Balzers, Liechtenstein, April 16th, 2015 - With a new plant in Slovakia, Oerlikon Balzers is strengthening an offensive in the automobile sector. The surface technology specialist in Liechtenstein has been active in the automobile industry since 1998 and is now responding to significantly increased customer requirements. Three further coating centres are planned across the globe for automotive customers while at the same time, existing locations in Europe are to be strengthened.
“The automotive sector is continuing to grow steadily. In the last seven years alone, our revenue in this market segment has doubled and is presently in the double-digit millions,” explains Dr. Roland Herb, CEO of the Oerlikon Surface Solutions Segment of which Oerlikon Balzers is a part. Reputable automobile manufacturers and suppliers worldwide rely on the surface solutions provided by Oerlikon Balzers. The coatings make engine parts more reliable, durable and efficient, meaning they are ultimately more environmentally friendly as well. The parts Oerlikon Balzers coats include injection needles, control pistons and piston pins for modern internal combustion engines with production numbers running into the double-digit millions annually.
Velka Ida as an ideal location
A decision was made for a separate site in Slovakia in order to continue successfully serving the highly price-sensitive European and especially German markets. Construction of the new facility in Velka Ida near Kosice has already begun and series production is slated to begin in September. “We evaluated several potential sites and Velka Ida is ideal for us in a number of respects,” said Bernd Fischer, Head of Oerlikon Balzers. “The city has a high skilled labour potential, good transport connections and the local educational opportunities will allow us to recruit a sufficient number of engineers.”
“All in all, we intend to create over 100 jobs with several high-tech coating systems at the new site in Velka Ida. A second construction phase is planned for 2017/2018,” explained project manager Ulrich Urban. A strong increase in revenue is already projected for the current year; by 2018, Oerlikon Balzers aims to coat 25 million engine parts for the European automotive industry in the new facility. At the same time, Oerlikon Balzers is investing in two new facilities in the USA in order to serve the US automotive market. A further step in the automotive strategy is the expansion of an existing facility in China.
German and European sites integrated in overall concept
Services previously offered individually in the automobile segment will be bundled in the new coating centres. “Presently, the automobile market is being served by two Oerlikon Balzers sites in Germany. However, these both have their primary focus in other markets. Shifting a portion of the automotive coating operations to Slovakia will benefit these sites by freeing up capacities that until now have been locked up by the automotive coatings so other industries can be served. The German and worldwide units are integrated into the overall concept and will continue to play an important role in the coating business because they will be even more well positioned to serve our customers in other business sectors, for example for the coating of precision components for high-end clocks and watches,” explained Bernd Fischer.