Sound, noise and vibration mediation technology is becoming lighter and greener following the November 2017 acquisition by Swiss-based Sika of the German Faist ChemTec group.
At the announcement of the purchase it was stated that “Sika’s strength in air-borne noise treatments and reinforcing parts is perfectly complemented by these acquired technologies, resulting in the availability of a full range of solutions for Sika customers. In addition, Sika will gain knowledge in acoustic technology for the white goods market and the construction industry”.
Faist ChemTec has strong technology and process know-how in modified bituminous and rubber based extruded products for the structure-borne noise management in the automotive industry. Its lightweight, multi-layer leading edge damping solutions allow car makers to design
lightweight cars without compromising on acoustic comfort while reducing the overall carbon footprint.
“The trend in automotive construction is moving towards electric vehicles, lightweight construction and multi-material design. By 2025 the number of electric vehicles sold is expected to reach 10 to 15 million. With the combined product ranges of Faist ChemTec and Sika, we will not only position ourselves as a strong supplier for conventional cars, but will also significantly profit from the megatrend towards electrically driven cars and increase our content per vehicle by more than 20%,” said Thomas Hasler, Head Industry – Global Business and Automotive, Sika, said at the announcement of the acquisition.
Automotive Industries (AI) asked Hasler whether Sika and its customers are seeing the benefits of the acquisition.
Hasler: The acquisition has expanded the depth of our solutions to offer options for total acoustic treatment methodologies regardless of the noise source. Sika has long been a leader in vehicle acoustics and noise abatement solutions within the automotive sector, and within our other target markets including white goods and construction our products contribute to quiet environments.
Our primary technical philosophy is to eliminate or reduce noise at the source to increase comfort, which eliminates the need for additional approaches like active noise cancellation (ANC) after the fact, thus adding proven value. With the addition of Faist Chemtec, which is considered an industry leader specifically in structure-borne noise abatement, the Sika brand gains excellent expertise together with a team of experienced personnel. The result is a vastly expanded product range in structure-borne noise abatement.
AI: How does this complement existing Sika technology?
Hasler: The industry has responded very positively. One customer commented “the addition of Faist to Sika creates a powerhouse in acoustics”. We consider the product additions as an enhancement to our full range solution approach for acoustics. While you don’t see our products, you experience them. They are there contributing to quiet performance experienced as comfort. Sika’s leading SikaBaffle® technology blocks airborne noise and seals cavities. Our patented SikaReinforcer® technology contributes strength and safety through innovative application techniques while also abating vibration, and our SikaDamp® constrained layer dampers eliminate vibration.
With the addition of the extensive Faist product range including bitumen products in multiple forms; melt sheets, expandable products, magnetic products and specific die cut capabilities we grow our already extensive toolbox for acoustics application solutions.
AI: How is the technology being integrated – will we see new products or combination of products featuring Sika and FAIST technology?
Hasler: With any acquisition integration is a crucial step. Our progress in this regard is excellent, through merging the strengths of both organizations to form a team deep in technical, market and production excellence. Integrating technology is most certainly an important activity. Suffice it to say we will draw on the expertise of Faist and our new products for addressing structure-borne noise coupled with our Sika array of talent and products for airborne noise and structural reinforcements which will yield new leading technology applications and positions.
AI: Please give us an example.
Hasler: Several examples can be mentioned which are products that both parties were already developing independently. They include damping and stiffening in a single product. Another key objective is to provide ultra-lightweight dampers which either meet or exceed the performance of equivalent but heavier products. In fact, the ultra-lightweight damper has just received the Altair Enlighten award in North America for presenting a 60% weight savings over traditional products.
Other pursuits include automated application methods of traditionally manually applied products. These developments cover the full spectrum of what our customers are seeking – versatility, lightweight solutions and assembly efficiencies. With our combined expertise the development of these solutions will accelerate. Naturally, there are other innovations to come many of which are well advanced but not yet ready for public discussion.
AI: How soon will the market see these new products and solutions?
Hasler: Sika is a company long driven by a heritage of continuous innovation. This innovative culture – we call it Sika spirit – is what attracted us to the possibilities of what a combined, and integrated Faist Chemtec presented. With the newly formed teams we are already working on synergistic development opportunities combining and leveraging our combined expertise in acoustics science. Therefore, we expect rapid yields from these efforts, with exciting new solutions introduced to our customers and the markets in an accelerated manner. Stay tuned.
AI: Does the acquisition expand your global footprint and capabilities?
Hasler: Certainly. The addition and integration of Faist Chemtec is in line with our Sika strategy of Global Reach, Local Presence. We gain ample and advanced manufacturing capabilities in three regions; Americas, EMEA and APAC which additionally offer basic technical service. We add acoustic competence centers in Germany with full testing capability for our automotive, appliance and building components customers which accents our well established, existing full range acoustics competence center in Madison Heights, Michigan, in the Detroit area. Finally, we have gained an excellent and knowledgeable global team which is already actively collaborating.
AI: Do you have anything further to add?
Hasler: Thanks for the opportunity to share our story. It is our belief too that Sika is a “Powerhouse” in acoustics technologies. There is no doubt we grow stronger with our new team members and technologies, opening and providing added value to our customers through a total approach to solutions for NVH abatement.