Innovation is a key driver of Bekaert’s technological leadership. Our activities in this field are aimed at creating value for our customers in order for our business, and all our stakeholders, to prosper in the long term. We partner with customers and suppliers around the globe to develop, implement, upgrade and protect both current and future technologies. Listening closely to our customers and understanding how our products function within their production lines and products is key to developing value creating solutions.
Transforming steel wire and applying unique coating technologies form our core business. To strengthen our technological leadership in these competencies, Bekaert invests intensively in research and development, and sees innovation as a constant, driving factor in all our activities and processes.
Innovation in practice: continuously redeploying our core competencies
In order to sustain and strengthen our technological leadership, we continue to explore new possibilities in steel wire transformation and coating technologies. Even after 135 years of expertise, there is still much to be discovered in our search for the optimal bulk and surface properties of steel wire.
Through steel wire transformation, we influence the properties of steel such as strength, ductility, fatigue, and shape. In 2014, we have advanced our development efforts in applications that offer high added value and promising perspectives:
- Bekaert’s super-tensile and ultra-tensile steel cord ranges allow tire makers to produce tires with a lower weight, thinner plies, and lower rolling resistance.
- Our ropes platform made headway for new rope compositions such as: high performance ropes, hybrid ropes, compacted strands and ropes, and a new generation of plastic-enhanced dragline ropes for oil sands mining shovels.
- We developed a new generation guard rail with optimal energy dissipation. Three Bekaert wire products, embedded in a thermoplastic matrix, form Bekaert’s newest entry into cable guide rail systems for motorway median barriers that prevent crossover accidents.
- When it comes to precision profiling, our newest range of flat and shaped wires, widely used in automotive and oil and gas industries, are examples of micro-tolerance in modeling, quality and consistent finish performance.
- In 2014 Bekaert’s R&D efforts also focused on disruptive technologies that aim at creating superior value for our customers:
International tire manufacturers are participating in our newest generation of rubber reinforcement solutions which promises to create unmet value in tire innovation. This Bekaert tire reinforcement fabric represents a disruptive technology that eliminates the need for spool creels in the production of the tire ply on a calendar. Tire makers see great opportunities in this invention by Bekaert, especially in its development of new tire designs and when running non-continuous batches, since this solution eliminates production downtime due to set-up changes of spool creels and calendars.