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Our history and milestones Passion for surface solutions: from our beginnings in 1946 until today

1946 - 2021: From an idea to a global technology leader.

For 75 years, Oerlikon Balzers has stood for pioneering developments and global technology leadership in thin-film coatings. We live our passion for surface solutions with a unique combination of sustainability, innovative drive, entrepreneurial spirit and tradition. This benefits our customers – and our environment – yesterday, today and tomorrow.

Explore 75 years of Oerlikon Balzers

Balzers' first PVD hard coating for tools, BALINIT® A, was officially "born" on September 1st 1978. Since then, Oerlikon Balzers has been an unprecedented success story, ranging from pioneering the world of coatings to being a market leader.

Timeline

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With the support of Prince Franz Josef II and Swiss industrialist Emil Georg Bührle, Professor Max Auwärter founded Gerätebauanstalt Balzers

The objective was to make the then largely unknown and little-researched vacuum thin-film technology useable on an industrial scale. Since no systems and equipment for the production of thin-film coatings were available at the time, the company developed and produced them in-house. The first popular applications were sun protection and anti-reflection coatings for ophthalmic lenses, anti-reflection coatings for camera lenses, optical filters and reflectors and thin films for electronic applications.

  • In 1946, Professor Max Auwärter had an idea how to make the then largely unknown vacuum thin-film technology usable on an industrial scale.

Balzers decides to develop scratch-proof gold-coloured PVD coatings for the watch industry

Oerlikon-Bührle Holding AG becomes the company′s sole proprietor

First trials of TiN-coated forming tools are successful (service life increased by a factor of 4)

On 1 September, the official go-ahead was given for the development and marketing of PVD hard coatings for tools with BALINIT® A

Twist drills coated by Balzers are shown for the first time at an exhibition in Germany

First coating centre in Italy

First coating centres in Germany, Spain and the USA

The first application of coatings to precision components

First coating centre in Great Britain.

First coating centre in France

First coating centre in Japan

Introduction of the BALINIT® B titanium carbon nitride coating.

First coating centre in Sweden

Introduction of the BALINIT® C (WC/C) carbon coating

First coating centre in Belgium

Balzers converts to CFC-free, ultrasonic cleaning.

First coating centre in India

The new TiAlN coatings BALINIT® FUTURA and BALINIT® X.TREME make dry and hard machining possible

First coating centre in Korea and Switzerland.

Introduction of the BALINIT® DIAMOND coating

Introduction of the BALINIT® HARDLUBE hybrid coating

First coating centres in Austria, Singapore and Mexico

First coating centre in Brazil.

BALINIT-coated components in the world's first mass-production 3-litre car (VW Lupo 3L TDI)

Introduction of the BALINIT® DLC carbon coating. Oerlikon-Bührle Holding changes its name to "Unaxis".

Introduction of BALINIT® FUTURA NANO, the first nano-structured coating

First coating centre in Luxembourg.

Introduction of the BALINIT X.CEED titanium aluminium nitride coating

Introduction of the BALINIT® CNI chromium nitride coating.

The Balzers Coating Guide for cutting tools is published

Introduction of "Generation 6", a new coating generation. Balzers celebrates 25 years of BALINIT®. First coating centres in Poland, Portugal and the Netherlands.

Introduction of the first aluminium chromium nitride coating of "Generation 6": BALINIT® ALCRONA

First coating centres in China and Hungary. The Balzers Coating Guide for forming tools is published.

First coating centre in Thailand

Introduction of the second aluminium chromium based coating of "Generation 6": BALINIT® HELICA. New coating system RS 90 for high volume coating. First coating centres in Argentina and Canada. Introduction of superior BALINIT® carbon coatings: BALINIT® DLC STAR

Technological breakthrough with proprietary and patented P3e (TM) technology which allows deposition of hard aluminium-oxide coatings at coating temperatures clearly below 600°C

First coating centre in Czech Republic. With 1 September 2006 Balzers is called Oerlikon Balzers Coating and commits to its hundred years of industrial history and the traditional strengths of the Oerlikon corporation.

Introduction of BALINIT® ALDURA, novel tailored coating with dual structure. Inauguration of first coating centres in Romania and in Turkey

Acquisition of VST Keller, based in Schopfheim, Germany. VST Keller brings innovative and environmentally friendly PPD™ technology to the Oerlikon Group.

First coating center opened in Finland and in Indonesia

Further four coating centres inaugurated in Asia. For the first time in its history, Oerlikon Balzers surpassed in 2008 the CHF 500 million mark in sales.

Opening of 5th coating centre in Japan, 5th coating center in India and 7th coating centre in China

First Coating Centre in Russia - located in Elektrostal near Moscow - starts production in March

Acquisition of hartec Group, based in Germany, a specialist in PVD coatings. Hartec is well-known for its unique and environmentally friendly PVD technology for decorative and functional coatings for plastics.

Technological breakthrough with proprietary and patented S3p technology

S3p® is the industrialized and economically viable Balzers HiPIMS solution. Launch of the new fast, precise, flexible and compact coating system INGENIA. Market introduction of BALINIT® PERTURA – a one-stop coating for all drilling applications boosting productivity and process reliability. Coating centre extension and implementation of the first Pulse Plasma Diffusion (PPD) plant in Asia in Busan (Korea). Opening of the 8th and 9th Chinese coating centre in Chongqing and Jinan as well as opening of the 3rd Polish coating centre in Kędzierzyn-Koźle.

Oerlikon Balzers opens its 10th coating center in China

Introduction of S3p based BALIQ coatings at EMO 2013 in Hanover/Germany.

Gaining strength for the next level.

On June 3, 2014 Oerlikon announced the successful closing of the transaction to acquire Metco from Sulzer AG. The combination of Metco with Oerlikon's existing Coating business will create a global technology leader in surface solutions under the leadership of Roland Herb as Surface Solutions Segment CEO.

Opening of the first automotive competence centre in Europe

In a Grand Opening Ceremony with numerous guests of honour and customers, Oerlikon Balzers opened their first European competence centre for coatings in the automotive sector. The new plant in Veľká Ida near the major Slovakian city of Košice is part of the Oerlikon Balzers overall strategy for the automotive market.

EMO 2015: Oerlikon Balzers presents BALINIT ALTENSA, the PVD coating for ultrafast gear cutting

Extreme cutting speeds, maximised productivity, perceptibly longer service lives – these are the results of real-world tests with the BALINIT ALTENSA AlCrN-based coating developed by Oerlikon Balzers to advance seminal trends in automotive and mechanical engineering applications. With BALINIT ALTENSA, first presented at EMO 2015 in Milan/Italy, automakers and suppliers have already reported exceptional results in a wide range of gear-cutting applications.

EMO 2015: Oerlikon Balzers presents the highly productive INNOVENTA mega coating system

The new INNOVENTA mega redefines productivity benchmarks as well. Now the largest coating system in the portfolio, it achieves extremely high throughputs with tools such as milling cutters or drills: average batch times of less than five hours are typical. It can accommodate workpieces with heights of one metre or more and a swing diameter of 96 cm. With permissible load weights of up to 3000 kg, it is an ideal platform for coating bulky moulds or sawblades. The INNOVENTA mega can handle the entire repertoire of BALINIT coatings as well as tailor-made coating designs for a wide range of applications. Rapid commissioning, simple operability, and a high level of reproducibility are further features. On the bottom line, the INNOVENTA mega ideally complements Balzers' more compact INNOVA and INGENIA systems.

70 years of innovation

In 1946, the “Gerätebau-Anstalt” in Balzers was founded. Prof. Max Auwärter, Franz Josef II von und zu Liechtenstein and the entrepreneur Emil G. Bührle, had the revolutionary idea of developing manufacturing processes in the area of thin coatings and constructing the equipment required for the industrial implementation themselves. Thus, for the first time, the process and the equipment became a single unit and were also offered and sold together – a business model that has enjoyed exceptional success for over 70 years.

Opening of the 5th Customer Centre in South Korea

Oerlikon Balzers opens its 5th Customer Centre in South Korea, in Gwangju. “Korea is a genuine Oerlikon Balzers success story. This new centre will enable us to provide an even better, short-term delivery service for our customers in the forming tool / home appliance industry and for our automotive industry customers in the prosperous Gwangju area,” says Marc Desrayaud, Head of Business Unit Tooling Solutions at Oerlikon Surface Solutions.

Expansion of the Automotive Solutions facility in Bengaluru, India

The new Automotive Solutions building triples the size of the existing Oerlikon Balzers service centre in the Southern Indian mega city. With this significant investment in the future and in the Indian market, Oerlikon Balzers can now provide its customers from various industries with better and faster service, as well as with an extended portfolio - focused on the automotive market, but also taking in the aerospace, oil & gas, medical, textile and machining market for Precision Components.

Launch of BALINIT FORMERA / FORMERA PLUS – the coating solution for AHSS forming applications

Launch of BALINIT TURBINE PRO – a turbine blade coating

Oerlikon Balzers launches BALIFOR T, ta-C coating

Oerlikon Balzers wins the A3TS Innovation Award 2017 with BALIFOR M

Oerlikon Balzers launches BALIFOR M, an MoN coating

Oerlikon Balzers acquires Primateria

Launch of BALIQ UNIQUE – When art meets innovation

Launch of INLENIA coating systems - for ultra smooth surfaces

Oerlikon Balzers achieves Nadcap accreditation in Guelph

Oerlikon Balzers announces the Design Line range

Oerlikon Balzers takes over French coating specialist DMX

DMX's expertise allows us to further strengthen our position as market leader in the market of high-precision medical components as well as in the rapidly growing market of forming tools. Those are our two key market segments.

Launch INNOVENTA kila at JIMTOF: The next level of flexibility, productivity and connectivity when it comes to PVD coatings!

For JIMTOF Oerlkon Balzers launch INNOVENTA kila. INNOVENTA kila has the preferred coating system size for most production requirements and perfectly masters smaller to larger quantities. The successor of the best-selling INNOVA meets all your expectations with compelling elegance. It's the perfect coating system for tools, and also R&D. Entirely compatible with the INNOVENTA family.

Oerlikon Balzers receives Qualified Supplier status for BALINIT C coatings on copper alloys

Oerlikon deepens partnership with Airbus: Oerlikon Balzers receives Qualified Supplier status for BALINIT C coatings on copper alloys.

Oerlikon Balzers inaugurates largest customer centre in India in the presence of guests of honour

On 12 October, Oerlikon Balzers India, a leading provider of surface solutions, inaugurated its largest Indian production centre in Manesar in the presence of Hereditary Prince Alois of Liechtenstein and Dr Doris Frick, the Ambassador of Liechtenstein in Switzerland. The new facility represents a further major commitment by Oerlikon Balzers to the Indian market as it continues to grow, and this significant investment in the future and in India will allow Oerlikon Balzers to serve its customers across various industries even more effectively.

Oerlikon Balzers expands automotive surface treatment portfolio with heat treatment acquisition in Germany

Oerlikon, a leading provider of surface solutions, has signed and closed a targeted acquisition in Germany to expand its plasma nitriding service offering for customers and to strengthen its position in the automotive market. Härterei Dipl.- Ing. Peter Eicker KG (Eicker), a specialised heat treatment supplier for the automotive industry, will now operate under the Oerlikon Balzers brand.

Oerlikon Balzers introduces primeGear, a customised and integrated service package to realise unmatched gear cutting tool performance

primeGear is an all-round service package consisting of detailed analysis, consultation and tailored solutions for production. From treating tools and establishing optimal machining/ environmental conditions to the basic materials and designs, Oerlikon Balzers’ experts determine the crucial improvements which can be made in the production chain.

Oerlikon Balzers opens largest production centre in Slovakia for heat treatment of automotive components

Oerlikon Balzers, a leading provider of surface solutions, has inaugurated its second production centre in Veľká Ida, Slovakia. The new plant marks another stage in Oerlikon’s growth strategy in the automotive industry, a major investment which meets the highest quality and environmental standards and offers automotive manufacturers state-of-the-art heat treatment processes. Together with the service centre opened in 2015, the Veľká Ida plant now represents Oerlikon Balzers' largest and most important site for coating and heat treating of automotive components.

Oerlikon Balzers and Oerlikon Metco, Friction Systems, inaugurate joint production facility in Nagoya, Japan

The Oerlikon Group, a leading global technology provider of market-leading technologies and services, announced the inauguration of a new production plant in Nagoya, Japan, on June 7. The company will leverage synergies to further strengthen the excellent market position of Oerlikon Balzers and Oerlikon Metco Friction Systems in Japan’s top car manufacturing industry area.

Oerlikon Balzers opens doors of largest coating centre for tools in Europe

Coating specialist Oerlikon Balzers opened its new plant in Bielefeld with a two-day event attended by guests – both customers and experts – from the areas of politics and the economy. The coating centre combines the expertise from three previous locations on a floor space of 6,000 square metres with cutting edge surface technologies for machining, forming and plastics processing. Customers from many different sectors are to benefit, from the automotive and pharmaceutical industries to tool making.

Oerlikon acquires Swiss CVD equipment manufacturer Sucotec AG

Oerlikon has acquired Sucotec AG, a Swiss manufacturer specializing in CVD (Chemical Vapour Deposition) equipment for the tools market. The acquisition enhances the range of products and services provided by Oerlikon Balzers, which focuses on PVD (Physical Vapour Deposition) and PACVD (Plasma Assisted Chemical Vapour Deposition).

Oerlikon acquires Finnish surface engineering company DIARC Technology Oy

Oerlikon has acquired DIARC Technology Oy, a provider of surface engineering technologies and services in Finland. The acquisition will enhance the range of technologies provided by Oerlikon Balzers in the automotive and precision components industries and expand its portfolio of surface treatments.

Oerlikon Balzers launches the METAPLAS.DOMINO kila flex coating equipment

The METAPLAS.DOMINO kila flex offers particularly high flexibility thanks to its two doors, which allow fast loading and unloading and a possible upgrade to automated loading and unloading.

Oerlikon Balzers inaugurates forming tools facility and celebrates 25 years in India

Oerlikon Balzers celebrated 25 years of operations in Pune, India, on 12 October 2019. Customers, guests of honour and employees gathered for the event, which also marked the inauguration of the new forming tools centre, a demonstration of Oerlikon Balzers’ continued commitment to the growing Indian market.

Oerlikon Balzers France celebrates 30 years in Limoges customer centre

On 1 and 2 October Oerlikon Balzers invited special guests and customers to celebrate the 30th anniversary of its customer centre in Limoges, France. Limoges is best known as Oerlikon Balzers' competence centre for the motorsports industry, offering coating solutions for precision components used in high-performance engines.

SUCOTEC: Oerlikon Balzers launches its new CVD equipment for the tools market

Oerlikon Balzers launched at EMO 2019 its new CVD (Chemical Vapour Deposition) equipment for the tools market in three different sizes: SUCOTEC kila, mega and giga. SUCOTEC complements the range of products and services provided by Oerlikon Balzers, which mainly focuses on PVD (Physical Vapour Deposition) and PACVD (Plasma Assisted Chemical Vapour Deposition).

BALIQ AUROS: The new high-performance coating for threading tools

For high-quality threading tools, Oerlikon Balzers developed the high-performance BALIQ AUROS coating. This extremely smooth and wear-resistant AlCrN-based coating is combined with a top coating to prevent the tool surface from welding with the workpiece material, which improves performance and ensures high process reliability.

Digital services and smart coating solutions from Oerlikon Balzers

Oerlikon Balzers showcased its latest coating and equipment developments and its new digital services at EMO in Hanover from 16 to 21 September 2019. Encompassing the full coating process, from the moment the order is placed through to delivery, these high-quality, future-oriented services offer a wide range of benefits for customers.

Oerlikon Balzers receives Bosch quality excellence award for high-quality component coatings

Oerlikon Balzers has received a “ZERO defects certificate” from Bosch in recognition of supplying components coatings of the highest quality in 2018. By delivering products with no defects, Oerlikon Balzers made a substantial contribution to the continuous improvement in quality for the world-leading automotive supplier.

Oerlikon Balzers unveils BALIQ CARBOS and CARBOS STAR

Oerlikon Balzers has developed new amorphous hydrogen-free carbon (a-C) coatings, BALIQ CARBOS and BALIQ CARBOS STAR, which deliver an exceptional combination of high hardness, low friction and low roughness for applications with extreme contact pressures and sliding velocities.

Oerlikon Balzers unveils BALINIT TISAFLEX for machining difficult-to-cut materials at the highest level

BALINIT TISAFLEX from Oerlikon Balzers is a high-end coating solution that offers superior oxidation resistance, high thermal stability and exceptional wear resistance, making it perfect for machining challenging materials such as titanium, nickel-based alloys and stainless and hardened steel, which are being used more and more in the aerospace, 3C (Computers, Communications and Consumer electronics) and mould-making industries.

Oerlikon Balzers hosted the first Oerlikon Balzers Surface Solutions Symposium

The first Surface Solutions Symposium for Precision Components attracted 75 attendees, among them customers and industry thought leaders, who met to network and share their perspectives on what will shape the future of component coatings across a number of different industries.

Oerlikon Balzers launches BALINIT MILUBIA and BALINIT NALUBIA

Ceramic seal discs in sanitary fittings, pneumatic valves, ceramic shafts and pump bearings as well as components in pumps and compressors are exposed to extreme friction over a long period of time. To keep these devices running reliably for longer, Oerlikon Balzers has developed BALINIT MILUBIA and BALINIT NALUBIA; hydrogen-free hard carbon coatings that protect components against wear from frequent use and at elevated temperatures.

Oerlikon Balzers inaugurates two customer centres in Sweden

in 2019, Oerlikon Balzers opened two new customer centres in Sweden, the first in Eriksberg on 28 May and the second in Köping a day later. With these two new customer centres, Oerlikon Balzers is pursuing its strategy of being as close as possible to its customers, which shortens delivery times and routes, improves customer service and helps the company reduce its carbon footprint.

Oerlikon Balzers celebrates 15-year anniversary in China

Oerlikon Balzers has celebrated the 15th anniversary of its first Chinese customer centre in Suzhou. The company started production in China back in 2004 with 20 employees and has grown rapidly over the years, today boasting 13 customer centres and several hundred employees. The management invited the team members from the very beginning for a special anniversary dinner to celebrate their unique contribution over the last 15 years.

Oerlikon Balzers builds Competence Centre for sustainable metallisation of plastics with a chrome look

On 7 May 2019, Oerlikon Balzers laid the foundation stone for its new Competence Centre in Bisingen, Germany. Once open in April 2020, components made from plastic, primarily for the automotive sector, will be metallised with a chrome look using sustainable ePD technology on a site covering several thousand square metres. More than 100 new jobs will be created at the Bisingen Competence Centre, which will enable Oerlikon Balzers to meet the high demand and ever increasing requirements of its customers from the automotive sector.

Oerlikon Balzers opens new Customer Centre and celebrates 20 year in Mexico

On 4 April 2019, Oerlikon Balzers opened a new customer centre in Querétaro, Mexico. At the opening ceremony Oerlikon Balzers Mexico also celebrated its 20-year anniversary with customers and guests of honour. This new site represents another key milestone in Oerlikon Balzers’ growth strategy, as it allows the company to respond to the increased demand from the automotive industry for its sustainable highquality coatings and heat treatments.

Oerlikon Balzers continues expansion with new customer centre in China

Oerlikon Balzers held the Grand Opening Ceremony with guests of honour and customers to inaugurate its new coating centre in Dongguan, China. A much larger production space was required in Dongguan in order to process the rapidly growing order volume of recent years. Oerlikon Balzers started its coating business in China in 2004. The new customer centre is now the second largest in China.

Oerlikon Balzers introduces BALIMED medical coatings

Oerlikon Balzers introduced its new BALIMED portfolio, comprising seven highly advanced coatings that meet the demanding requirements of today’s medical instruments and components industry. These low-friction and wear-resistant ThinFilm coatings offer higher cost efficiency and contribute to improved patient outcomes thanks to their biocompatible, antimicrobial and chemically inert properties.

Oerlikon acquired diamond coating technology leader, D-Coat, in Germany

Oerlikon has acquired D-Coat GmbH, a leading provider of diamond coating technology in Germany. The acquisition expands Oerlikon Balzers’ portfolio of surface treatment technologies, especially for cutting tools applied in the aerospace and automotive industries.

New global Competence Centre for PDC (Plastic Design Components) opens in Bisingen, Germany

Now that the new site has been commissioned, we can offer job coating of plastic injection moulded components for a wide range of industries, including the automotive, consumer goods and household appliance sectors: Metallised plastic coatings based on our ePD technology. As well, the Bisingen Competence Centre will mainly be responsible for the sale of INUBIA coating systems and will provide support for interested customers when designing, setting up and commissioning their own coating facilities. This includes coating and product development, as well as conceptual design of overall production processes.

Airbus qualifies Oerlikon Balzers’ high-end coating system for REACH-compliant component coatings using BALINIT C

Oerlikon Balzers has received qualification from Airbus for its RS 50 coating system, which uses the latest carbon coating technology. The RS 50 is located in Ferrières-en-Brie near Paris, a major Aerospace certified production facility of Oerlikon Balzers. The coating system has been selected and approved by Airbus to secure REACH-compliant PVD coatings with BALINIT C.

Oerlikon Balzers introduces REACH-compliant BALINIT PROTEC coating for industrial gas turbine compressors

Three key factors can impair performance of industrial gas turbine compressors: Solid Particle Erosion (SPE), Water Droplet Erosion (WDE) and corrosion of turbine blades. If undetected, these problems will reduce efficiency and increase costs for operators of power generation plants. BALINIT PROTEC from Oerlikon Balzers, is a REACH-compliant coating specifically developed to make industrial gas turbine compressors significantly more efficient and protect against corrosion and erosion.

Oerlikon Balzers introduces BALIMED TICANA coating for dental abutments and instruments

Oerlikon Balzers has introduced BALIMED TICANA, a PVD coating specifically designed for dental abutments and instruments that meets the stringent requirements of modern dentistry. The innovative coating is the same colour as human gums, which makes it discreet, and it also offers functional properties that help ensure patients get the very best long-term healthcare. The new BALIMED TICANA coating represents another step forward in Oerlikon Balzers’ growth strategy in the medical industry.

Oerlikon Balzers France awarded Nadcap Merit Status

Oerlikon Balzers has received Nadcap Merit Status for all the coating technology used in its customer centre Ferrières-en-Brie, France. The Merit Status means a less frequent audit schedule and is “a sign of trust in the ongoing commitment to quality”, according to the Performance Review Institute, which administers Nadcap.

Oerlikon Balzers opens new application support centre for pre- and post-treatment in Sweden

Oerlikon Balzers has opened a new application support centre in Uppsala, Sweden, for the pre- and post-treatment of cutting tools for the automotive industry. Not only does the new location give customers an information and consulting centre: it also serves as a training centre for new employees and apprentices, so that Oerlikon Balzers staff can keep up-to-date with the latest pre- and post-treatment technology and offer first-class service to customers around the world.

Oerlikon Balzers receives GreenCo Certification and Platinum Quality Excellence Award in India

Oerlikon Balzers India has received GreenCo Silver Certification from the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and has been awarded first prize (Platinum) in the Quality Excellence competition organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI). These awards recognise Oerlikon Balzers’ contribution towards an ecologically sustainable business model and to improving the customer experience by providing quality goods and services in India.

Oerlikon Balzers recognised by Bosch as Best Supplier of Surface Treatments

Oerlikon Balzers has received the Bosch “Best Supplier of Surface Treatments” award for 2019. The company was recognised for providing excellent quality with its high-end coatings applied to precision components for the world’s leading automotive supplier.

Oerlikon Balzers introduces new BALORA portfolio featuring the next generation of MCrAlY coatings based on PVD Arc technology

Oerlikon Balzers has introduced its new BALORA portfolio of coatings which offers revolutionary properties for applications in high-temperature environments, such as in the aerospace and power generation markets. The first coating from the new portfolio, BALORA PVD MCrAlY, represents the next generation of high-density MCrAlY coatings, which use Oerlikon Balzers’ proven PVD Arc surface and equipment technologies to form an outstanding barrier against oxidation and hot corrosion inside the hot section of turbines.

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