Market-driven innovation

Supporting customers with enhanced product performance

Developing new products is important. But improving products or providing green alternatives is equally key for providing our customers a competitive edge in their market.

Improving product performance and addressing trends

In 2011 we further improved our super, ultra and next generation tensile tire cord products. By producing finer cords that offer equal strength, we are responding to the trend for lower weight and lower rolling resistance, thereby increasing fuel efficiency. This combination of lighter and stronger wires also distinguishes our product offering in other markets, such as rope wire for crane ropes and mooring lines.

Another example of our continuous effort to improve product performance, is Murfor®+, a second generation solution for masonry reinforcement. The existing Murfor® allows our customers in the construction industry to create longer walls and reduce the number of movement joints, and hence expands architectural freedom. The new Murfor®+ ensures optimal positioning in the masonry. It guarantees a maximum reinforcement effect while allowing faster execution. 

Steel wires and strands for overhead power conductors are the perfect example of the unique combination of our core competences: by offering a higher tensile wire, coated with Bezinal 3000®, our customers’ ACSR cables are stronger and more durable and can better withstand the higher temperatures caused by increased power transportation.

At Bekaert, we believe our innovation efforts can also create ways to reinvent customers' way of working. Therefore, we invest in ever stronger cords, in hybrid solutions of different kinds, in new generation sawing wires, in upscaling coating technologies, etc.,  to address also the future needs of our customers.

Innovation in a nutshell 

  • In 2011 we invested € 90 million in R&D.
  • R&D specialists of 20 nationalities work on customer-driven research projects.
  • We have Technology Centers in Belgium and China and various development labs around the world.
  • 48 first patent applications were filed in the course of 2011, a record number for Bekaert, bringing our portfolio to more than 330 patent families with more than 2000 patent applications and patents.

Innovation in partnership

  • Goodyear recognized Bekaert for generating and implementing new ideas and solutions that respond to Goodyear’s challenges. Bekaert participates in Goodyear’s ‘Supplier Innovation Program’ that was launched in 2009 to accelerate market-driven innovation by creating an efficient, aligned and effective value chain and a culture of learning.
  • During their ‘Supplier Conference’ in Geneva (Switzerland), Parker, a worldwide customer for hose and mooring wire and the global leader in motion and control technologies, rewarded Bekaert with the ‘Innovation Performance Award’ for the introduction of flat hose wire. This new technology allowed Parker to increase the performance of the final product by 20%. On top of this, Bekaert received an award for proactively working together with Parker.
  • Walther Van Raemdonck, Global Technology Manager Wire at Bekaert, George Krauss, David K. Matlock and Ryan Pennington (Advanced Steel Processing and Products Research Center at the Colorado School of Mines) received the ‘Allan B. Dove Memorial Medal Award’ from the Wire Association International for the paper ‘The effect of silicon and aging on mechanical properties and fracture response of drawn high-strength pearlitic steel wire’.

The environment drives innovation

In the development of new products, we never ignore the challenges of tomorrow: the demand of adequate, clean materials and the growing needs for mobility and for materials with improved properties. These challenges are the driving force behind our growth. In 2011, we increased our efforts in biodegradable extrusion polymers. Ecobind®, for example, is a colored eco-friendly coating for bookbinding wire. This plant-based coating features the same properties as petroleum-based coatings but is 100% compostable in an industrial composting environment and CO2 neutral.

R&D that spans the globe

At Bekaert, we have the opportunity to perform extensive R&D because we have built a truly global R&D organization. Our customers can rely on us for business or customer-specific projects. The multi-disciplinary teams working in our technology platform consist of highly qualified scientists and engineers from different nationalities, academic backgrounds and gender. Together with their colleagues in the engineering department and our worldwide plants, they tackle technology projects across different locations.

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