Innovation and growth

Creativity, innovation, customer connections, and research are dynamic components of Sika’s long-term success and future growth. Multiple large-scale projects are cultivated simultaneously around the globe, resulting not only in effective and original products for customers, but also in opportunities for knowledge sharing among R&D teams in different countries. Securing and enforcing patents is an active part of protecting Sika’s intellectual property.

CUSTOMER-FOCUSED DEVELOPMENT

The objective for Sika staff is to meet all of the challenges faced by customers today by launching new products in response to tighter regulations for adhesives and sealants, developing new solutions to meet the ever-greater demands in terms of easy and efficient application and environmental compatibility. In 2018, the dedicated focus on the development of innovative product solutions for bonding, sealing, damping, reinforcing, and protecting load-bearing structures has again been the cornerstone of Sika’s success in all target markets.

The research and development of new products, systems, technologies, applications, and production processes form the basis of Sika’s innovations. Its research activities are carried out by more than 900 employees at 20 global technology centers. 44 local and 20 regional research and development facilities are globally aligned to Sika Technology AG. Sika Technology targets the development of proprietary technology that provides key performance benefits and allows Sika’s product platforms to respond to global trends, such as resource-saving building methods, energy-efficient and low-emission construction materials, high-speed manufacturing methods, or lighter and safer vehicles.

Key projects focus on high-performance molecules with unique features, smart refining techniques for polymers and surfaces, and tailored laboratory equipment allowing quick scale-up to full-size production. The Sika Technology team developed more than 50 noteworthy new products in 2018. In collaboration with Technical Operations, Sika engineers and researchers also aspire to tighten the comprehensive product assortment, to invest in new component technologies and to simplify processes in production, marketing, and distribution.

KNOW-HOW AND CHALLENGE-DRIVEN INNOVATIONS

While customer and market-focused product development is essential for short and mid-term growth and margin protection, it is not enough for the long-term, sustainable protection of bottom line growth. To improve long-term market impact and influence, a set of investigations of future challenges and customer requirements was initiated in 2018. The objective is to use Sika’s broad knowledge for breakthrough innovations. Research in this context encompasses the identification of innovation potentials, independent of core technology and target markets. Within defined “Innovation Platforms”, such as new foams for insulation, new construction materials and high-performing water-based systems, feasibility studies were initiated.

Research Strategy

Sika’s research activities are carried out at its 20 global technology centers, with Switzerland as a key location. The research program targets the development of proprietary technology that provides key performance benefits and thus allows Sika’s product platforms to respond to global trends such as resourcesaving building methods, energy-efficient and low-emission construction materials, high-speed manufacturing methods, or lighter and safer vehicles. Key projects focus on high-performance molecules with tailored features, smart refining techniques for polymers and surfaces, and digitalized manufacturing technologies such as 3D printing, allowing not only high-precision automation, but also individualized production of complex components and structures, both in the laboratory and in full-size production.

Sika complements its internal research efforts by working with major universities and scientific institutes on fundamental technologies. One example is the “Mesh Mould” project, in partnership with the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Zurich and other partners, in the development of a robotized construction method for building load-bearing concrete elements of any shape without formwork. Sika also participates in international research projects and networks, such as the “Lorcenis” and the “EnDurCrete” projects. These grant-supported consortium projects run under the HORIZON 2020 program of the European Union and center on durable, environmentalfriendly reinforced concrete for energy infrastructure, industrial, and offshore applications.

Focus of development in individual target markets
Development focus in individual target markets