Technology Center in Bironico, Switzerland
Our R&D team is fully moved into our newly built Technology Center in Bironico, Switzerland.
The new Technology Center is approximately 3000 square meters and contains eleven different labs dedicated to process, product, and application development as well as office workspace for our scientists, engineers, and technicians.
Previously, the Switzerland based R&D team was located on the same premises as our synthetic production plant in Bodio. The new R&D facility was built to allow room for operations to expand in Bodio. We took the opportunity to build a new state of the art R&D facility with respect to technology and safety that our customers expect from a market leader.
The new lab will support IMERYS Graphite & Carbon’s customer-driven research and development activities by facilitating possible collaborations and joint-developments with customers as well as providing ongoing technical support. Examples of the cutting edge projects that are on-going or planned in this lab are:
- Carbon materials for the next generation of energy storage and conversion systems, such as lithium-ion batteries and fuel cells
- Electrically conductive carbon additives for batteries and conductive polymers
- Development of sustainable and environmentally friendly solutions such as our unique chemical vapor deposition technology to coat carbon particles. We currently apply this technology to coat graphite with amorphous carbon on an industrial scale rather than to coat graphite with pitch, which is extremely toxic and damaging to the environment. Such coated graphites are used in lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles.
- Friction materials for environmentally friendly brake pads for automobiles
- Carbon dispersions for conductive coatings used in electro-conductive or lubrication applications
- Thermally conductive carbon materials for thermal management solutions
Dario Cericola, the technical leader of this project who also headed the construction of the Imerys Tokyo Satellite Lab in collaboration with our colleagues in Japan in 2015, said that the biggest challenge he encountered was “managing to stay on schedule and meet tight deadlines,” as both designing and building a brand new state of the art lab of this size in under two years is no small feat.
The immense amount of dedication and planning that went into this project was celebrated with an inauguration inviting customers, business neighbours, members of the local community, employees and their families.