Nanotechnology: Start-up NAVATO picks up speed

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Navato Aerospace is a green start-up in the field of nanotechnology. Director and founder is Hans G. Dahn, co-founders are Miriam Janke and Jörg Praetorius. Navato was founded with the clear goal of providing coating-free nanotechnology solutions for different industries. The independent subsidiary Navato Aerospace GbR is revolutionising the aeronautics and space sector for aircraft, satellite, launcher and ship materials.

The idea for the process is based on over ten years of research and development activities. Lasers create permanent, coating-free structures on solid surfaces. Customers can select freely their desired surface properties (from 1 nm), for example in the field of adhesion – or friction reduction. These structures are generated athermally. Customers can drop off their products at Navato for surface restructuring or integrate the relevant machines in their own production process.

Navato Aerospace is a start-up in the field of material science optimisation for aerospace applications. Pictured f.l.t.r.: Petra Oetken (Bremer Aufbau-Bank), Hans G Dahn (Navato Aerospace), Jörg Praetorius (Navato Aerospace), Holger Oelze (AVIASPACE BREMEN e.V.), Miriam Janke (Navato Aerospace) and Carolina Gomez (AVIASPACE BREMEN e.V. and Project Coordinator ESA BIC NG).

Background: In industry, coatings are applied to materials in order to produce certain properties. However, such coatings also have disadvantages, as they usually peel off over time. Dangerous nanoparticles get into the environment and then (due to their cellular mobility) into the human body. Another disadvantage is that coatings have to be renewed after removal = a cost and safety factor. Navato’s technology can prevent both. That is why the dedicated team is working on an environmentally friendly, athermal process that can permanently change material properties such as hardness, conductivity, adhesion, etc. in the desired direction by structuring the surface.

Navato has successfully manufactured the first sample pieces since being founded in August 2020. The plan is to offer surface structuring on larger surfaces from September 2021 onwards. The plan is to apply the process to lots of different materials. Miriam Janke: “Our potential customers come from the aerospace, automotive, shipbuilding and medical technology sectors. Since November 2020, renewable energies have been added as the newest target segment, and at the same time, initial contacts have been made in the field of quantum computing. The demand is very high in all markets, but unfortunately there are hardly any companies that can offer corresponding solutions. We have already had our first promising talks with executives and technical decision-makers from leading large companies.”

The biggest learning of the start-up phase?

Miriam Janke: “Firstly: Think big! The appropriate mindset is everything when founding. Secondly, founding with co-founders is so much more fun. And if something doesn’t work out right away, you have people around you who understand you 100% and support you in overcoming the challenge together.”

 

Pitch session with Hans G. Dahn and Miriam Janke (both Navato Aerospace).

Navato’s biggest success so far? The Navato management team considers the biggest success so far being accepted into the ESA Business Incubation Centre Northern Germany just two months after being founded, in October 2020. The next goals of the young company include pushing ahead with a research project and the establishment of Navato Aerospace as an independent subsidiary supported by the ESA BIC cooperation and the state of Bremen.

Miriam Janke: “What is particularly important to me personally is to support women in space and technology. Because there are far too few of us!”Navato’s biggest success so far? The Navato management team considers the biggest success so far being accepted into the ESA Business Incubation Centre Northern Germany just two months after being founded, in October 2020. The next goals of the young company include pushing ahead with a research project and the establishment of Navato Aerospace as an independent subsidiary supported by the ESA BIC cooperation and the state of Bremen. Miriam Janke: “What is particularly important to me personally is to support women in space and technology. Because there are far too few of us!”

 

About ESA BIC Northern Germany
The ESA Business Incubation Centre (BIC) Northern Germany is headquartered at the BITZ, within Bremen’s largest business and technology centre for high-tech companies and startups. ESA BIC Northern Germany will bring new opportunities to the region and therefore strengthen Bremen’s aeronautics and space sector. It complements the existing aeronautics and space innovation cluster association AVIASPACE and is supported by “Starthaus”, a financial guide for new businesses and startups. ESA BIC Northern Germany is managed by AZO, an international networking and branding company for the European space programmes that also manages ESA BIC Bavaria with three locations in southern Germany. In the future, ESA BIC NG, is set to expand to the northern states of Hamburg, Lower Saxony, Schleswig-Holstein, Mecklenburg-West Pomerania and Berlin-Brandenburg.

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