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Beyond Surfaces #10 - Sustainability

Sustainability is an integral part of Oerlikon's strategy. As a global innovation powerhouse for surface technology, polymer processing and additive manufacturing, sustainability is not just a concept, but a living principle.

The 10th issue of Beyond Surfaces is all about sustainability. In each article, you will learn about the diversity and possibilities in which this principle becomes a reality, whether customers are making it happen in their projects, employees in their daily work, in research projects or at the annual AMTC event.

We spoke to Georg Stausberg, Chief Sustainability Officer, Oerlikon, and Dr Sven Hicken, Chief Technology Officer, Surface Solutions Division, to learn more about the background to communicating sustainability proactively and transparently as well as the sustainability goals for 2030.

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Tier 1 supplier UNIPRES presses sheet metal for automotive manufacturers and specializes in high-strength steel pressing, tailored blank welding and hot pressing technology to make components lighter and safer. With BALINIT FORMERA, the company was able to achieve a six-fold increase in productivity in the forming of demanding ultra-high-strength steels.

The market demands ever lighter, but at the same time more robust, vehicles to meet stringent CO2 emissions and passenger safety regulations. Thus, many new models contain a larger amount of modern, ultra-highstrength steel (UHSS).

UHSS meets these demands, but is very difficult to process, meaning that tool service life is shorter and consequently that productivity is lower and costs are higher. As a result, tools used in forming UHSS components need surface solutions that offer even higher performance to guarantee high quality and productivity in these demanding applications.

High scrap rate after 100,000 strokes

Unipres has high-output 3,000-tonne transfer presses and state-of-the-art hot press machines to ensure it has a wide range of ways to meet its customers’ ever-changing demands. Unipres states: “The quick onset of wear reduced the service life of our tools, thus producing a high scrap rate after 100,000 strokes with a CVD-coated die, which heavily impaired our productivity.”

Stoppages in production had a domino effect: production costs and material losses due to the scrap rate increased, which in turn meant overall component manufacturing costs grew high enough to become a financial burden and reduced overall efficiency.

1 million strokes and the tools are still in operation

BALINIT FORMERA is an especially durable coating from Oerlikon Balzers that can withstand the demands of UHSS forming applications. “When we spoke to Andrew Murray, Product Manager for metal forming tools, it was immediately clear that he had a wealth of experience and expertise, and we knew that BALINIT FORMERA would be the best solution for our applications. We tested lots of different coatings, but none came near the performance of BALINIT FORMERA. The coating from our previous provider lasted 120,000 strokes. Since we started deep drawing with BALINIT FORMERA we have nearly reached 1 million strokes, and our tools are still in operation. This coating from Oerlikon Balzers has hugely increased our productivity,” says the expert from Unipres.

We tested lots of different coatings, but none came near the performance of BALINIT FORMERA.

Less preventive maintenance needed

Product manager Andrew Murray is happy for his client: “Our solution hasn’t just made the tools used by Unipres last six times longer; it has also reduced the preventive maintenance frequency of the form tools significantly. This has also played a key role in increasing the company’s efficiency.”

UNIPRES (UK), established in 1987 in Sunderland, UK, manufactures a range of press-formed body in white automotive components.


Petra Ammann

Petra Ammann

Head of Communications Oerlikon Balzers

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