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
The R&D expenditures of the Oerlikon Group have been at a constantly high level for many years. In 2016, the Group continued to invest over 4 % of its annual total sales in R&D, corresponding to CHF 94 million, and filed 67 patents worldwide. The innovation pipeline is fed by a distinctive research and scientific approach that targets customer needs and market potential. Through collaborations with academia and industry experts, Oerlikon’s R&D aims contribute to the development of advanced science and technology projects.
Tapping into new markets and applications
Some examples of products introduced by Oerlikon in 2016: Under the Oerlikon Balzers’ brand, the Surface Solutions Segment launched BALINIT FORMERA, a highly resilient coating for advanced high-strength steels, and BALINIT DIAMOND, coating products applied in the aerospace industry, and further expanded the BALIQTM coating family for applications in the medical and aerospace industries.
Upgrades of filament spinning systems – WINGS POY® for better processing of high titers yarn and WINGS FDY PLUS® and its eco variant for a broader application window that gives more flexibility in the production of yarns – by the Manmade Fibers Segment. And, from Drive Systems Segment – a compact, smaller and lighter, yet still highly efficient electric drive system and an electronically controlled Limited Slip Differential (e-LSD) to enable the distribution of torque to rear wheels in a smooth and comfortable manner.
Oerlikon is building up its additive manufacturing business and has committed to build a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Michigan, USA. This facility is dedicated to producing advanced materials for metals-based additive manufacturing and high-end surface coatings and will house an R&D lab for further developments of titanium and other alloys and for joint R&D projects with customers.