In Portugal, as in many developed countries, Surface Engineering (SE) was almost always treated as an additional area that served, either scientifically, technologically or industrially, to “help” improve the performance of a material or specific component. Moreover, in very few cases, the non-industrial entities of SI&I system, or the industrial companies, thought in SE as a way to develop and manufacture products in the form of thin films. In either situation, the performance of companies and non-industrial entities of SI&I system, was almost always made of an uncoordinated manner, without taking advantage of the increasing expertise and knowledge that were available. However, this disjointed approach is far from efficient and bringing economic value to the country.
SE began to be the obvious solution for materials applied to components that required increasing functionality. This situation often required antagonistic properties that could not be satisfied with one material. Modifying the surface of these materials could locally confer valence to the final product that did not interfere with the behaviour of the base material, contributing to significantly increase overall component performance.
The On-SURF intends to associate companies and institutions of RTD system to collaborate in a specific area/sector, contributing to its development and increasing its competitiveness in national and international markets. This Mobilizer differentiates itself with the creation of sustained knowledge, which is transversal to several economic sectors and competitiveness clusters, of vital importance for the country.
The surface engineering and advanced technical coatings can be considered as the link between various sectors: Automotive, Aeronautics, Tools & Moulds, Health and Electronics capable of extending the life of components and tools used by these sectors or providing products/tools non-existent properties in materials that are not surface treated, promoting increased performance/efficiency for specific applications.
Thus, is too obvious that industries in the above mentioned sectors need a strong investment in surface/coating engineering to improve their tools and/or products to compete in a global market, that is becoming increasingly innovative and focused on efficient innovation strategies and industry 4.0.