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R&D and Innovation

Oerlikon invested 5.2% of total annual sales in R&D in 2020, corresponding to a sum of CHF 118 million, and filed 98 patents worldwide. Oerlikon’s innovation pipeline is fueled by cutting-edge research and engineering processes to develop solutions that address customers’ and markets’ current and future needs, as well as to satisfy social and environmental considerations, such as energy efficiency and environmental sustainability.

In 2020, Oerlikon conducted further projects in the areas of Al, materials science and AM with institutions and academia with key universities in Aachen, Munich, Zurich, San Diego.

Leveraging the know-how and skills across the Group, cross-business R&D projects in 2020 included: 

  • Developing a new class of materials that show exceptional properties when it comes to temperature stability. This new class of materials will find potential applications in the tooling and aerospace industries.
  • Identifying opportunities for batteries for electric vehicles and fuel cells.
  • Evaluating direct energy deposition (DED) as a surface coating method to use with additive manufacturing and laser cladding.
  • Researching surface finishing technologies to coat AM printed surfaces to a quality comparable to machined surfaces. Additionally, physical vapor deposition and thermal spraying are also being evaluated for use on AM-printed parts to extend their functionality.

Oerlikon introduced a large number of new technologies and solutions to the market in 2020 – ranging from new and enhanced equipment and systems to materials, coatings and services. Selected examples are listed as follows:

Materials

  • Delivered a new SUMEBore coating powder for a leading German car manufacturer in China.
  • Launched new materials for mud motor rotors with increased corrosion resistance for the oil & gas industry. As a hard chromium plating alternative, these materials serve as a more eco-friendly solution.
  • Launched a new low-pressure compressor abradable material, Metco 1602A, offering customers much better corrosion resistance for aircraft landing in high-humidity locations. 
  • Collaborating with partners such as Fraunhofer LIT, Oerlikon is developing a new family of ultrafine duplex materials based on cobalt-free, high entropy alloys (HEAs) including suitable AM-processes. The main fields of applications are in the oil & gas and mining industries or in the food and beverage, biotech and pharmaceutical sectors. 

Equipment and Systems

  • Introduced the ecuTEC+ electro-charging unit for meltblown systems, which can be used to manufacture filter media that is able to remove micro-meter-meter-sized dust particles and provide very good respiratory protection.
  • Developed a new high-volume gear metering pump for the production of cellulose, especially Lyocell.
  • Delivered an INUBIA B15 to a leading German OEM car manufacturer to provide the eco-friendly ePD coating of plastic parts used in cars.
  • Installed a new disruptive diamond deposition equipment, INDIAMA, to coat tools which allow highly abrasive materials to be machined reliably and precisely, for R&D purposes.
  • Launched ESync, an advanced synchronizer system for hybrid transmissions as a much-sought-after compact solution to create space for other components in hybrid cars. ESync has been nominated by an automotive customer in China and is being validated for series production.

Coatings and Services

  • Launched BALIMED TICANA coating that satisfies strict quality requirements and offers a longer service life for the dental prosthesis market.
  • Introduced BALINIT PROTEC, a REACH-compliant coating to improve the efficiency of industrial gas turbine compressors and protect them from corrosion and erosion.
  • HIP post-treatment capabilities went operational. HIP:ing is used to eliminate pores and remove defects to dramatically increase the material properties of AM-printed parts. Treatment is being qualified by customers.
 

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