STRONG OPERATING BUSINESS
Advanced Materials saw outstanding performance for the fifth year in succession and had another record year in 2018. It continued riding its wave of growth from 2017 to develop the business further, increasing order intake by 7.3% to CHF 721 million and turnover by 5.6% to CHF 705 million. The first Networking Days run by Advanced Materials in Suzhou, China, in April 2018 on the future of mobility highlighted the positioning and relevance of the business as a solution provider for the automotive industry and beyond.
After the successful market launch of a new process for manufacturing battery slurry, Grinding & Dispersing succeeded in tripling the business with corresponding orders for additional production lines. This battery slurry process has increased the electrical properties of batteries and is also more profitable. Grinding & Dispersing also grew in other areas – such as digital printing for personalized applications – driven by innovative products such as MacroMedia and MicroMedia in combination with integrated and modularized plant construction designs. This new technology and plant generation reduces use of raw materials by up to 10%, energy by up to 30%, and costs by up to 20%. The expertise in ink production also highlights the strong position in security inks. The ink in the new 200 Swiss franc note, for example, is processed on three-roll mills.
Success is further accelerating in Die Casting. This business area is experiencing a substantial increase in incoming orders and turnover. Growth has been driven by the Carat and Ecoline machine series. Thus far, over 500 systems of both product families have been installed at customer locations. Alongside previous technical solutions, three factors have been decisive here: First, the global positioning of Die Casting – Bühler is the only solution provider with the ability to locally produce die-casting machines in all three major hubs of the automotive industry. Second, this business area has in-depth knowledge of applications for aluminum structural components. Third, Die Casting is profiting from the rapid development of e-mobility, as it is increasingly common for parts of these vehicles to be made of light alloys. In Brescia, Die Casting moved into a new home with its revision business. This is now geared to double in volume, underlining the commitment to customer service.
Leybold Optics saw a massive increase in business with precision optics coating systems, including its Helios technology. The business area has successfully launched the new ion-beam sputtering solutions for high-end applications with the most challenging requirements. Furthermore, Leybold Optics has improved its strategic market position with the acquisition of Sputtering Components Inc., Owatonna, US. With this move, Leybold Optics acquired crucial products and technologies for large-area vacuum coating systems. Sputtering Components Inc. will continue to serve the global producers of coated glass and displays, integrating Leybold Optics’ expertise in optical measuring technology and process control.