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Historical Milestones

Oerlikon is a global technology Group providing market-leading technologies and
services. Take a look back through our long and rich history.

  • Oerlikon opens its Additive Manufacturing Technology & Innovation Center in Munich, Germany

  • New Surface Solutions Segment launched

  • Successful recapitalization

  • Oerlikon takes over the operational management of Saurer AG.

  • Oerlikon-Bührle Holding listed on the stock exchange

  • Schweizerische Werkzeugmaschinenfabrik Oerlikon (SWO) founded – the predecessor to Oerlikon-Bührle AG.

2017

Oerlikon acquires Swedish surface engineering specialist Primateria

Oerlikon opens its Additive Manufacturing Technology & Innovation Center in Munich, Germany

Oerlikon introduces its revolutionary thermal spray solution RotaPlasma HS1

Oerlikon introduces color-coding to its BALIQ UNIQUE coatings

Oerlikon starts building a new facility for additively manufactured advanced components in the US

2016

Successful sale of the Vacuum Segment

Appointment of Anna Ryzhova as Chief HR Officer and Member of the Executive Committee

Oerlikon joins America Makes to grow additive manufacturing business

Acquisition of Truetzschler’s staple fiber technology portfolio. Oerlikon becomes leader in staple fibers market

Appointment of Dr. Roland Fischer as Group CEO

2015

NASA discovers first earth-size planet in the habitable zone of another star
Apple Watch releases
Overall World Cup victory for Julie Zogg

Manmade Fibers Segment wins large orders totaling more than CHF 50 million for latest staple fiber technologies

Strengthening Surface Solutions technology portfolio with the acquisition of Laser Cladding Services?

Oerlikon signs joint venture to strengthen position in polycondensation production

The Manmade Fibers Segment has signed a joint venture agreement with the Chinese company Huitong Chemical Engineering Technique Co., Ltd. The joint venture strengthens Oerlikon’s position in the growing business of designing, setting-up and servicing polycondensation plants.

Oerlikon opens first joint Balzers and Metco technology service center in Guelph, Canada

Change in Board of Directors

At the Annual General Meeting of the Shareholders three new Board Members have been elected: Dr. Michael Suess, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Dr. Mary Gresens and Johan Van De Steen as Members of the board. Tim Summers, Carl Stadelhofer and Kurt Hausheer did not stand for re-election.

Sale of the Advanced Technologies Segment to Evatec

2014

One World Trade Center opens
Germany wins the FIFA World Cup
Ice-bucket challenge takes over the Social Media World

OGeco, the latest innovation developed by Oerlikon Graziano for the hybrid and electric market

OGeco, the latest innovation developed by Oerlikon Graziano for the hybrid and electric market

New Surface Solutions Segment launched

With the acquisition of Metco, Oerlikon sets out for growth path with the new Surface Solutions Segment: Oerlikon Balzers and Oerlikon Metco

New Surface Solutions Segment launched

Successful market launch of Oerlikon Leybold Vacuum's TURBOVAC i

Successful market launch of Oerlikon Leybold Vacuum's TURBOVAC i a new vacuum technology for the analytics market and for research and development

Successful market launch of Oerlikon Leybold Vacuum's TURBOVAC i Turbovac Microsite

2013

Oerlikon Balzers expands footprint in Asia

Focus on growing and less cyclical manmade fibers market

Oerlikon completed sale of its natural fibers and components businesses and will focus on the manmade fiber business. The Textile Segment has been renamed the Manmade Fibers Segment.

Focus on growing and less cyclical manmade fibers market

2012

Roger Federer wins his 17th Grand Slam title
Facebook IPO

Oerlikon officially opens Chinese headquarters in Shanghai

The Chinese headquarters will consolidate the Company's eight offices currently in operation in Shanghai and bring all business segments under one roof.

Dividend

After a gap of eight years, Oerlikon resumed the payment of a dividend (CHF 0.20 per share).

Opening of Drive Systems factory and coating center in Suzhou, China

Oerlikon Drive Systems opens its new plant in Suzhou, while Oerlikon Coating launches its expanded coating and expertise center.

2011

Wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton

McLaren, Lamborghini and Aston Martin fit Oerlikon gears

At the Geneva Motor Show, leading sports car manufacturers unveil new vehicles fitted with Oerlikon Graziano gears.

McLaren, Lamborghini and Aston Martin fit Oerlikon gears

HEXAGON – output up to three times higher

The new solution from Oerlikon Systems for the advanced packaging of semiconductors dramatically reduces costs while increasing output up to three times.

HEXAGON – output up to three times higher

New record module by Oerlikon Solar

Oerlikon Solar unveils a new record module with 154 wattspeak stabilized output and 10.8 percent efficiency.

Record earnings before interest and taxes

In 2011 Oerlikon takes its profitability to a new level. EBIT-margin now stands at a record 10 percent. A workforce of 17 000 at over 150 sites in 38 countries generates turnover worth CHF 4.2 billion.

Partners in innovation

The Sauber Formula 1 team and Oerlikon Group form a partnership. They set their sights on devising new environmentally friendly initiatives and expanding existing ones.

2010

Antimatter atoms produced and trapped at CERN
Eyjafjallaj?kull erupts and stalls air traffic
The tallest man-made building to date, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, UAE is officially opened

Oerlikon Balzers takes over German plant constructor Hartec Anlagenbau

This takeover marks the expansion of Balzers into environmentally friendly, decorative/functional coatings for three-dimensional plastic components.

Oerlikon Balzers takes over German plant constructor Hartec Anlagenbau

Successful recapitalization

By means of a capital writedown, capital increase, and issue of new shares, Oerlikon injects around CHF 1 billion of new capital into its business and thereby places its finances on a firm footing.

DRYVAC

Oerlikon Leybold Vacuum launches DRYVAC onto the market. The new-generation pumps are of modular design and offer greatly reduced operating costs, with lower energy consumption.

DRYVAC

2009

Captain Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberger made an emergency water landing on the Hudson River
Barrack Obama becomes President of the United States of America

Oerlikon sells the Esec Business Unit to the Dutch company BE Semiconductor Industries NV.

Furthermore, Oerlikon is divesting its Etch business of Oerlikon Systems to the management. With these steps, Oerlikon is strengthening its alignment with its core competencies.

WINGS POY

Oerlikon Barmag unveils WINGS POY, a completely new process for the production of chemical fibers. WINGS POY is far more efficient and further improves yarn quality.

WINGS POY

2008

DOW crisis
Spacecraft lands on Mars

Due to the global economic and financial crisis, Oerlikon focuses on its core competencies in coating and surface/interface technologies.

The portfolio will be streamlined to strengthen the core businesses. Consequently, Oerlikon has sold its Optics business unit in Balzers, Liechtenstein, to the management and other private local investors. Separate discussions are ongoing with respect to the other two Oerlikon Optics businesses in Golden, Colorado (USA) and Shanghai, China.

In the focus of the 35th ordinary Shareholders` Meeting was the election of the new Board of Directors.

Dr. Urs Andreas Meyer, Kurt J. Hausheer, Hans Ziegler and Carl Stadelhofer were newly elected to the Board of Directors. Vladimir Kuznetsov and Dr. Hanno M. B?stlein remained in the Board of Directors. Vladimir Kuznetsov will preside over the Board of Directors as new Chairman. In addition, Renova Industries Ltd. raised its share of Oerlikon to nearly 40 percent and is the new main shareholder.

Opening of an office in Moscow and first coating center in Russia

Oerlikon starts to develop the Russian market, opening its first office in Moscow and a coating center in Elektrostal.

Opening of an office in Moscow and first coating center in Russia

Oerlikon sponsors Swiss-Ski

Oerlikon makes a joint commitment with Pirmin Zurbriggen to sponsor young Swiss skiers.

Oerlikon sponsors Swiss-Ski

Renova becomes a new key investor

The Renova Group takes over 45 percent of shares (as of end 2008) in Oerlikon, thus becoming the new principal investor.

Sale of Oerlikon Space

Oerlikon sells its space business to the Swiss company RUAG AG.

2007

TGV breaks record
Steve Jobs presents the first iPhone

2007 was the most successful year in Oerlikon`s recent history.

Sales raises by 20 percent to CHF 5.6 billion, the EBIT increases to CHF 496 million. The aim of Oerlikon is the re-alignment of R&D with the emphasis on clean technologies and nanotechnology.

Oerlikon Solar is becoming a new Segment in the Oerlikon group.

The Oerlikon group as the company continues to expand its commitment in clean technologies. The position of solar as an own segment further strengthens our presence in the emerging solar market and will enable us to extend our leadership in the marketplace.

Dr. Uwe Krüger was appointed Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Oerlikon group.

During the 34th ordinary Shareholders` Meeting, Vladimir Kuznetsov and Dr. Hanno M. B?stlein were elected as Members to the Board of Directors.

Oerlikon extends the Executive Board by two new members.

Bj?rn Bajan assumes the function of General Counsel. Dr. Uwe Krüger enhances the Executive Board as Chief Operating Officer (COO).

Oerlikon takes over the operational management of Saurer AG.

Oerlikon is optimizing its corporate structure in the wake of the Sauer integration. The Oerlikon Group, including the former Saurer business areas, will henceforth comprise 5 segments.

P3e/INNOVA: revolutionary coating technology

P3e marks a breakthrough in coating technology by Oerlikon Balzers in association with the INNOVA plant. The innovation results in coatings of maximum hardness at low temperatures.

P3e/INNOVA: revolutionary coating technology

Takeover of Saurer AG

Oerlikon acquires Saurer AG with two business divisions: Textile Machinery and Gears. This means the Oerlikon Group now comprises a total of five segments.

2006

With the rebranding to Oerlikon, the company has opened a new chapter in its successful hundred-year history.

The name is a clear declaration of belief in the company’s industrial tradition and is associated with typical Swiss values such as quality, reliability, precision, and the capacity for invention.

Parallel to the outstanding half-year results, the company announces its new organizational structure comprising four business segments.

With this move the restructuring period is successfully completed.

The proposed change of name from Unaxis to OC Oerlikon Corporation AG, Pf?ffikon, is met with universal acclaim at the general meeting.

Thus the foundations are laid for a new beginning with a name that is resonant of the company’s traditional values and strengths.

With the foundation of the new business unit “Solar”, the company enters the future market of solar energy.

This major step marks the end of a promising R&D project and the successful transformation of the former display unit into the completely new business with thin film solar modules. Oerlikon is the only supplier of production equipment for thin film solar modules worldwide.

Comprehensive rebranding

Renamed Oerlikon, the company stands by its business tradition and its typically Swiss values: quality, reliability, precision, and innovative flair.

Comprehensive rebranding

Establishment of the Solar Business Unit

Formation of its new Solar Business Unit takes the company into the futuristic market of solar energy. Oerlikon is the world’s only supplier of production plants for thin-film solar panels.

Acquisition of Fairfield Manufacturing Co., Inc. by Saurer

The Saurer Transmission Systems Division expands with the acquisition of Fairfield Manufacturing Co., Inc., a US market leader in manufacturing custom gears and special drive solutions for heavy-duty industrial and off-highway applications.

2005

First female Chancellor of Germany
Superjumbo makes its first flight

Reinforcement of Oerlikon business units through focused acquisitions

Space (Contraves Space) acquires the high-precision mechanisms business for space applications from the French company Snecma Moteurs, while Coating Services (Balzers) takes over two coating operations from its Italian customer Samputensili S.p.a.

At the Unaxis extraordinary general meeting held on June 28, 2005, a new board of directors is elected by a wide majority of shareholders in response to the motion by Victory Industriebeteiligung AG.

Under the leadership of this reconstituted board of directors, headed by CEO Thomas Limberger, and a new management team, the steps necessary for a turnaround at Unaxis are immediately initiated.

Under the new management the company achieves an impressive and fundamental turnaround in its operations.

Whereas Unaxis suffered a loss of CHF 372 million in 2004, the annual results for 2005 show a profit of CHF 18 million. All business units revert to profitability and growth. For the first time in the company’s history the holding company takes an operating approach and starts the integration and centralization of all segments (“one company”).

Neumag enters the nonwovens business

Neumag enters the nonwovens business and becomes the first provider of comprehensive solutions for all the main processes of manufacture of nonwoven fabrics.

Neumag enters the nonwovens business

Opening of the plant in Suzhou, China

Oerlikon opened a new location in Suzhou, China, which has developed to one of the biggest sites for the Group worldwide.

Opening of the plant in Suzhou, China

2004

Facebook launches

Realignment of the Unaxis Group structure.

The Group’s portfolio now comprises five separate segments: Semiconductor Equipment with the divisions Wafer Processing (previously Semiconductors Front End), Assembly & Packaging (previously Semiconductors Back End) and Display Technology (previously Displays), Data Storage Solutions (previously Data Storage), Coating Services (previously Surface Technology), Vacuum Solutions (previously Leybold Vacuum) and Components and Special Systems with the divisions Optics and Space Technology (previously Contraves Space).

Full integration of ESEC into the Unaxis Group via merger.

Delisting of ESEC shares.

Opening of Oerlikon Leybold Vacuum production building in Cologne

Since 2004, the Cologne plant has produced the most modern vacuum solutions, in high volumes, in close liaison with research and development. Innovative products respond to custom requirements.

Opening of Oerlikon Leybold Vacuum production building in Cologne

2002

Switzerland joins the UN

Fairfield Manufacturing Co., Inc. develops highly efficient compact wheel drive

Fairfield Manufacturing Co., Inc. develops a high-efficiency, compact wheel drive with the following features: self-contained unit, fully integrated motor, brake, planetary gearing, and mounting arrangement.

Fairfield Manufacturing Co., Inc. develops highly efficient compact wheel drive

2001

Apple introduces iPod
Wikipedia goes online

Leybold Optics sold.

Stake in Unaxis-Nextral (France) increased to 100 percent (Semiconductors Front End division).

Nimbus Technology and Engineering Ltd. (Great Britain) acquired by the Data Storage division.

SPTec Signal Processing Technologies SA (Switzerland) acquired and integrated in the Semiconductors Front End division.

Purchase of Magnetto Group Gear Division

Acquisition of Magnetto Group Gear Division. Growing up of Graziano Trasmissioni Group as the worldwide leader in gearing components.

Purchase of Magnetto Group Gear Division

2000

Billionth living person in India
Second millennium

Pilatus sold to a Swiss investor consortium.

Inficon spun off and listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange and the Nasdaq.

Large Area Coating division sold to Applied Films.

Acquisition of a majority interest in ESEC to form the new Semiconductors Back End division.

Oerlikon-Bührle becomes Unaxis Plasma-Therm (USA), which is acquired and integrated in the Semiconductors Front End division.

Balzers succeeds on the automotive market

Components coated with BALINIT? are used in the world’s first massproduced car to consume 3 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers traveled (the VW Lupo 3L TDI). The BALINIT?-coated components reduce thermal load and friction drag.

Balzers succeeds on the automotive market

Textiles – a foothold in the chemical fibers business

Through its acquisition of the -successful businesses Barmag AG and Neumag GmbH & Co. KG, Oerlikon Saurer Textile gains a foothold in the profitable and rapidly growing chemical fibers business.

Textiles – a foothold in the chemical fibers business

1999

Shanghai Pudong Airport
Hot air balloon
Euro established

Foundation of Graziano Trasmissioni India

Building up the plant to produce synchronizers and gears for the agricultural sector.

Foundation of Graziano Trasmissioni India

1998

Google it!

Establishment of a branch in Tianjin, China

Opening its first plant in China, Oerlikon Leybold Vacuum is quick to recognize the vast potential of this expanding economic region in South-East Asia.

The Oerlikon-Bührle Group is split up

Core business is renamed Unaxis.

1996

Titanic hits the screens
Dolly the Sheep is the world’s first cloned mammal

Graziano moves into automotive market

Graziano concludes a cooperation agreement with Ferrari to develop and deliver a new generation of complete gear systems. These are first used in the Ferrari 360 Modena.

Graziano moves into automotive market

1994

Oerlikon-Bührle acquires the Leybold Group, specializing in vacuum technology, and merges it with Balzers to form Balzers & Leybold, the thin film technology leader.

1992

Graziano joins Saurer AG

Graziano becomes part of Saurer AG, the worldwide leader in textile machinery, as Saurer Transmission Systems Division.

Graziano joins Saurer AG

1991

The World goes online

Decision to focus on technology, consumer goods and customer services.

1988

Oerlikon Space lifts off

Launch of the first European booster rocket, Ariane 4. The rocket features a payload fairing made of compound material from Oerlikon Space. Ever since, all Ariane rockets have been fitted with Oerlikon Space payload fairings.

Oerlikon Space lifts off

1983

First coating center in Italy

First coating center in Italy

Opening of the first coating center in Italy. Today, a worldwide network of 90 coating centers spans the globe, supplying know-how and services to all Oerlikon customers, wherever they are.

1980

The Oerlikon-Bührle Group employs around 37,000 people – the high-water mark in the corporation’s history.

1978

Karol Józef Wojtyla is elected Pope

Marketing of PVD hard coatings

Green light for the development and marketing of PVD hard coatings for tools with BALINIT? A. This innovative coating tech- nology sustainably extends the lifetime of tools subject to mechanical stress.

Marketing of PVD hard coatings

1976

Integration of Balzers AG into Oerlikon-Bührle.

1973

The first cell phone call

Oerlikon-Bührle Holding listed on the stock exchange

Now with over 100 member companies, the Group is consolidated under the Oerlikon-Bührle Holding (OBH) umbrella and floats on the stock market with a capital stock of CHF 590 million.

1968

Entry into the European space industry

The launch of the ESRO-1 research satellite, equipped with Oerlikon components, penetrates a market that remains lucrative to this day.

Entry into the European space industry

1957

Entry into the vacuum business

Early on, Oerlikon-Bührle invests in pioneering technology. Today it is one of the market leaders in this sector.

Entry into the vacuum business

1952

Fairfield Manufacturing Co., Inc. becomes North America’s leader in custom gear products

Fairfield Manufacturing Co., Inc. moves into a new modern facility on US 52, becoming North America’s leader in the production of custom gear products. The company experiences several expansions throughout this decade, including one inhouse heat treat facility.

Fairfield Manufacturing Co., Inc. becomes North America’s leader in custom gear products

1951

Foundation of Graziano

Graziano is founded as a family firm and starts its activity as a small plant with 15 employees.

Foundation of Graziano

1946

Saurer makes cotton machinery

Saurer begins manufacturing cotton machines in 1946. The machines knit ladies’ stockings in all patterns customary in the industry, using nylon, Perlon, as well as artificial and natural silk. For the first time, the company is able to supply the market with comprehensive product lines and varied designs.

Saurer makes cotton machinery

Foundation of Balzers

Ger?tebauanstalt Balzers is founded as a business. The object of the new equipment manufacturer is to develop viable industrial applications for the until then under-researched thin-film technology.

Foundation of Balzers

1939

Pilatus Flugzeugwerke founded.

1936

SWO becomes Werkzeugmaschinenfabrik Oerlikon&Co.

To spread his commercial risk, proprietor Emil Georg Bührle gradually expands the company by acquiring businesses in other sectors. In doing so, he lays the foundations of the highly diversified Oerlikon-Bührle Group.

1919

Foundation of Fairfield Manufacturing Co., Inc.

Fairfield Manufacturing Corporation, Inc. is founded as an offshoot of Ross Gear and Tool Company by David Ross to manufacture differential gears for the early automotive industry.

Foundation of Fairfield Manufacturing Co., Inc.

1907

Schweizerische Werkzeugmaschinenfabrik Oerlikon (SWO) founded – the predecessor to Oerlikon-Bührle AG.

In September, the machine tool factory Schweizerische Werkzeugmaschinenfabrik Oerlikon (SWO) is founded in Oerlikon, a district of Zurich. The workforce numbers 150.

Schweizerische Werkzeugmaschinenfabrik Oerlikon (SWO) founded – the predecessor to Oerlikon-Bührle AG.

1869

Delivery of the first embroidery machine

Delivery of the first embroidery machine in Arbon marks the start of a long-running success story for the Swiss textile production site.

Delivery of the first embroidery machine

1853

Foundation of the F. Saurer–Stoffel foundry

In 1853 Franz Saurer establishes a small foundry in a suburb of St. Gallen, Switzerland. This paves the way for more than a century and a half of history of the Saurer Industrial Group.

Foundation of the F. Saurer–Stoffel foundry

1850

Foundation of Leybold Vacuum in Cologne

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