R&D in figures - Bekaert Annual Report 2010

R&D in figures

R&D in figures

Bekaert’s worldwide R&D at a glance

R&D is part of Bekaert’s DNA. The resources invested in technology and innovation account for approximately 2.4% of consolidated sales.

Between 2003 and 2010, we substantially stepped up our investments in technology, in terms of both operating budget and allocated staff. In 2010 Bekaert further increased its R&D budget from € 63 million to € 79 million.

Currently, Bekaert employs over 700 dedicated staff in technology and innovation. At our Technology Center in Deerlijk (Belgium) more than 350 employees, representing 12 different nationalities, work in R&D. In excess of 350 people make up the R&D teams in the Bekaert Asia Research and Development Center in Jiangyin (China).

With the new Technical Center in Pune (India), our technology activities in India will also be playing an increasingly important role.

As for the protection of our intellectual property, in 2010 we filed 41 patents.

The new 8-story R&D building employs 350 researchers and laboratory technicians. It is equipped to provide fast and adequate support to Bekaert's customers and and operations in a wide range of activities, among which laboratory services for material analysis, prototype development and production, and specific R&D.

Two major technological core competencies are at the center of our R&D efforts. The first lies in our ongoing research into metal transformation and into the mechanical properties of metal, such as strength, ductility, and fatigue. The second focal point in our R&D consists of improving metal surface properties like adhesion, corrosion resistance and wear resistance through the application of various types of coating.

When it comes to long-term research into metal transformation technologies (heat treatments, wire drawing, cord making), Bekaert is indisputably the worldwide leader. Using this expertise we have developed high-strength wires and custom profiled wires to armor flexible risers in offshore oil & gas applications. Other examples are high-performance reinforcement materials for automotive applications such as steel cord reinforced GMT for bumper beams, ultra tensile steel cord for tire reinforcement and fine cord for timing belts.

Our research in advanced coatings (both metallic and polymer based) has led to advanced corrosion resistant coatings such as Bezinal®3000 and Bezinal®PLUS. These coatings have been applied to enhance the lifetime and performance of products such as fish rope wire, hoisting rope, and ACSS strands and wire.

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