The size of the automotive sector addressed by Oerlikon is estimated at CHF 3.6 billion in 2016. That market grew at a slower pace in 2016, with some recovery in demand in China due to 2016 tax breaks, growth in most European markets, continued strength in the US but declining demand in Russia and Brazil. IHS Markit forecasted that the automotive light vehicle market will grow 2 to 3 % over the next five years. Long-term growth drivers remain relevant include urbanization, a growing global middle class, an ever-greater need for mobility and environmental issues, and create demand for higher fuel efficiency, smaller engines and lower emissions.

All three of Oerlikon’s Segments serve the automotive market but mainly by the Surface Solutions and Drive Systems Segments, where automotive market sales represented 24 % and 18 % of the Segment’s sales, respectively. 

Oerlikon Balzer’s BALINIT coatings, used to coat parts and components such as gears, are present today in passenger cars of most leading brands worldwide. Whereas Oerlikon Metco’s SUMEBore®, a thermal spray coating, is used to coat cylinder liners, brake discs and turbochargers. With fine dust reduction being part of the future environmental standard to be phased in from 2020 as part of the EU’s tightened CO2 regulation, the demand for coatings is expected to increase. In 2016, the Surface Solutions Segment launched coatings for friction systems used for hybrid technology cars.

Automotive is a key end market for the Drive Systems Segment, which provides engineered gearing solutions, drive systems and planetary drives used in passenger and premium sports car brands, and in electric and hybrid vehicles. Oerlikon was a major contributor to defining IATF 16949:2016 – the new benchmark for one of the automotive industry’s most widely used international quality management standards. In 2016, the Drive Systems Segment also presented several electric and hybrid drive concepts to meet the increasing demand in this market. Technical textiles used in vehicles, such as tire cords, air bags, seat belts, carpets and interior trim, are produced using technologies from the Manmade Fibers Segment.

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