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Balzers, Liechtenstein, 22 September 2015 – 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.

Oerlikon Balzers opens first automotive competence centre in Europe

View into the production area with three of the state-of-the-art coating systems of Oerlikon Balzers.

Oerlikon Balzers opens first automotive competence centre in Europe

From left to right: Ulrich Urban, Bernd Fischer, Etienne van der Muren

Oerlikon Balzers opens first automotive competence centre in Europe

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: “We have been active and growing steadily in this market since 1998. Our revenue in this market segment will continue to grow,” explains Dr. Roland Herb, CEO of the Oerlikon Surface Solutions Segment of which Oerlikon Balzers is a part.

At the plant in Veľká Ida, Oerlikon Balzers is pooling the European service activities for the German and European automotive industry at a central site in Europe. “We will serve all well-known automobile manufacturers and suppliers in Europe from Veľká Ida. The town itself offers a well developed industrial area, while the region has a high level of skilled labour potential, good transport connections and local educational opportunities,” says Bernd Fischer, Head of Oerlikon Balzers.

Pioneering Role: State-of-the-art Facilities

Veľká Ida is positioned within the corporation as the largest and most modern production site to date: In addition to ultra-modern coating systems that are designed and built by Oerlikon Balzers, there are also fully automatic test systems as well as batch loaders for components plus state-of-the-art stripping technology for the maintenance of fixtures and system components. All of these systems represent the latest state of development. Moreover, there is an IT-supported high-bay warehouse for unprocessed parts and finished products. Production has already begun with the first 37 employees, meaning the start-up of the plant is right on schedule. In total, over 100 jobs are planned. A second level of expansion is also already under consideration.

In addition to Veľká Ida, Oerlikon Balzers is working on two further automotive competence centres in the USA and China as well. The new plant in Slovakia will assume a pioneering role in this process: To reduce planning costs, the further automotive sites will be of identical construction.

Reduction of Friction and Wear Through Coatings

Reputable automobile manufacturers and suppliers worldwide rely on the surface solutions provided by Oerlikon Balzers. “Whether the engine or power train, oil pumps or brakes, headlights or wheels, body or interior – in modern motor vehicles, there is almost nothing in which coating solutions from Oerlikon Balzers don’t play a role either during production or operation,” says Bernd Fischer.

The decisive challenges for automotive coatings include friction, wear, and the requirements for absolute precision demanded by manufacturers. After all, less friction results in greater performance and reduced emissions; less wear means that components can be subjected to greater loads while benefiting from longer service lives, higher reliability, and improved safety; and the ability to meet extremely strict tolerance requirements is a guaranteed way to deliver greater efficiency.

Bernd Fischer explains: “In practice, this means that uncoated engine components would last just about one day. With our coating solutions, however, they last the entire life of the car! Innovative coating technologies such as these are an investment in the future because efficient engines mean less fuel and fewer resources are consumed – and this is a very important aspect of our work.” 

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