Two forces propel research and development at Sika: On one hand global trends, defined by the principles of sustainable development, such as the demand for building methods that conserve resources or energy-saving construction materials. On the other hand, diverse specificities of the construction industry from country to country such as differences in raw materials availability, climate or legal regulations which require considerable adaptation of products to meet local needs.

Facts and Figures

Research and development at Sika at a glance:

  • 11 Technology Centers in 9 countries, 6 Regional Technology Support Centers
  • Worldwide: some 1200 employees in R&D, Quality Assurance, TS;
    of these, 470 work directly with central Research & Development
  • Remaining employees in subsidiaries responsible for local adaptations, QA, and TS
  • 245 employees R&D Switzerland (12/08) with 17 nationalities
  • Some 70% of turnover is generated with polymer-based products, of these, some 60% (= 40% of turnover) are polyurethanes. Sika is the largest manufacturer of one-component sealants and adhesives worldwide.
  • 20% (= 16% of turnover) are epoxyde polymers, other polymers are mainly PCE.
  • Sika generates one third of net sales with products launched within the last five years.

Innovation Management

R&D strategy includes centralized and decentralized elements that complement each other perfectly. The centrally organized research handles long term research programs, delivers analytical services and provides R&D management for the entire Sika Group. These responsibilities are bundled in the subsidiary Sika Technology AG. The second element of the R&D strategy is the regional adaptation of products, solutions and applications via eleven Sika Technology Centers strategically established in North America, Europe and Asia.

In close contact with customers, Regional Technology Support Centers (RTSC) adapt Sika products to local conditions and the individual needs of customers and also evaluate alternative sourcing of local raw materials to cost-optimize onsite product manufacturing.

As the volume of information to be managed and the complexity of product requirements are constantly increasing, Sika combines focused use of resources – Technology Centers and Regional Support Centers – with central administration of know-how and adaption of global solutions to regional and local needs.

Product Technologies

The long term research programs are aligned with Sika’s core competencies and focus on seven technologies:

  • Construction Chemicals and Mortars
  • Elastic Adhesives and Pretreatments
  • Elastic Sealing and Bonding
  • Structural Adhesives
  • Floorings and Coatings
  • Acoustic Insulators and Reinforcers
  • Membranes for Roofing and Waterproofing

Sika Technology Centers

Sika Technology Centers: complemented by Regional Technology Support Centers.

The second component in the R&D strategy is the adaptation of products, solutions and applications to regional or customer-specific requirements. This responsibility falls onto Sika Technology centers established in America, Europe and Asia, in close collaboration with the Regional Technology Support Centers. The support centers in the country subsidiaries can quickly adjust, for example, concrete admixtures to local climatic conditions or locally obtainable cement and aggregates. These centers are also responsible for sourcing appropriate regional or local raw materials to facilitate cost-optimized manufacturing of products on site.

At the heart of Innovation: Sika Technology Center, Zurich

The Zurich based Technology center, a state of the art facility, featuring modern laboratories and benefitting of the latest technology available in the field of R&D, primarily focuses its research on bonding and sealing products such as polyurethanes, silane-terminated polymers, polyacrylates and epoxy hybrids. The fundamentals of bonding and sealing technologies are investigated in the synthesis laboratories. This consists of the development of specially coordinated polymers, of new hardening mechanisms and of surface-active substances for adhesion improvement. Another essential aspect of our research work in the field of construction chemicals resides in the structural relation between waterproofing polymers and hydraulic binders.

The building of the new technology center follows the Sika concept “from Roof to Floor”: Sika products are used on the roof, in the sealing and fixation of the courtyard glass façade as well as for flooring and wall coverings, and in below ground sealing. The facility features a combined surface area of 10 000 square meters and a volume of 40 000 cubic meters.