Dow Chemical Co. hopes to find new applications for coating and casting technology developed by Soane Technologies Inc. of Hayward, Calif. Soane claims it has proprietary technology in precision casting, hard coating and controlled tinting for optical components. Dow and Soane officials would not disclose what kinds of polymers form the basis of the technology.
Dow agreed to take an equity position in Soane and to help fund materials research. It also will provide analytical and technical support. The Midland, Mich.-based Dow has an option to license the technology for nonoptical applications while Soane exploits optical uses. Dennis Merens, adviser to Dow's new business development unit, would not disclose details of the agreement.
Dan Joslyn, Soane's president and chief executive officer, said his firm's work is based on research started by David Soane when he was a professor of chemical engineering at the University of California at Berkeley. David Soane and his wife Zoya Soane founded Soane Technologies in 1991 after he resigned from the university. Soane Technologies has been funded by venture capital from Chemicals and Materials Enterprise Associates of San Francisco, Crocker Capital of San Francisco and Medicus Venture Partners of Palo Alto, Calif.
Soane Technologies expects to have commercial applications this year. Its casting methods allow precise production of an ophthalmic lens without grinding steps, according to Joslyn. Its hard coating process is solvent free and computer controlled. Another technique can convert polycarbonate lenses to sun-glasses by providing precise tinting and a separate hard coat layer in 15 minutes.