MASSILLON, OHIO The coronavirus pandemic has helped push Tesla NanoCoatings toward a new group of potential customers.
Some of those customers are right here in Northeast Ohio.
Carbon nanotubes used in products made by Tesla NanoCoatings combine and create a barrier that protects surfaces from abrasions. The company also developed a system that dries faster and needs only two coats, reducing the time needed to apply protective coatings.
“It’s almost like a metallic coating when it cures. It behaves like a metallic coating,” Todd Hawkins, founder and chief executive officer, said of the company’s product.
Some of the world’s leading oil and gas drilling companies use the product to protect surfaces on off-shore drilling platforms, ships and processing facilities.
But the coronavirus pandemics forced off-shore rig operators to reduce the number of employees stationed at a site. Fewer employees led to a reduction in the amount of maintenance work that could be done on the platforms. It also sliced demand for products made Tesla NanoCoatings.
Additionally, five hurricanes and other storms churning through the Gulf of Mexico had crews leaving platforms as a safety precaution.
Hawkins said Tesla NanoCoatings has worked with its oil industry customers and expects to see business rebound.
Meanwhile, the slowdown with oil customers has created time for the company to research other opportunities, Hawkins said. The company has begun talking with heavy equipment manufacturers and companies involved with trucking and transportation.
“We have a lot of opportunities in our own backyard,” Hawkins said, although he couldn’t identify the potential customers Tesla NanoCoatings has contacted.
Joseph Barone, vice president of marketing who has ties with Ohio’s oil and gas industry, said processing facilities constructed in the Utica Shale region could benefit from the company’s products. A possible site would be the ethane cracker plant being developed in Belmont County by PTTGC America LLC, a Thailand-based company.
Using Tesla NanoCoating products with the industrial equipment could be “a great value proposition,” Barone said, noting the product’s ability to block corrosion, protect metals and serve as a non-skid surface.
The company has corporate offices, research and development operations, and a warehouse in Massillon, while making its coatings at a facility in Akron. There is a second warehouse in Louisiana and distribution in Saudi Arabia and Nigeria.
Tesla NanoCoatings also has worked to protect its product technology, seeking and receiving patents in several countries outside the United States and Canada.
“We’re trying to protect our turf as best we can,” Hawkins said.