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Sustainable surface treatment

Center for a sustainable surface treatment industry: SurfCenter

Today, when sustainability issues are more relevant than ever, how does the Swedish surface treatment industry meet the sustainability challenges? How can we reduce the footprint of our processes? How can we promote the use of surface treatments as a tool for sustainable development? And maybe the most important question - how do we do it together?

Sustainability has traditionally been a prioritized area for the surface treatment industry. The nature of the processes and materials involved pushes the sector forward in the search of new and improved alternatives to achieve more environmentally friendly production systems and to comply with new and increasing regulations without undermining quality and costs. Today, this type of initiative is often handled as individual, separate projects, in small constellations. However, with the increased need for a rapid change and transition to meet the climate challenge and goals for a reduced environmental footprint, a significantly more efficient approach is required.

During 2021, RISE initiated an effort to set-up a competence centre for a sustainable surface treatment industry: SurfCenter. Together with a group of partners, RISE worked to involve new actors and developed the contents for the center, its roadmap and its organisation. The work resulted in a grant application to Vinnova's call "Competence Centers within Sustainable industry and Digital Transformation". The application was submitted the 1st of March 2023, and in August 2023 Vinnova will announce which competence centres are granted and will be able to start.

The competence centre will be formed by a group of actors, with a common vision and strategic idea for building a long-term excellent research environment where the results can be shared between the parties and promote the creation of new innovations. The purpose with SurfCenter is to be a comprehensive effort to overcome the sustainability challenges (economical, social and ecological), faced by the surface treatment industry with a long-term perspective of ten years. By bringing together research institutes, universities, and companies (from OEMs to SMEs), SurfCenter will be a centre for excellent research focused on developing the best available technologies for rapid incorporation into production lines and looking over the entire life cycle of the processes at issue.

SurfCente's partners

The SurfCenter planning project was led by RISE in partnership with Volvo AB, Scania, IKEA of Sweden, SAAB AB, Provexa Technology, Ionbond, Svensk Pulverlackteknisk Förening, Svensk Ytbehandlingsförening, Linköping University, Fraunhofer-Chalmers Center, and IVL Svenska miljöinstitutet. During 2022, new partners were engaged and became part of the consortium: University West, Nautrvårdsverket, Volvo Cars, Azelio, IGP Powder, Stena Recylcing, Element Material Technology, Nyli Metrology och Svetskommissionen (AG42c Thermal spray).  

What will SurfCenter offer?

The vision is that SurfCenter will gather applied R&D in the surface treatment area with focus on the needs of Swedish companies for a sustainable and resilient development. We see a center where experts within sustainability, circular economy and life cycle analysis collaborate with process and material specialists to overcome the challenges of this industry, ensure the Swedish competitiveness in the global scale, and, in the long run, keep the production in Sweden.

The centre will enable this through:

  • Access to test beds at institutes, universities and companies
  • Initiate and implement projects according to the impact logic hatched in the planning phase
  • Initiation and implementation of PhD studies
  • Close collaboration within the partnership

More information about the planned organisation and roadmap for SurfCenter can be found in the downloadable content below.

What happens now?

SurfCenter will focus on general issues such as reducing the CO2 footprint, reducing the use of energy and resources, complying with new regulations, substitution of fossil-based materials for biobased materials, circularity of surface treated components, etc. by identifying the particular challenges associated to the surface treatment industry. For this, some questions we need to answer are: what the current technologies/processes being used are, what type of sustainability effect do we expect, what possible solutions exist, what type of competence and partnerships are needed?

Additional information


Project name

Planning project - SurfCenter



RISE role in project


Project start


1,5 year

Total budget

1 500 000 SEK


RISE, FCC, LiU, Volvo AB, Scania, IKEA, SAAB, Provexa Technology, Ionbond, IVL, SPF, SYF


Kompetenscentrum inom Hållbar industri och Digital omställning 2024, Planeringsbidrag Kompetenscentrum Hållbar Industri - 2021

Project members

Supports the UN sustainability goals

5. Gender equality
6. Clean water and sanitation
8. Decent work and economic growth
9. Industry, innovation and infrastructure
12. Responsible consumption and production
Charlotte Ireholm

Contact person

Charlotte Ireholm


+46 10 228 47 44

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Cecilia Goyenola

Contact person

Cecilia Goyenola


+46 70 780 62 17

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