Past opportunity

Wear-resistant Coating Solutions with Autoliv

Electroplating
Protective coating
Innovative surface treatment

Industry

Automotive safety

Revenue

2020

$7.4B

Employees

2020

68,000

Countries

2020

27+

About

As ecological footprint rises in importance for the automotive industry, the ambition is to find alternatives to electroplated surfaces on steel safety components. A nickel-chromium layer on a seatbelts buckle, for example, has a unique wear-resistance and appearance. However, the manufacturing process requires many chemicals and is energy intensive. Additionally, today’s cars have many options to customize the interior design – the safety belt has always looked nearly the same. We are looking for new types of surface treatments that maintain no-compromise performance including corrosion protection and ideally would offer exciting new appearance options for the seatbelt buckle.

Opportunity overview

The vision is to develop a new generation coating technique for seatbelt’s metal parts to replace the current nickel-chromium. The surface treatment method must match the seatbelt tongue’s high performance requirements without using hexavalent chromium in the process. Interested startups must be able to demonstrate the appearance and performance on physical parts and show scalability of their process in large-scale serial production.

We're open to investigate any surface treatment for high-carbon steel parts: metallic, polymer/paint-based, or ceramic – the challenge is to have a surface that matches or exceeds the scratch-resistance of a nickel-chromium plating. Ideally the solution can also be offered to Autoliv’s customers as a premium product with more design options.

Your opportunity with Autoliv

This project provides the potential for a disruptive change, starting on a very fundamental level, but with the outlook towards a large-scale industrialization. Because of the safety function in a car, Autoliv spans know-how from very deep material science up to large scale industrial manufacturing. Hence, we also have extensive resources in product development.

An interested startup or scaleup must be able to demonstrate fundamental innovation capability and build the vision to scale up to large series production as well as make a no-compromise product. As Autoliv currently produces over 150M seat belt components per year, a fully scaled solution is a huge opportunity for a successful provider. After a successful feasibility phase to ensure our requirements are met, we target to enter the market within 2-3 years.

Focus Areas

Examples of solutions we’re interested in

Wear resistance

Passengers buckle up and unbuckle several times a day. Components must be able to withstand the everyday use without showing signs of wear.

Robust quality in larger series

Demonstrating performance and safety on a single case is only the start. The challenge is to manufacture components with the same level of performance, in a consistent way for very large series.

New design options

There have been many innovations in seat belts systems, nonetheless, the visible components in the car interior have seen few design changes over the years. Today, customers expect more options for customization in the car interior.