radically improve the performance of components at scale.
The company, founded in 2000, has 45 staff and also has an operation in Greenwood, Indiana. It is expected to generate sales of approximately $9 million in 2022 as part of the Aerospace & Industrial segment of Curtiss-Wright. This is up 50% from the turnover in 2021, says Hamblin.
“The acquisition of Keronite increases the breadth of our surface treatment services portfolio with unique and complementary coatings technologies recognized for their critical performance in severe service environments,” said Lynn M. Bamford, Chair and CEO of Curtiss-Wright. “The combination of this business with Curtiss-Wright’s long-standing customer relationships and global sales channels provides strong alignment to the strategic priorities as highlighted at our 2021 investor day and is expected to yield significant opportunities for long-term profitable growth.”
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