Oerlikon Balzers taps new growth potential with cutting-edge applications
Balzers, Liechtenstein – May 23, 2013 – Thanks to its innovative coating technologies, Oerlikon Balzers is developing an increasing number of applications and tapping further growth potential. Coated piston pins, once a market niche, have evolved into an application for the mass market: In 2012, Oerlikon Balzers coated more than 12 million piston pins – the market potential is around 300 million pins a year. “Because our coatings represent a range of new solutions that reduce environmental impact while boosting performance, we can produce above-average growth in industries currently experiencing a difficult market environment,” said the Segment’s CEO, Dr. Hans Brändle.
The ultrathin, diamond-hard coatings provided by Oerlikon Balzers help produce more efficient engines and, as a result, lower CO2 emissions. They do this by increasing the durability of components. This, in turn, creates the opportunity to downsize, which reduces weight. In addition, the coatings measurably reduce friction. Engines optimized with thin-film coatings can reduce fuel consumption by 10 % or more when this technology is integrated into the development of new models as is increasingly the case today.
For years now, Oerlikon Balzers has been coating key components for more than 10 million state-of-the-art diesel injection systems per year. Now, the coating of piston pins has reached the mass market. “With this application alone, we expect to produce annual growth of more than 20 %,” said Bernd Fischer, Head of Components at Oerlikon Balzers. Oerlikon Balzers considers the coating of key components for direct gasoline injection as the next major application for thin-film technology in engines.
Drawing primarily from its platform of cutting and forming tools, Oerlikon Balzers recently began to develop coatings for precision components that provide designers and design engineers completely new ways to boost their products’ performance. This strategy has paid off, and the share of sales generated from the coating of precision components has climbed to 25 %. A wide range of additional applications for precision components, including functional and decorative coatings for premium watches and cell phones, have also joined the major applications for piston pins and diesel injection systems in the automotive industry.
Oerlikon Blazers is now directing its attention to the aerospace industry, the next key market where thin-film technologies are growing increasingly important. The company has already introduced its first applications for control components, turbine bearings and landing gears.