The 2016 Washington Manufacturing Awards: Innovation

Large Firms winner: Modumetal; Small Firms winner: Floral Soil
| FROM THE PRINT EDITION |
 
 
 
Manufacturing Innovation: Large Firms
Modumetal
Seattle › modumetal.com
 
Corrosion poses huge expense exposure and risk for everyone. Components wear away until they fail, sometimes catastrophically. Modumetal has a potential solution: nanolayered materials designed to be stronger, lighter, more durable and more corrosion resistant than conventional metals. 
 
Modumetal uses an electrochemical process to build coatings virtually from the molecular level up, but at or near room temperature and at a cost competitive with other materials currently in use. One industry keenly interested in Modumetal’s technology is oil and gas, which has a lot of infrastructure operating in tough, corrosion-prone environments. The industry has backed up that interest by putting money into the company and testing Modumetal’s materials on fasteners, pumps, valves and pipes.
 
In 2014, Modumetal opened a production facility in Woodinville. Last August, it closed an expansion round of investment that will be used to build out its manufacturing capability to support the growing demand by the oil and gas sector. 

Manufactruing Innovation: Small Firms
Floral Soil
Everett › floralsoilsolutions.com

Floral foams are used for flower arranging and transport, but it’s a material that dates from the mid-1950s, doesn’t naturally biodegrade and, because of health concerns, is facing bans in some markets. 
 
Floral Soil has an alternative, one it hopes to be first to market. It’s a nontoxic material derived from coconut husk waste that does what phenol formaldehyde does to hold flowers in place and provide them water, but can be reused and, when added to soil, decomposes into an organic material that helps to restore soil nutrients.
 
Floral Soil was cooked up in the kitchen of Mickey Blake, who is the CEO of Mt. Baker Bio, a previous honoree of Seattle Business magazine. Blake has big plans for the company: expanding employment to 10; continuing pilot tests in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Belgium and Australia; rolling out Floral Soil Kraft, a kit for do-it-yourself gardeners and flower arrangers (to be available in Pacific Northwest nurseries and boutiques this year); and developing new products like compostable flower transport containers. 
 

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