University of Akron startup acquired - company develops coatings that decrease friction and protect surfaces


Business assets of Akron Surface Technologies Inc. (ASTI), a startup from The University of Akron (UA), were acquired by IBC Coatings Technologies of Lebanon, Indiana. IBC assumes responsibility for furthering the development of mutual business interests for a range of high-performance coating technologies.

Formed in 2012, ASTI developed and produced engineered surface solutions using proprietary coating technologies licensed from UA Professor Gary Doll and the UA Timken Engineered Surfaces Laboratories. This technology included hard coatings that decrease friction and protect metal surfaces from both wear and corrosion. Prior to this acquisition, the company, led by Max Lewis and Jim Feder, provided coating services to several large industrial companies.

IBC provides advanced surface treatments for applications requiring significant wear and corrosion resistance. The company’s innovative processes are based on low-pressure plasma and thermo-chemical reactions and have been used with exceptional results for over 25 years. IBC serves customers in multiple industries including automotive, aerospace, agriculture, oil and gas, power generation, nuclear, tool and die, metal forming, military and defense, and food processing.

“IBC Coatings is strategically positioned to expand the customer base for the technologies we developed at ASTI and UA,” Doll said. “IBC Coatings has a range of complementary technologies and strong market connections, which is what convinced us they were the right company to take ASTI’s business assets forward.”

Doll’s expertise and industrial experience was crucial to the development of the commercially-relevant technologies licensed to ASTI. Prior to joining UA, Doll was the chief technologist of tribology and advanced materials at The Timken Company and his UA lab was established through a novel “open innovation” agreement entered into between UA and Timken.

Developed with the support of UA’s College of Engineering, Timken, National Machine Group, and the University of Akron Research Foundation (UARF), ASTI received funding from both UARF’s Spark Fund and the Ohio Third Frontier Technology Validation & Startup Fund to develop and test its technology with industrial partners.

Media contact: Cristine Boyd, 330-972-6476 or