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Oerlikon engineers materials, equipment and surfaces to enable customers’ products to have high-performance functions and an extended lifespan. The Group is committed to continually investing and delivering valued technologies, products and services for customers to meet challenges in their markets. For instance, Oerlikon helps cars and airplanes use less fuel, makes tools last longer and saves energy in the manufacturing of textiles. A Swiss company with over 100 years of tradition, Oerlikon operates its business in three Segments Surface Solutions, Manmade Fibers and Drive Systems. It has a global footprint of around 15 000 employees at 186 locations in 37 countries and sales of CHF 2.8 billion in 2017.

A world market leader for solutions and systems used to manufacture manmade fibers. Over 95 years of competence in enabling customers to produce synthetic fibers, which are processed into clothing, carpets, furnishings, airbags, safety belts, industrial textiles and geotextiles.

Manmade Fibers Segment
  • Order intake: +40.4 % increase CHF 810 million
  • Sales: +53.8 % increase to CHF 740 million
  • EBITDA margin:  7.7 %
  • Sites: 13
  • Employees: 2 496
  • R&D expenses: CHF 22 million

The apparel and industrial textile market was a CHF 12.6 billion market in 2017. Within this broad market, Oerlikon’s Manmade Fibers Segment’s targeted market totaled 1.9 billion in 2017, which includes textile filaments, staple fibers, bulked continuous filament (BCF – carpet yarn), nonwovens and polycondensation solutions, centering in regions including China, India, Bangladesh, Western Europe, Turkey, the Americas, Middle East and CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States). In addition to manufacturing systems (including spinning and texturizing) and the full-scale design and project management of polycondensation plants, the Segment also offers engineering solutions and comprehensive customer services. The overall filament equipment market is expected to experience growth over the next two to three years. Looking at it from a five-year perspective, the market should see some consolidation and adjustments as a result of the ramp-up in equipment and production capacity. To address this, the Segment will continue to strengthen its market and technology leadership through innovations and improved products, while building up its customer services and leveraging digital Industry 4.0 technologies. In addition, it will continue to expand its market share in its other product lines such as staple fibers and BCF, while establishing a stronger foothold in growth businesses such as nonwovens.

Development in industrial markets

The Segment holds a leading technology and market position in the filament equipment market, with a market share approximating 45 %. It derives most of its revenue from China, where its largest filament customers are based. Following two challenging years and exacerbated by China’s economic slowdown, market dynamics changed in 2017. Key market players consolidated and positioned themselves to meet future demand, which translated to investments. As a result, the Segment saw its textile filament equipment orders and sales increase substantially in 2017, mainly in China, and supported by large customer orders in India and Turkey, as well as new customer wins in South America. Sales in the other manmade fiber markets also experienced strong growth in 2017, with BCF equipment seeing good demand in the USA and Turkey and healthy demand was noted for staple fibers globally. To capture exciting growth opportunities in the nonwoven market, the Segment has created a dedicated nonwoven business unit and entered a partnership with Teknoweb Materials in Italy to add disposable nonwovens solutions to its offering.

Development in regions

China remains the largest market for the Manmade Fibers Segment, with 45 % of its 2017 sales generated in China. The Segment achieved strong growth in China due to close customer relationships and the recovery in demand for filament equipment. During the year, the Segment delivered its first DTY (Drawn Texturized Yarn) machine, eAFK HQ, to a key customer in China and secured an order for a filament spinning plant for special yarns, including polycondensation equipment. India accounted for 15 % of Manmade Fibers Segment sales in 2017. The sizeable local textile industry is an important source of business for the Segment, which is focused on increasing customer service activities at customers’ plants. Europe remained a stable contributor to the Manmade Fibers Segment’s sales, accounting for 20 % of the Segment’s sales in 2017. Business was mainly driven by filaments, nonwovens and customer services, as well as good demand in Turkey for filaments, staple fibers and BCF. The Manmade Fibers Segment saw a positive trend in texturing technologies (DTY) for installed-based partially oriented yarn (POY) systems and for bulked continuous filaments systems (BCF) for carpet yarn applications in the USA. North America accounted for 7 % of the Segment’s 2017 sales.

Strengthening technology portfolio

Among the many 2017 technological innovations are WINGS POY 1800, which boosts productivity of yarn production by 20 % using the same production space, and has already recorded first wins of large orders in several markets. For synthetic stable fiber spinning for polyester, the Segment developed and introduced a process optimization solution that is more efficient and helps improve fiber quality. The Segment also introduced several new polyester staple (PSF) solutions, a new electro-charging unit for meltblown systems, which offers high flexibility when charging fibers and has lower basis weights and tenacities, and a new FAUS system control operating unit that enables comprehensive automation of meltblown systems.