Research and development R&D ensures growth in core markets
Oerlikon’s business success builds on a solid foundation: with extensive and coordinated efforts in research and development (R&D), the Segments ensure that they can also meet the changing challenges of the markets and the extremely high demands of customers both today and in the future.
A key strength of the Group rests on developing leading-edge technology to maintain its competitive advantage and leadership position. Today, Oerlikon has value-enhancing proprietary technologies for surface solutions and advanced materials, the manufacturing of manmade fibers and polycondensation systems, and drives and shifting solutions for vehicles and machinery.
Many of the key megatrend challenges can be solved through engineering innovations. Increasing the efficiency of mobility, improving the performance and functionality of goods and systems, efficient use of energy, and contributing to environmental sus-tainability will continue to feature in the innovative technologies of Oerlikon. Oerlikon also seeks to enhance its processes and services through innovation to create further value for customers. The imperative for continuous improvement drives the creation of new innovative products, such as the Surface Solution Segment’s metal powders and coatings, which satisfy the growing demand for lighter materials, longer product lifespans, strengthened surface properties, increased performance and multi-functionalities.
R&D expenditures remain at a constantly high level
In 2017, the Group continued to invest 4 % of its annual total sales in R&D, corresponding to CHF 107 million, and filed 91 patents worldwide. The innovation pipeline is fed by a distinctive research and engineering approach that addresses customer needs and market potential. Through collaborations with academia and industry experts, Oerlikon’s R&D aims to contribute to the development of advanced science and technology projects that can also meet the requirements of larger technological, social and environmental needs such as energy savings and improved environmental sustainability.
Tapping into new markets and applications
Oerlikon brought numerous technologies and solutions to the market in 2017. Some examples of products introduced by the Surface Solutions Segment include BALIFOR M – a molybdenum nitride coating that is highly compatible with lubricants and additives for automotive applications; BALIQ UNIQUE – a palette of unique coating colors to differentiate and distinguish tools while also enabling early recognition of wear; BALINIT DIAMOND – coatings designed for tools used in machining challenging aerospace alloys, like titanium and nickel, to improve the cutting parameters for aerospace applications; a new Friction Systems solution in the S3-family; coating solutions for heating devices used in electric cars and for brake disks in cars; insulation-bearing coatings for high speed trains; semiconductor coating specification and application, and MultiCoat-Pro – a new coating system platform that can control a number of thermal spray processes simultaneously. In addition to equipment and technologies, Oerlikon also launched five new alloys for the AM market in 2017.
In 2017, the Manmade Fibers Segment introduced the new WINGS FDY 1800 to the market, which can boost yarn production by another 20 %, and has optimized the process for synthetic staple fiber spinning solutions to enable more efficient spinning production and better fiber quality. In 2017, the Drive Systems Segment launched the new synchroniser for the new CNH Dual Clutch Transmission in partnership with customer CNH to reduce shifting time and improve the durability of driveline technologies for premium agricultural tractors. In addition, it introduced the single-speed transmission for battery electric vehicles – EMR3 – and a new scalable hybrid rear axle module (HRAM) with a fully integrated electric motor directly connected via two gear ratios to the wheels.