News Release from Aalberts Surface Treatment GmbH


Wind Industry Profile of

Interview with Dr. Sauer, director of AHC

This interview was done at the Hannover Messe 2013

Question: Dr. Sauer, which innovations are you presenting at the Hannover-Messe trade show this year?

Dr. Sauer: We're here with two innovations at the booth. The first is the entire range and extent of thermal spraying that we plan implement into our product portfolio. The second is the oxidation of aluminium surfaces by means of laser technology in the LASOX-COAT® process.

In conventional electroplating, electricity is applied to electrolyte bath consisting primarily of acid, which requires a great amount of energy and large containers filled with these chemicals. The idea behind the development of the LASOX-COAT® process is simply to apply a laser and a reaction gas to create a surface similar to the one we now mass produce using conventional methods. We have succeeded in doing this. In this way, we wish to contribute to cost reduction, quality improvement and, most important, environmental protection. That's a vision for the next three to five years: To apply the LASOX-COAT® process more and more in the industry.

Question: Which sectors and target groups are you addressing specifically?

Dr. Sauer: In the end, there are two main sectors. One is general mechanical engineering. The LASOX-COAT® coat possesses new properties. It's significantly harder than anything we know now, even harder than chrome. Here we achieve a hardness of 2,000 HV. With chrome, a hardness of 1,000 HV is normal. So when this coat can be applied to aluminium, engineers have much more room to expand their creativity and implement new ideas. The other target group is the automotive industry, which is always in search of ways of cutting costs. By coating with a laser without liquid, without drying, without rinsing etc., we'll also be able to offer the industry an economical process in a few years in the final expansion stage.

Question: When we look at the market for surface technology, which developments do you see – both economic and technical?

Dr. Sauer: There are many surface treatment companies able to produce high-quality coats. Both economically and technically, however, the challenge is to do this every day in large amounts at the same level of quality. Therefore, the innovations or challenges that we see every day are simply found in process engineering. Coating five parts is one thing, but coating 25 million parts every year with the same quality and delivered at the right time – that's an entirely different challenge. And that's where I see the greatest potentials in the future. Every customer would naturally like 100 % perfect parts and never receive a component from us that doesn't correspond to specifications...and that's where I see a lot of room and opportunity to change things.

Question: AHC clearly has a solid position in the market. Where then do you see your company in two years or so?

Dr. Sauer: We're a provider of coatings for technical surfaces. We're not going to leave this sector. We've set our focus on functional, technical surfaces. With thermal spraying, we've now taken the first step in expanding our portfolio. We plan on bringing more technology on board, by means of both further and new developments, and we will establish ourselves more broadly, both regionally and interregionally. Currently we're quite active in China. We're discussing activities in America. India is always being discussed, but also Western Europe and Europe as a whole, for example Poland and the Czech Republic, so that at some time – two years is maybe a bit too short-sighted – we can offer our technology on a global scale. After all, our customers also produce worldwide by now.


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