Our research and innovation activities are aimed at creating value for our customers in order for our business and all our stakeholders to prosper in the long term. We co-create with customers and suppliers around the globe to develop, implement, upgrade and protect both current and future technologies. We listen to our customers so we understand their innovation and processing needs. Knowing how our products function within their production processes and products is key to developing value-creating solutions.
As part of our strategy toward sustainable value creation, we raise our ambitions, as a leading innovator in our industry, to spearhead new developments and adjacent technologies that will benefit our customers.
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.
The Research and Innovation department is the center of expertise for Bekaert’s core technology domains: physical metallurgy, fatigue & mechanical performance, corrosion & metallic coatings, and organic coatings. In addition, it also focuses on data modeling and sensor technologies in close cooperation with the engineering and IT departments.
Bekaert actively seeks opportunities for cooperation with strategic customers, suppliers and academic research institutes and universities. We also consider investments in early-stage companies and venture capital funds that may create new attractive business models adjacent to Bekaert’s current field-of-play. Read more about our partnerships in the segment reports and in the 2020 Sustainability Report.
The Intellectual Property department of Bekaert takes care of patents, designs, trademarks, domain names and trade secrets for the whole Bekaert Group, including the joint ventures in Brazil. It also advises on IP clauses in various agreements such as joint development agreements and licenses. At the end of 2020, the Bekaert Group had a portfolio of more than 1800 patents and patent applications, including 28 first patent filings in 2020, and more than 1 700 trademark registrations.
Bekaert’s in-house engineering department plays a key role in the optimization and standardization of our production processes and machinery. Newly designed equipment always combines innovative solutions for performance improvements in various areas, including product quality, production excellence and flexibility, cost efficiency, energy consumption, machine safety, ergonomics and the environmental impact. Currently, we are implementing a new and sustainable operating model that allows us to concentrate on developing innovative equipment for new products, new processes and extended digital tools and features.