Smart Surfaces

Today we see our lives as a series of experiences as users, consumers, customers, or designers. Everywhere we look, surfaces are becoming increasingly connected and interactive, creating objects and products that provide meaningful, relevant experiences. In this connected world, smart surfaces –those capable of responding to external or internal stimuli, represent one of the most exciting and emerging areas of interest, with outstanding industrial applications. This is the case of automotive interiors, where surfaces are designed to seamlessly integrate haptic effects and display information, lighting and heating in a unified surface, delivering a superior user (UX) and customer (CX) experience.

Smart surfaces combine materials science, connectivity and digitalisation, with the aim of obtaining surfaces that interact with the environment. They incorporate sensors, lighting, electronics, etc., and are designed, processed, treated and characterised using disruptive digital technologies, such as AI, Big data, IoT, modelling and simulation, or visual computing. When required, they provide information and react to environmental stimuli. When integrated into plastic, metal, textiles or even wood, they bridge the gap between function and design.

Why smart surfaces?

Smart surfaces endow materials with intelligence, providing new functions that respond to both current and future needs. They can generate light, measure environmental parameters, detect the onset of corrosion, monitor temperature, etc.

But in almost all cases, the goal of smart surfaces is to provide functionality while reducing weight, space, cost or complexity.

What do we offer?

CIDETEC Surface Engineering works on developing smart surfaces, integrating new digitalisation and connectivity concepts to the field of surface engineering.

Our developments are aimed at:

Metallic surfaces with transparency to ADAS systems (radar, cameras, or LIDAR)

Back-illuminated metallic surfaces for decoration

Deposition of conductive tracks and layers

Printed electronics

Stimuli-responsive surfaces: anti-microbial, electrochromic, self-healing, photocatalytic, etc.

Design of sensors and non-destructive methods for surface inspection and control

Who is it for?

For the whole smart industry value chain: chemical suppliers, surface finishing, parts and component manufacturers, end-users/OEMs.

End users:




Oil & Gas



Consumer goods

You name
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Our capabilities and infrastructure

CIDETEC Surface Engineering has state-of-the-art knowledge and capability, and an extensive technological surface engineering offer in order to enhance the value of materials through the development of smart surfaces.
We have an interdisciplinary team with strong skills and extensive experience in different industrial sectors, capable of carrying out cutting-edge research focused on digitalisation and the connected needs of industrial markets. Our automated, digitally monitored pilot -plant facilities allow solutions to be applied and tested under industrial conditions:

Surface preparation and pre-treatment protocols (chemical, physical, mechanical, etc.) adapted to substrate requirements.

R&D laboratories for the design, synthesis and chemical analysis of chemical formulations

Pilot lines:

  • Automated, digitally monitored galvanic pilot plants.
  • Robotised brush plating plant.
  • Robotised aerographic coating unit
  • Inkjet and screen printing unit

R&D laboratories for testing and characterisation of coatings and materials: adhesion, morphology, composition, structure, aesthetics, wettability, roughness, hardness, scratch resistance, corrosion monitoring, etc.

Any questions?