by Rob Keys
Posted 10/29/2012 11:14 am
Updated 7 months ago
Big things are happening at NanoMech Inc.
The Springdale-based nanotechnology manufacturer officially has opened a national investment round aimed at raising about $5 million, and soon will announce an expansion that includes a new, $1.3 million building adjacent to its existing facility. The Springdale Chamber of Commerce will orchestrate a groundbreaking ceremony for the new 11,000-SF building — which will feature a roughly 70-30 split of factory and corporate headquarters space — later this fall.
The building is expected to be completed within three to five months, and will alleviate overcrowding of both employees and equipment at NanoMech’s current 8,000-SF manufacturing space.
“Every inch has been taken up,” CEO Jim Phillips said during a recent tour.
Phillips also said the new facility will “be principally for the production of nGlide and TriboTuff.”
A suite of additive lubricants designed to reduce friction and enhance durability and performance, nGlide includes products such as TriboTuff and nTribo. TriboTuff is added to grease, while nTribo is an additive for motor oil that NanoMech expects to begin marketing later this year.
“It’s almost like discovering an oil field in Arkansas,” Phillips said. “This changes everything.”
“If I take the oil and I extend the life of it 10 years or 100 years, I’ve just re-invented the oil,” added Ajay Malshe, NanoMech’s founder, executive vice president and chief technology officer.
“Using the science for the good of humankind is the end game.”
Before NanoMech can ramp up its production of its nGlide platform products, however, it must wait for the construction of its new facility. In addition to the new building, a water feature will be added to give the two facilities more of a “campus” feel, Phillips said.
The company currently employs 25, but both Phillips and Malshe said that number could grow to 100 in 2013. NanoMech already has added a night shift, and is expecting increased demand for its newer products like TriboTuff and nTribo.
“Today we could walk into AutoZone, and every lubricant up there, we can improve,” Phillips said. “Every single one we can improve drastically.”
Phillips declined to give specific figures for the privately held company, but said NanoMech continues to record “revenues in the millions.”
Those revenues have been bolstered by the success of products such as TuffTek, a coating with applications for a variety of cutting tools and wear parts. Moving into the oil and grease industry with products like those in the nGlide suite, though, opens a significantly larger market.
“That might be a $50 billion market, cutting tools. This is kind of immeasurable,” Phillips said of oil and grease.
Thus the need for the national investment round, which will be NanoMech’s second in the past 18 months.
“That money went into both research and development, and production, and that’s where it’s supposed to go,” Phillips said. “The next round is going into sales and marketing — production jobs and sales and marketing jobs.”