Spring Special Edition 2022

‘We Believe Our Fluorine-Free, Surface Protection Technologies Outperform Everything in the Market’: Taymur Ahmad, CEO of actnano

“Advanced nanoGUARD is setting new standards for electronics protection with its fluorine-free water and environmental resistant nanocoating technology”

Every day, electronics are being used in new and different applications. They serve many different functions from creating toys and entertainment, to safety critical uses like automatic braking in vehicles. These diverse applications expose the electronics to numerous environments which can affect how they perform. With the continued advancements and growing complexities of the circuit boards within the electronics, the process of protecting these electronics from their varying environments has also grown more complex.

actnano specializes in innovative surface protection technologies to help ensure electronics perform correctly even in the harshest environments. The company is setting a new standard for electronics protection with its commercialized water and environmentally resistant nanocoating technology, Advanced nanoGUARD™. Unlike traditional coatings, the company's eco-friendly, surface protection technologies provide 100 percent, 3-D coverage allowing electronics manufacturers to safeguard their devices for the first time comprehensively. With scalable, turnkey solutions that seamlessly integrate into existing manufacturing lines, the demand for actnano’s technology is growing rapidly with leading automotive and consumer electronics manufacturers.

Taymur Ahmad, CEO of actnano, spoke to The Silicon Review about how his company is bringing together everything that the future of electronics protection requires.

Reinventing the Nanocoating Sector

Mobility has changed significantly in recent years with the integration of many automated driver assistance systems (ADAS) and the shift to electrification. Traditional coating technologies, however, have not evolved accordingly. They are not able to cover the entire printed circuit board assembly (PCBA), leaving holes in the protection system. They are not able to be applied on connectors because they do not allow a connection to be made through them. They are not able to be applied on processors because processors tend to run hot and traditional coatings can trap the heat inside causing them to fail. They are not able to be applied on the antennas because they can dampen the wifi or Bluetooth signals, affecting how the devices communicate with the internet or each other. They also contain fluorine, which is not safe for the environment or for the operators who apply them.

actnano was founded to address these shortcomings. Their path to becoming a leader in nanocoatings began in 2012. With considerable research and input from their team of scientists, experts and academia, the company has accomplished what it set out to do. The company has developed an innovative, fluorine-free, surface protection technology that provides 100 percent coverage, does not trap heat, does not impact signal integrity, and uses human-safe, sustainable materials.

Taymur Ahmad stated, “I am extremely proud of the effort made by the entire actnano team to bring this vision to reality. This year actnano will celebrate its 10-year anniversary, as well as how we are now protecting electronics sustainably, in many of the world’s top automotive and consumer brands.”

Advanced nanoGUARD™: Providing 100% 3-D Protection

actnano's proprietary product nanoGUARD provides protection from water, condensation, humidity, and salt. It can be applied directly to the entire printed circuit board assembly (PCBA), including connectors, antennas, LEDs, and high-heat generating components. It can be applied to flexible printed circuits that have a 180-degree bend. nanoGUARD provides up to IPx8 protection, and it is easily integrated into existing manufacturing lines. It provides 100 percent condensation protection and can protect against sweat, and meets all IPC-830 standards.

Other advantages of nanoGUARD include:

  • nanoGUARD is human-safe and helps actnano’s customers achieve their sustainability goals. PCBAs with nanoGUARD can be re-worked if necessary, reducing manufacturing waste. Other coatings are not capable of re-work, which means they would need to be discarded in the event of an error. In addition, nanoGUARD doesn't contain any harmful fluorine or halogen compounds typically found in automotive coatings and is produced with sustainable materials.
  • nanoGUARD simplifies the manufacturing process, saving time and money; because nanoGUARD allows for electrical conductivity at the connection points after application, it can coat the entire board, including connectors and antennas, eliminating the need for masking. This can be a real-time and cost savings for the customer. It removes the extra steps needed to apply and remove the mask, reducing labor costs as well.
  • nanoGUARD improves the overall manufacturing footprint. With no need for keep-out areas – masking applications and removal stations can be removed from the production line, opening precious floor space for other uses.

Taymur Ahmad said, "We believe our fluorine-free, surface protection technologies outperform everything in the market. Advanced nanoGUARD was created to protect electronics, printed circuit board assemblies (PCBAs) specifically, in a safer and more complete manner than traditional coatings. We are unique in that we are the only coating for PCBAs that can protect the entire board as well as underneath large components/processors while still allowing for connectivity."

"When a circuit board is exposed to water, it can malfunction. Only nanoGUARD can provide 100 percent protection of circuit boards because we can cover the entire board. Other coatings need to mask certain areas because they cannot connect or 'plug in' directly through the coating, which leaves some areas vulnerable and exposed. As we transition toward autonomous vehicles, this could have tragic results if an exposed area fails, causing systems to malfunction and resulting in an accident," the CEO emphasized.


The Road Ahead

Because electronics continue to evolve rapidly, actnano is very responsive to the changing needs of their customers. The company is always innovating and improving and routinely requests input from their customers to learn what needs they anticipate or what is on their wish lists. actnano scientists then work to develop solutions based upon this feedback, as well as their own insight into what the next generation of coatings should accomplish.

“Customer feedback and input helps drive our business,” Ahmad further added, "We are currently protecting electronics on over two million production vehicles, and our goal is to nanoGUARD every vehicle. We believe nanoGUARD is superior to every other coating on the market, and because of this, it can save lives. Competitive coatings contain toxic chemicals which are harmful to the environment and the operators that apply them. actnano is intent on creating a better coating that is human-safe and has a positive impact on climate. As the rate of global electrification increases, our reliance on electronics to do everything from drive our cars to answer our doorbells grows. The number of electronics used in critical operations is rising dramatically. We must do everything we can to ensure maximum safety and reliability of these systems."

"While we are currently focused on the mobility space and ensuring that families stay safe as our cars are getting smarter, we also provide complete protection for many consumer electronics and smart home applications, including mobile devices, headphones, smartwatches, video doorbells, security systems, smart meters, and more. In addition, we are planning to expand our services into other substrates, including fabrics and glass. We are adding to our global team, including expanding into Mexico to support our customers there. We are also growing our teams in China and Europe, and will be opening a Center of Excellence in Germany later this year," extols Taymur Ahmad.

The Visionary Leader at the Helm of actnano

Taymur Ahmad is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of actnano. Prior to founding actnano in 2012, Mr. Ahmad had nearly 20 years of manufacturing management experience with Fortune 500 companies such as Alcoa and Philips Electronics. He is a member of the Forbes Business Council and is a regular contributor on His success stories have been featured in numerous industry-leading publications such as NBC’s Start Me Up, John McElroy’s Autoline, Automotive Industries magazine, and USA Today.

Among other accolades, Mr. Ahmad has been awarded “Visionary of the Year” by Surface Mount Technology magazine and chosen as one of the top 50 CEOs in the world by Dell’s Center for Entrepreneurs.

He is a member of the Dell Founders 50 and the Philips Alumni Club and a long-time volunteer for Youth Advocate Program International. Mr. Ahmad is proficient in 5 languages. He earned his MBA from Business School Lausanne in Switzerland and his engineering degree from the University of Iowa.

“nanoGUARD can provide 100 percent protection of circuit boards because we can cover the entire board.”

“We are the only coating for PCBAs that can protect the entire board and underneath large components/processors while still allowing for connectivity.”