Oerlikon Balzers is the global leader in surface coatings. These performance enhancing and longevity-extending coatings are applied to precision components as well as tools used by the metal and plastics processing industries. Developed by Oerlikon Balzers in Liechtenstein and marketed under the BALINIT® brand, the coatings are up to seventeen times thinner than a human hair; they are exceptionally hard and reduce friction and wear. They boost the reliability and stress tolerance of transmissions, reduce the fuel consumption of engines, and make possible more powerful and ecologically friendly pumps and compressors, to name just a few examples. The company's roots are in Liechtenstein, where the development and market launch of the BALINIT® PVD coating was officially kicked off in 1978. Oerlikon Balzers is a business unit of the Swiss Oerlikon Group, a globally active provider of manufacturing systems, components, and services in the domain of high-tech products. Oerlikon Balzers employs about 2700 people at 90 locations in 32 countries around the globe.
From contract coater to full-service provider
Today, the company offers its services through a dynamically growing network of nearly 90 coating centres in Europe, America, and Asia. In vacuum process chambers, hundreds of thousands of tools and precision components are coated with BALINIT® all over the world on a daily basis. But Oerlikon Balzers offers much more than coatings. Its products, processes, and support are totally geared to delivering customer benefit and added value. With its decentralised structure, the coating expert can serve and counsel customers on site anywhere in the world. In the earliest phases of a project, the company's technology specialists assure that all solutions are customised to the user's individual needs. Customer proximity is a daily reality: Tools and precision components are picked up at the customer's doorstep and returned after they have been coated at one of the centres. At in-house centres on customer premises, application-specific production lines are operated by Oerlikon Balzers staff members and fully integrated in the customer's manufacturing resources.
The quality has to be right
Starting with the thorough incoming inspection of tools and precision components, a complex multi-phase production process unfolds; it is fully tailored to the respective requirements that customers impose on their tools and parts. Highly specialized coating systems and processes are deployed at all locations. Automated and standardised procedures guarantee consistently high and reproducible quality. Whether the coating processes are implemented at an Oerlikon Balzers centre or on the customer's premises, uncompromising quality is the norm: All coating centres are certified to ISO 9001 and comply with ISO 14001 environmental management standards. Those centres that are specialised in coating parts for the automotive industry are also certified to ISO/TS 16949.
Acquisitions strengthen market position
In 2007, VST Keller GmbH – including its sites in Schopfheim and Pell City near Atlanta – was integrated into the company as Oerlikon Balzers VST with the status of an independent business unit. Its pulsed plasma diffusion process (PPD™) simplifies and expedites processes for dependable, minimal-stress tool treatments. With this acquisition, Oerlikon Balzers can now also offer wear protection for large-format castiron and steel tools – as the world's first provider able to handle tools weighing as much as 40 metric tonnes. Previously, the weight limit was three metric tonnes. This capability perceptibly sets Oerlikon Balzers apart from its competitors. No other company can leverage a comparably broad technological spectrum and master such a high degree of complexity in coating bulky components and forming tools. Hartec Anlagenbau GmbH was successfully integrated in the Balzers network in early 2011.
This acquisition allows Oerlikon Balzers to add environmentally friendly functional and decorative coatings for plastic substrates to its portfolio and further consolidates its position in the domain of component coatings. In the course of the years, Oerlikon Balzers gradually evolved to become the market leader in surface technologies.
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