On 4 April Oerlikon Balzers, a leading provider of surface solutions, opened a new customer centre in Querétaro, Mexico. At the opening ceremony Oerlikon Balzers Mexico also celebrated its 20-year anniversary with customers and guests of honour. This new site represents another key milestone in Oerlikon Balzers’ growth strategy, as it allows the company to respond to the increased demand from the automotive industry for its sustainable highquality coatings and heat treatments.
Oerlikon Balzers can now supply its environmentally-friendly PPD and BALITHERM PRIMEFORM technologies, which ensure sustainable production of automotive components, to the Mexican automotive industry for the first time. Both represent a unique alternative to hard chrome plating, which has long been recognised as harmful to the public and the environment. In Querétaro, Oerlikon Balzers will serve OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers in the automotive industry as well as mould makers in the metal forming and plastics processing industry.
Querétaro is ideally situated close to Oerlikon Balzers’ customers, allowing delivery times to be reduced and high-quality service and consulting to be provided. Together with the existing customer centre in Querétaro, Oerlikon Balzers Mexico has now positioned itself as an all-round provider of surface solutions. The start of production in Querétaro reduces the workload in the US-based centres, and the new location is well-positioned to serve other Latin American countries.
PPD technology – the environmentally-friendly heat treatment
Developed by Oerlikon Balzers, PPD is an environmentally-friendly and more cost-effective alternative wear protection to harmful chrome plating and an improvement on conventional nitriding. PPD protects punching tools by giving them a wear-resistant, hardened surface ideal for demanding production and working environments, and the process gives automotive customers a new service for large stamping tools and plastic injection moulds of up to 40 tons and ten metres in length.
The enormous capacity of the PPD chamber reduces project lead times, allows higher-quality and longer-lasting automotive components to be produced by improving tool surface properties, and results in significant cost savings owing to fewer scrapped parts and reduced tool maintenance requirements.
BALITHERM PRIMEFORM – high-efficiency moulds with brilliant surfaces
Treatment with BALITHERM PRIMEFORM is the ideal way to improve demoulding, optimise process reliability and enhance component quality. The increased surface hardness makes injection moulds more robust, reduces build-up, spalling and edge embrittlement, and allows repairs and re-polishing without stripping and recoating, significantly reducing maintenance and down times. BALITHERM PRIMEFORM is the ideal solution for plastic injection moulds in the automotive, furniture, packaging and medical industries.
Marc Desrayaud, Head of Oerlikon Balzers, said in his ceremony speech: “We have decided to increase our investment here in Querétaro and expand our services by offering our PPD technology, which replaces harmful hard chrome with a solution that is 100% eco-friendly. Our PPD technology is a high-end, innovative solution that makes production more efficient, reduces downtimes and, above all, enhances the surface quality of our customers’ components. Mexico’s industry is strong, and we believe in its professional, economical and human power. Our Oerlikon Balzers team here in Querétaro is now ready and looking forward to delivering the best solutions and services to our customers.”
Nathan Olds, Regional Executive Americas, emphasised the importance of the new location: “Today marks a very special achievement for Oerlikon Balzers in the Americas region as we officially begin production in our new, state-of-the-art PPD facility. This facility is now our 26th service centre in operation serving our customers throughout a region that covers Canada down to Argentina. We are proud to have an established presence in Mexico with our main facility located in Querétaro and our growing facility located in Saltillo, where we serve our customers in the North.”
Francisco Domínguez Servién, Governor of Querétaro, said: “Querétaro is the gateway to the most competitive regions of the country. This entity has an effective vision involving industry, academia and the state government as facilitator. Having done business here for 20 years now, Oerlikon Balzers has found conditions of stability and peace to grow, and in particular it has found the necessary talent to develop its unique technology across Latin America.”