Innovation and Research
Sika is leading the industry with its comprehensive portfolio of high-quality, sustainable solutions. Sika’s capability to address sustainability megatrends is evaluated from a life-cycle perspective along the value chain. The Sika brand is a worldwide symbol for technically superior, user-friendly, and long-lasting products.
Bringing innovation to life requires customer centricity and courage. For Sika, innovation means implementing something new that adds value. Sika employees drive progressive solutions, that move the industry forward and show customers the value of new approaches.
Courage for Innovation
Sika’s long history of innovation has made it a recognized global technology leader in many markets worldwide. Sika’s research and development activities are carried out by 1,334 employees (previous year: 1,240) across 21 Global Technology Centers and over 80 local and regional research and development facilities.
While investing in its own Technology Centers, the company also nurtures an international network of scientists, partners, suppliers, and customers. Sika enhances its research efforts by cooperating with renowned universities and scientific institutions such as ETH Zurich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich), EPFL (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne), University of Cadiz (Spain), University of Pennsylvania (USA), Princeton University (USA), the Beijing University of Chemical Technology (PRC), and similar institutions across the globe. In addition, Sika’s subsidiaries cooperate with research institutes in their local markets.
Sustainability as Innovation Driver
Combining innovation and sustainability allows Sika to help transform the construction and transportation industries. Sikadoes this by placing sustainability aspects at the core of strategicand operational innovation processes, while simultaneously drivingoperational efficiency and excellence across the organization. Sika’s goal is to innovate products that enable sustainable construction and transportation, reducing environmental impact along the value chain.
Sustainability has become the key driver for R&D projects at Sika. It fuels the quest for alternative, renewable materials, low carbon solutions, new recycling concepts, more efficient production methods like modular building, resource efficiency, healthier and safer spaces for living and working, enhanced product flexibility, and digitally enhanced solutions.
Sika helps its customers meet their challenges by developing new products in response to tighter climate-related and chemical regulations, increased sustainability awareness among their customers, and a shortage of skilled labor.
Key projects focus on high performance molecules with tailored features, smart refining techniques for polymers and surfaces, renewable and bio-based materials including recycling processes and sustainable construction methods, 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’s objective is to meet the challenges customers face today by launching new products in response to tighter chemical regulations, developing new solutions to meet the ever-greater demands in terms of easy and efficient application and optimized environmental footprint, supporting customers fostering their competitive advantage in regulation, sustainability, and market leadership.
The protection of intellectual property (IP) plays a vital role in competitive markets. While inventions need to be protected against imitators, ensuring FTO (freedom to operate) for new products over third-party IP is important too. To achieve the best possible benefit for the Group, the patent strategy is focused on three basic pillars (i) risk management and mitigation with respect to third-party patents, (ii) protection of new inventions according to commercial relevance of the products/solutions, and (iii) leveraging patents to support business.
168 new inventions were reported in 2022 (previous year: 150) and 104 new patent applications were filed (previous year: 99). By the end of 2022, Sika’s patent portfolio included 1,302 unique patent families with 4,493 single national patents.
Digitalization of Sika Products and Solutions
Sika leverages digital technology to optimize or enhance processes related to the use and life cycle of its products and solutions. One example of optimization at Sika is the range of calculation software available to its customers. These tools allow for more speed in the selection of Sika products, hence avoiding waste or shortage of material during a given application.
Digitalization is also revolutionizing the construction and manufacturing sectors through 3D printing, concrete pouring without formwork (MESH), digital planning, and support tools that increase accuracy and save time. Sika is the only company capable of supplying all of the technologies required for industrial 3D concrete printing from a single source.
The range of solutions includes mortars, admixtures, and the printing system together with the software. Sika has teamed up with several partners to commercialize 3D concrete printing technology in the construction industry and to capture its vast potential. Sika’s solution combines sustainability with operational efficiency and productivity improvements. Software developed by Sika focuses on modeling complex 3D printed elements. Advanced Sika 3D printing technologies allow the realization of new building concepts and more complex shapes while achieving a perfect printing quality with minimum material.
Another strategic topic is the modular approach to construction, which increases the degree of automation and efficiency in the realization of construction projects, while simplifying compliance with rigorous safety standards. With its products, systems, and solutions, Sika can accelerate technological change on construction sites. In roofing solutions, Sika offers an efficient system for leak monitoring and detection. In digital construction, a range of exciting challenges across economic, environmental, technical, and architectural fields are evolving. Sika covers all activities required for the complete digitalization of the construction industry, including design, processes and operations, additive materials, and connected devices.