After more than ten years of research at the Institute of Ceramics of Galicia, Carmen Cerecedo and Víctor Valcárcel created Neoker S.L., a spin-out born in the heart of the University of Santiago de Compostela (USC) and dedicated to the industrial production of new materials for the aerospace industry, aeronautics, and high performance automobiles, among other applications. Concretely, their innovation is based in the development of a ceramic material in the form of fibre, the characteristics of which permit the fabrication of composites with a metallic, ceramic, or polymer base that are ultralight reinforcement materials with a multitude of applications.


fibres of aluminium had been conducted on the laboratory scale but Neoker was the first and only company that achieved producing the product on a pilot scale; the industrial scale will depend on the demand. The obtained material is very resistant both for its toughness and resistance as well as for its thermal and chemical stability which makes it advisable in high value-added applications, principally in motors for the aeronautical and aerospace industries, in leading sectors of the automotive industry, or defence.

Thanks to the characteristics of this product designed and produced by Neoker, it has properties that are excellent for application in ballistics as well as the protection of vehicles, air planes, and boats. That it is ideal has also been demonstrated to be relevant to the fabrication of melted metals and materials for insulation from high temperatures in chemically aggressive environments that other alternative materials do not offer.

Today, Neoker are promoting development contracts with research centres and R&D departments of companies with the idea to elaborate demonstrative pieces with properties that will convince clients of the advantage of incorporating the material in their applications as a way to improve performance. Carmen Cerecedo indicated that, although we are still a small company, “we havegreat potential. We are presenting a completely innovative product, we do not renew or reform which, at times, makes it difficult to enter the market she recognised.

The combination of the aluminium fibres that Neoker mixes with fabrics permitted them to add properties. In that way, they work in collaboration with the defence sector on the fabrication of bullet-proof and knife­proof vests. The company have agreements with other companies, technological centres, and universities at the national and international levels.

In 2004, the project for the production of mono-crystalline fibres made of alpha­aluminium was selected by three Galician universities and the High Council of Scientist Research (CSIC) along with the General Management of Business Promotion of the Regional Government of Galicia in order to create a technologically-­based business. Later, Neoker became a project subsidised under the program, Neotec Initiatives, of the Centre for Industrial Technological Development (CDTI). The Galician Institute for Economic Promotion (IGAPE) and the Galician Service for Industrial Property (SEGAPI) complemented this assistance.

When you innovate, you have the problem that entrance into the market is more complicated. Businesses are conservative and when the product is new, it is difficult to convince them and to achieve that they trust not only in the product but in the company as well. Then the news travels from mouth to mouth: if someone makes a wager for it, the competition is going to want it". Carmen Cerecedo

Priority interest in development

The two managers of the company are proud of its origins and point out the importance of the public financing that has backed them since the beginning. Unirisco and Uninvest were brought into the group of initial promoters in 2006 because these two capital risk entities believed in Neoker’s possibilities. In 2007, one of the most important recognitions occurred: the National Prize for Innovation in the area of industrial technology and materials awarded by the National Company of Innovation (ENISA) at their 25th anniversary, an award that they shared with another Galician company, Nanogap.

Neoker continues to be more concerned with development and searching for solutions than with sales. They know that the fabrication of a product on a large scale will surpass all of the expectations created in the business plan of the company. That is why they dedicate their still low billing and public resources that they obtain to make their product known for its capacity to revolutionise numerous sectors, principally aeronautics and defence. International contacts have already generated agreements with countries such as France, the U.S.A., and Japan.

One of the lines of business for which they stand out is the fabrication of trays with a ceramic support for the transformation of fuel as a combustible in the nuclear sector. Neoker have managed to produce a lower cost and more ecological product than that currently used in this type of combustion. The project financed by the CDTI will end in 2012 but the company located in O Milladoiro (A Coruña) have already achieved that a Russian company have become interested in buying its product.

Víctor and Carmen are a clear example of the tenacity and patience required in the field of innovation business. After many years of research and work, they have been able to give commercial value to the knowledge developed in the university laboratory, shaping it into a business plan and establishing the basis for exporting Galician technology to all of the world. At the moment, they design prototypes so that companies can become aware of the advantages of applying their fibres. Once that these initial agreements bear fruit, they foresee increasing the actual staff of five persons and creating an oven capable of making the product in industrial quantities. They are unique in the world.