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Oerlikon Metco History

Over 90 years of Sustainable Surface Solutions

Today, as throughout our history, our customers challenge us to provide surface solutions that will help them improve the value and service performance of the components they produce or require for their own operations. We have been dedicated to earn their loyalty since the beginning through commitment, service and innovation that will keep our customers at the forefront of their fields by providing the advantages they need in today’s and in the future's competitive climate. Please have a look at our distinguished history and get to know how Oerlikon Metco has been originated.

From our beginnings, we have been committed to developing innovative solutions that improve performance and increase the efficiency and reliability of our customers’ products.

Historical milestones


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Schoop invents Thermal Spray

In the early 1900s, Max Ulrich Schoop, of Zurich, Switzerland experiments with the spraying of lead and zinc metals for protective coatings. In 1909, Schoop obtained a patent covering the use of a combustion process (oxygen fuel) to melt wire and direct it to a substrate. Schoop’s second patent, in 1911, incorporated an electric arc as a production heat source. Thus, the technology of thermal spraying was begun. During its early application, the metallizing process was used mainly for corrosion protective coatings.

Rea Axline Founds Metallizing Engineering Company (later METCO)

During the worst economic depression ever in the United States, Rea Axline, a recent California Institute of Technology graduate, founds a small shop in Jersey City, New Jersey to sell wire spray equipment for corrosion control and repair of simple machine elements. The company started with 5 employees and included two of Rea’s talented associates from Cal Tech.

METCO Introduces the Type-E Gun with Improved Wire Spray Rates

Featuring easily adjusted "fast" and "slow" speeds for spraying soft or hard metals without the need for gear changes, the E-gun was rapidly embraced for its economical, high-speed metallizing rates. The E-gun could spray 3.2 mm (1/8 inch) wire — a larger diameter than previously used — with lower air consumption. Also introduced were the company’s first materials, Metcoloy® 1 and Metcoloy® 2, both stainless steel wires that remain popular materials in the Metco product portfolio today.

METCO Expands into Europe

METCO establishes its first subsidiary in the UK, followed shortly thereafter by offices in Germany, Austria and Holland. The new Type-L Gun cut compressed air use by 60%, bringing modern metallizing within reach of the smallest shop. Gas flow meters and Sprabond® wire – a molybdenum alloy for smooth surfaces – were introduced.

METCO Markets the ThermoSpray Powder Gun and Self-fluxing Alloy

The Type-P ThermoSpray® Powder Gun for spraying refractory ceramics, self-fluxing alloys and tungsten carbides makes its debut. Sprasteel® LS was also developed in 1956.

METCO Becomes METCO Inc., Markets Water-Cooled Plasma Flame Gun

A name change and a 200:1 stock split started METCO’s decade of the 60's with a bang. METCO Inc. introduces the Type MB plasma gun and plasma spray system, marking the advent of a commercially viable process to thermal spray ceramics, refractories and other high-temperature materials. METCO’s product portfolio appropriately expands to include a wide variety of powders suitable for the plasma process. In 1964, METCO Inc. introduced Metco 404 self-fluxing, exothermic, nickel aluminide powder – first in a family of composite spray materials excellent for use as bond coats and for surface build-up.

METCO Inc. Produces and Markets Electric Arc Wire Spray and the 10E Gun

Successful introduction of the Type RG Electric Arc Spray System compliments METCO’s portfolio in thermal spray manufacturing. This first system had 500-amp maximum power output and was capable of spraying 11-gauge wire. The 10E Metallizing Gun was first offered with improved gun hardware life and simpler maintenance requirements.

Perkin-Elmer's Acquisition of METCO Inc.: Advancing Material Science Business

METCO Inc. continued to grow developing the technology of thermal spraying, this came to the attention of the Perkin-Elmer Group who were already involved in other advanced technology industries and subsequently, METCO Inc. became part of the Perkin-Elmer Group in September 1971. Perkin Elmer acquired METCO Inc. to enhance its material science business. After acquiring the corporation, Perkin-Elmer opted to lowercase the name to Metco Inc.

Metco Inc. Expands into Mexico, the Southern Hemisphere and Japan

Metco Inc. begins to look globally forming a joint venture with Daiichi-Jitsugyo in Japan. Sales offices are subsequently set up in Australia, Brazil, Singapore and Mexico. At this point, Metco Inc. offers the most complete range of thermal spray equipment and materials of any company.

Type RG Arc Gun: Revolutionary Thermal Spray Technology

Metco Inc. developed and introduced the Type RG Arc Gun which uses an electric arc struck between two wires being fed through the gun as the heat source, thus eliminating the requirements for gases to thermal spray. Other benefits of the process are the heat source temperature of 4000°C allowing the higher melting point wires to be sprayed at much higher spray rates, also the ability to spray two different materials together producing pseudo alloy coatings.

Sulzer Acquires Metco and Sulzer Metco is Born

In September 1994, Metco Inc. was acquired by Sulzer, leading to the consolidation of all materials and surface technologies companies under the name Sulzer Metco. This integration resulted in the establishment of a robust and globally positioned company, capable of meeting the thermal spray supply and service requirements of various major industries such as aerospace, automotive, power generation, pulp and paper, printing, medical, and textile industries. Sulzer's acquisition of Plasma Technik AG in 1985 granted them the exclusive license for the F4-MB plasma gun and the Amdry® gas atomized powders. Furthermore, the acquisition of Electro-Plasma Inc. (EPI) in 1991 now equipped Sulzer Metco with the technology of Low-Pressure Plasma Spray (LPPS®) systems.

Sulzer Metco Acquires Salzgitter

Located in northern Germany, Sulzer Metco acquired the Salzgitter coating facilities in 1995. Today known as Oerlikon Metco Coating Services GmbH, these facilities are well-suited to the handling of heavy and large components such as paper, printing, textile and steel machinery. Oerlikon Metco Coating Services GmbH is also capable of processing turbine blades and vanes.

Sulzer Metco Acquires QCoat

Further expanding European market penetration of coating services, Sulzer Metco acquires QCoat, Ltd. in Stalybridge UK. Well-situated in Cheshire, QCoat specializes in thermal spray coating services and surface finishing / machining services of pump and compressor components for the oil and gas equipment market, as well as printing machine rolls and embossing rolls for the paper machinery market.

Sulzer Metco Acquires Eldim and Interturbine Coatings B.V.

Continuing its focus on flight and power turbine applications, Sulzer Metco acquires Eldim and Interturbine Coatings BV, of Lomm, Netherlands. Integrating both companies into Sulzer Metco, Interturbine Coatings BV becomes Sulzer Metco Coatings BV. Now Oerlikon Eldim, Eldim supplies solely to the aerospace industry and specializes in conventional machining and manufacturing of gas turbine blades, vanes, seals and sheet metal fabrications.

Sulzer Metco Acquires Metaplas Ionon GmbH and EuroFlamm GmbH

Metaplas Ionon GmbH (now part of Oerlikon Balzers) provides customized system solutions and high-quality surface treatment services, thus expanding the Sulzer Metco portfolio of surface technologies. Sulzer Metaplas Ionon offers three advanced processes: IONIT® plasma nitriding and plasma nitro carburizing for wear protection of metallic components; IONIT OX®, a combination of gas nitriding, gas nitro carburizing, plasma activating and oxidizing for corrosion and wear protection and improved surface properties and MAXIT®, a PVD coating process for high wear resistance and low friction. The acquisition of EuroFlamm GmbH (now Oerlikon Friction Systems) expands Sulzer Metco’s coating service capabilities for a variety of industries including state-of-the-art coatings and turnkey manufacturing for automotive powertrain components.

Sulzer Metco Acquires DB Thin Films

In December 2002 Sulzer Metco acquired DB Thin Films LLC, based in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, USA. This technology provides customized surface coatings using the PVD (Physical Vapor Deposition) technology for both decorative and functional applications. The acquisition enabled Sulzer Metco's Thin Film unit to expand its service offerings in the large North American market.

Sulzer Metco Acquires Euroflamm Select, Inc.

In 2002 Sulzer Metco acquired Select Powertrain Technologies, Inc. (now Oerlikon Friction Systems (US) Inc.) in Dayton, Ohio, U.S.A. Euroflamm Select develops, manufactures and distributes carbon-based friction products used in powertrain applications for the automotive industry such as synchronizer rings, clutch discs and other gearshift components. The acquisition cemented the close and successful joint activities of Euroflamm GmbH in Germany, a Sulzer Metco company and Euroflamm Select, Inc.

Sulzer Metco launches the TriplexPro™ 200 Plasma Spray Gun

TriplexPro-200 builds on Sulzer Metco’s expertise in triple-cathode, cascading arc plasma gun technology. However, where previous models had limited application in niche markets, TriplexPro-200 is an all-purpose plasma spray product platform that provides the best coating alternative in 80 percent of the existing plasma applications and opens new operational parameter capabilities not normally associated with plasma technology. The gun is highly effective for everything from abradable to high-energy plasma. The TriplexPro-200 achieves plume characteristics of high enthalpy, with low gas flows and particle velocities, to supersonic gas flows with high particle velocities, simply by reconfiguring the gun internal components.

Sulzer Metco Acquires Ambeon

With the acquisition of the Ambeon Division of Westaim in Canada, Sulzer Metco further expanded the materials business. Now Oerlikon Metco (Canada) Inc., the company is a global provider of customized nickel-based materials for the power generation and aero industries. These materials are also used in electronic applications. The acquisition strengthened the Sulzer Metco thermal-spray materials offering and expanded the portfolio in the area of honeycomb structures, electronic shielding, and other materials.

Sulzer Metco Acquires WOKA GmbH

In January 2004, Sulzer Metco acquired WOKA GmbH, a family-owned carbides manufacturer in Germany. This step strengthened the materials business by widening the Sulzer Metco offering of thermal spray coating and other materials. Renamed now to Oerlikon Metco WOKA GmbH, the acquisition opened new market opportunities for Sulzer Metco with markets mainly in the paper industry, oil and gas sectors, earthmoving and machine tool industries.

Sulzer Metco takes over Wick Specialties Ltd.

Sulzer Metco purchased Wick Specialties, based in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Wick Specialties Ltd. was a close Canadian partner of Sulzer Metco's thermal spray materials business, distributing the Sulzer Metco WOKA carbide materials, particularly in Western Canada.

Sulzer Metco Acquires Automotive Synchronizer Business of BorgWarner

Sulzer Friction Systems strengthens its position in high-performance carbon friction materials for synchronizers with the purchase of the BorgWarner facilities in Margam, U.K. and Longview TX, U.S.A.

Sulzer Metco Acquires Diamond-like Carbon Coatings Activities from Bekaert

The acquisition expands the geographical presence and compliments the technology range of Sulzer Metco in the thin-film coatings market. Bekaert’s diamond-like carbon (DLC) thin-film coatings combine very low frictional resistance and extreme hardness. The coatings are used to reduce wear and friction in a wide range of industrial applications, such as machine parts, automotive components, and molds for plastics and metals. This enhanced Sulzer Metco’s service network in Europe and the USA.

Launch of SinplexPro™ plasma spray gun

Sulzer Metco extends its cascading arc technology via the launch of the SinplexPro™. Building upon the successful design of the TriplexPro™ plasma gun, the SinplexPro combines the benefits of cascading anode design with the simplicity of a single-cathode. The result are guns that spray with higher deposit efficiencies at significantly higher powder feed rates than traditional single-cathode plasma guns.


Sulzer Metco acquired the assets of the carbon business of Thermoset Inc. in Mequon, Wisconsin, USA. This acquisition complemented Sulzer Metco’s high-performance carbon friction product line with a well-proven woven carbon friction material. It also strengthened Sulzer Metco’s position in the global truck and passenger car market.

Cold Spray Technology

Sulzer Metco acquired the cold spray related assets and activities of CGT Cold Gas Technology GmbH and Aircraft Philipp Ampfing GmbH & Co.KG, Ampfing, Germany. With this acquisition, Sulzer Metco established a foundation for participation in and long-term development of the market for cold spray coating solutions.

Sulzer Metco becomes Oerlikon Metco

Oerlikon Group has successfully completed the acquisition of the Metco division from Sulzer and becomes Oerlikon Metco. By this Metco is now an important part of Oerlikon – bringing with us a strong market position and differentiated products and services. A wide spectrum of industries will benefit from new possibilities created from the combined products and solutions portfolio. Oerlikon is a leading Swiss high-tech industrial group, specializing in machine and plant engineering. Oerlikon has a history going back over 100 years.

Oerlikon strengthens its market access and service offering with the acquisition of Laser Cladding Services™

Oerlikon acquires the business of Laser Cladding Services, LLC., in Houston, Texas, USA – a company specialized in laser cladding applications for the energy industry. The acquisition extends and improves the Surface Solutions Segment’s service offering in laser cladding and opens up access to key customers in the US energy sector. The acquisition not only strengthens the Oerlikon Surface Solutions Segment’s existing laser cladding business, but is also complementary with its thermal spray offering, thereby broadening the Segment’s portfolio of services for customers.

Oerlikon Metco launches the SurfaceOne. The world’s first “Thermal Spray Coating Machine”

Oerlikon Metco's SurfaceOne™ is designed to bring forth a fresh approach towards thermal spray application technology. SurfaceOne is a fully contained coating machine, yet modular and configurable in design allowing customers to tailor Surface One to their needs. As a result of this novel design wins two renowned international design awards in 2018.

Oerlikon acquires promising surface and material technologies and expands technology portfolio

Oerlikon acquires Primateria AB in Sweden together with the assets of DiaPac LLC and Diamond Recovery Services Inc (DRS) in the USA. With the acquisitions, the Group continues to add promising technologies and expertise in the field of advanced materials and surface solutions to reinforce and expand its business offering. DiaPac LLC is an internationally recognized leader in providing high-performance powered metals, wear-resistant surface coatings and cemented carbides for use in oil & gas, mining, construction, agricultural and manufacturing operations. Diamond Recovery Services (DRS) specializes in providing hard materials and environmentally complementary reclamation services that are applied across a broad spectrum of applications.

Oerlikon gains unique technology and process expertise in advanced materials

Oerlikon acquires Scoperta Inc., an innovative solution provider in advanced materials development, based in California, USA. With the acquisition, Oerlikon gains for its Surface Solutions Segment unique and proprietary process technology and expertise in rapidly designing and developing materials using computational software, enabling fast identification of disruptive material solutions.

Oerlikon strengthens technologies and competencies through the acquisition of AMT AG

Oerlikon acquires AMT AG in Kleindöttingen, Switzerland. The combination of Oerlikon Metco’s surface solutions portfolio and innovation power with the technology know-how and customized customer approach of AMT, allows the exploration of new business opportunities and opening up of new markets.

2021 Oerlikon Metco extends its industry leading cascaded arc Atmospheric Plasma Spray (APS) technology to be used in Chamber processes

In the drive to extend the process robustness and sustainability offered by the now “industry standard” cascaded arc TriplexPro & SinplexPro APS guns, the same technology is now provided by the SinplexPro™ 03C “chambered plasma spray gun”. Offering Helium & Hydrogen free parameters, this new design of vacuum gun not only provides the expected increases in efficiency, but also allows for an extra environmental benefit via these reduced gas requirements.

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