On 7 May Oerlikon Balzers, leading provider of advanced surface solutions, laid the foundation stone for its new Competence Centre in Bisingen, Germany. Once open by the end of the year, 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.
High-end components with high-gloss metallic or matt surfaces and a chrome look are being used more and more in interior and exterior vehicle design and in consumer electronics, not only because are they fashionable, but also because they increase the performance and value of these products.The ePD technology from Oerlikon Balzers is an innovative coating method for high-end metallisation of plastic components. This technology complies with the REACH standard as it is a sustainable alternative to galvanic methods, which involve chromium (VI) and can be hazardous to health. The fully integrated and automated INUBIA I6 and I15 production systems have been designed for large-scale manufacturing and produce metallised components without any harmful substances, and the new Competence Centre will meet all environmental production standards in their entirety.
The site in Bisingen will be used for more than just metallising plastic components for customers; Oerlikon Balzers experts will also further develop the ePD process and be on hand to explain everything about the technology to interested businesses, including how ePD systems can be integrated into their production lines. The new Competence Centre will combine the ePD services previously offered at other sites, releasing capacity required for other technologies elsewhere.
Jochen Weyandt, Head of Business Unit Automotive Solutions at Oerlikon, is looking forward to the new Competence Centre: “The high demand for our sustainable ePD technology proves that it is making an impact in the automotive market. As a specialist partner for our automotive customers and their suppliers, the new Competence Centre will allow us to make the most of our expanded capacity in order to offer them perfectly chromed surfaces and optional additional features for interior and exterior automotive design. But it’s not just the automotive industry that is showing interest in REACH-compliant functional chrome surfaces: whether in the sanitary industry or in all kinds of end user products, there are countless applications which are excellently suited for coating with ePD.”