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Segment Reports

The Surface Solutions Segment’s combined served market totaled CHF 7.2 billion in 2018. Over the next five years, the Segment’s addressable market is expected to grow to around CHF 9.7 billion, reflecting a CAGR of 6.7 %. In 2018, the Segment’s performance was driven by strong order and sales growth. The Segment’s most important markets are automotive, aerospace, general industries, tooling and energy.


The segment saw strong demand from automotive customers in China, India, Japan and South Korea for its physical vapor deposition coatings for injections and piston pins and nitriding solutions for clutch parts and ball pins. The segment successfully entered the chrome-coating automotive market in China with an environmentally friendly plastic metallization solution by securing the first sale of its ePD system, INUBIA 6, to the Shanghai Dafangwuyu Automobile Technology Company. The 
success for ePD was also visible in Europe, with an INUBIA B6 being sold to the Zanini Auto Group, a company specializing in wheel covers for the automotive industry. For its SUMEBore solution, the Segment also succeeded to win several projects with major OEMs such as Volkswagen. The segment has also entered a joint venture with CY Myutec – an automotive parts company in South Korea – to expand its offering to this market.


In 2018, the segment launched a number of new products for automotive customers. In response to strengthening demand for higher efficiency vehicles, BALIFOR T coatings were introduced to provide the best solution for lower viscosity engine oils with new formulations. BALINIT FORMERA aids in the high strength steel car body and structures. A second production and service center was opened in Veľká Ida, Slovakia, targeted mainly at automotive customers. The center provides fully automated processes for nitriding of ball pins to increase the durability of the metal parts and also offers customers Oerlikon Balzers’ environmentally-friendly brake disc solutions with its BALITHERM IONIT OX technology.

General Industries and Tooling

In the general industries market, the segment saw strong growth in global sales specifically in the semiconductor, high-end deco, medical and general engineering markets. Due to growing trends in big data and automotive semiconductor applications, Oerlikon had a strong year in the semiconductor business. Increased demand was also registered in the wind energy market for PVD coatings. Targeted at the needs of the food processing industry, the segment launched BALINIT TRITON – an FDA approved coating that is foodstuff-neutral for applications such as plastic injection moulds and non-lubricated systems. Oerlikon Metco also sealed agreements with medical companies for advanced metal powders.

The segment saw an equally higher level of sales and orders in the tooling market, particularly in Europe, Japan, USA and India, due to the positive global economic climate in the first half of 2018. The segment launched its primeGear service, offering a start-to-finish solution for gear cutting tools. From consultation and optimization to tailored tool treatment solutions, 
primeGear allows Oerlikon to address the specific needs of each customer it serves. 


With inShape, a reconditioning solution was introduced for cemented carbide tools. The product offers smooth re-coating capability that does not damage the surface of the tool, while reducing the cost by 25 % over a tool’s lifecycle. For bigger forming tools, Oerlikon Balzers built and delivered INNOVENTA giga in 2018. Oerlikon Balzers also introduced INNOVENTA kila, the coating system that can master both small and large quantities of tools and offers customers up to 55 % higher productivity, increased flexibility and more than 20 % higher loading capacity as compared to its predecessor system, INNOVA.


The aerospace market saw another strong year of growth in 2018 due to the continued ramp-up of new engine programs and overall increase of commercial air traffic. The segment gained many new businesses and customers including Airfoils Advanced Solutions, MTU Aero Engines, TATA Advanced Systems and Aero Engine Corporation of China (AECC) for its thermal spray solutions. 

Several new partnerships with aerospace firms were also announced in 2018, including a five-year collaboration with Boeing to develop standardized materials and processes for metal-based additive manufacturing. The partnership is meant to ensure that parts made with this technology meet all global aerospace manufacturing requirements. 

Among other 2018 highlights was the positive market feedback for Oerlikon Balzers’ BALINIT Turbine Pro – a coating solution that provides hardness and tenacity for protection against abrasive wear and erosion of highly stressed components such as turbine blades. Additionally, Oerlikon Metco powder technology received qualification for China’s CJ-1000 airplane engine.


In the energy market, Oerlikon’s coatings enable turbines, hydroelectric plants and drilling equipment to withstand extreme temperatures, pressure and friction. Demand in this market was strong in 2018 amid the general strengthening and growth of the global oil & gas market. New customers and businesses acquired in 2018 include Caterpillar, Bradken – a large wear plate manufacturer for mining industries, Dongfang Turbine and Harbin Turbine, and Aprogen KIC – a Korean company providing facilities for oil refinery and chemical plants. 

In 2018, the segment launched numerous materials and alloys also for the energy (exploration and power generation) market, thanks to the accelerated speed of developing new alloys with RAD algorithm from acquired Scoperta. For instance, Metco 8463, a corrosion resistant thermal spray alloy used to protect refinery vessels from high temperature corrosion was introduced to the market. 


The segment also launched in China abradable coatings for steam turbines to increase engine efficiency at high temperatures and customized patented welding wires for fusing metal pieces together. Additionally, Oerlikon opened an in-house thermal spray services coating center at GE Power India in Ahmedabad for cycle steam turbines. 

Additive Manufacturing (AM)

AM technology saw a slow but steady increase in adoption in industries in 2018. The segment continues to establish partnerships with major industry players, academia and local governments to advance the adoption and industralization of AM. In 2018, its partner network grew to include Boeing, GE Additive, RUAG Space and Lufthansa Technik for the development of AM components for aerospace.


In 2018, Oerlikon AM began operations at a new powder production facility in Plymouth Township, Michigan. The facility is equipped with vacuum and inert gas atomization technology for the production of spherical nickel, cobalt, steel and titanium-based alloys, representing a material improvement in quality from more traditional processes. In addition to the expansion of the production facility, Oerlikon also launched new AM alloys, including a tool steel (H11), a nickel-based superalloy (H230) and a cobalt-based superalloy (H188). 

The segment also expanded its service business in Europe to the high-performance car market and its presence in the European prototyping market with a new web-based portal for online parts requests. 

In October 2018, the company hosted more than 1 000 participants and 30 keynote speakers at the 2nd Munich Technology Conference on Additive Manufacturing. This conference facilitated advanced discussions with industry leaders, academics and politicians about the future of industrialized additive manufacturing.

Development in Regions

The Surface Solutions Segment increased sales across all regions in 2018. Steady growth, primarily in the first half of the year, was noted in China, where the segment generated 12 % of its sales. Oerlikon AM signed a long-term collaboration with Chinese firm Farsoon Technologies to accelerate the adoption of production in China by providing customers with printer hardware and fully certified metal powders. The Indian market generated 4 % of sales in 2018, capitalizing on continued growth in the tooling and automotive business in the region. To better serve the growing tool manufacturing market in the region, Oerlikon Balzers opened in 2018 its largest production facility in India. Europe, the largest market for the segment, was responsible for 46 % of the segment’s sales in 2018. The segment expanded its footprint with the opening of the largest coating center for tools in Europe in April in Bielefeld, Germany. The North American market generated 20 % of sales, an increase of 24 % of sales compared to 2017, reflecting expanded product offerings, services and market reach.

Strengthening the Technology Portfolio
To further strengthen its expertise and product offerings to its customers, the Surface Solutions Segment completed four acquisitions in 2018. The segment acquired DIARC Technology in Finland, and Sucotec in Switzerland. DIARC’s thin-film technologies enhance Oerlikon Balzers’ portfolio for customers in the automotive and precision component industries and strengthen Oerlikon’s foothold in Finland. With Sucotec, Oerlikon Balzers expands its offering with high-quality chemical vapor deposition systems for the tooling market.

Oerlikon AM entered the medical component manufacturing industry with its acquisition of DiSanto Technology. DiSanto added a new facility in the U.S. that is ISO13485- and FDA-certified, enabling Oerlikon to expand into the contract manufacturing market for medical implants and instruments. The fourth acquisition by the Segment 
was Eicker, expanding the Segment’s technologies and expertise in plasma nitriding – a heat treatment technology to increase the reliability and wear resistance of metal parts.

+11.5 % 

CHF 1 574 million 

+10.3 % 

CHF 1 511 million 

18.6 x


7 654 


CHF million