I.Q. [Innovation Quotient] award
Millennium Forms LLC
Innovation: Permanently colored stainless steel
Thirteen years ago, Walter Hauk founded Elkhorn-based Millennium Tiles LLC. The company specialized in the production of stainless steel tiles used primarily in the roofing industry. The company was later renamed Millennium Forms to reflect the ever-expanding product line manufactured by the company.
Millennium Forms is the only company in the United States, and one of only three companies in the world, that can permanently color stainless steel.
The company uses a process known as Light Interference Color, which is an electrochemical process that thickens the naturally-occurring chromium oxide on stainless steel.
The clear oxide layer acts like a prism, refracting light and creating color.
Millennium Forms uses LAB color measurements, in a 3-D space, to achieve various colors, including natural, pewter, wheat, bronze, blue, slate, burgundy, purple, peacock and green, among others.
The company has installed Millennium Forms stainless steel all over the world, including Singapore, Alaska, Oregon, Kansas and even right here in southeastern Wisconsin.
The exterior of the new addition on the Milwaukee Art Museum is adorned with Millennium Forms stainless steel panels in a variety of bronze colors.
According to the company, the LIC process creates more artistic variables in color than a uniform static color of paint.
Millennium Forms products turn stainless steel into art and buildings into pieces of art that can change colors depending on the light and angle with which they are viewed, said George Cibon, marketing coordinator.
Over the past year, Millennium Forms has tripled in sales. The company has restructured to reduce waste and improve its processes, facilities and the skills of the employees who work there.