Innovation and R&D

Ever since Sam Eyde established Elkem in 1904 our main activity has been to develop new products, markets and production methods. An ambitious innovation strategy in combination with a strong focus on future markets has been the foundation for Elkem’s development.

The Elkem innovation team was created in 2016. The team was founded to enrich our global culture of innovation, and to further strengthen market positions across all business segments.

The team consists of marketing, process and Research and Development (R&D) leaders from all our divisions.

R&D – a key to develop sustainable innovation

Elkem’s development has always been based on world-class in-house experience within our core competencies. Moreover, since the acquisition of Bluestar Silicones, now Elkem Silicones, we have an integrated silicon value chain research activity.

R&D is at the core of our business, and Elkem’s R&D centers and its 400 employees, are strategically located across Asia, Europe, Latin America and USA. Our commitment to R&D upholds our reputation as a leader in our field.

Elkem lead´s the way in pioneering technologies which ask more from both metallurgy and chemistry. During the last few years, innovation in Elkem has been focused on finding sustainable solutions.

Elkem University is the main internal area for technology transfer and dissemination of new knowledge.

Elkem’s innovation strategy covers:

  • Incremental innovation: The core of Elkem Business System (EBS) is the organisation’s continuous work on improvement. Elkem employees are always looking for improvement potentials, and use EBS tools to describe the potential, find solutions and measure results. This means that Elkem achieves progress that keeps the company equipped to stay competitive

  • Step change innovation: As we continue to evolve, we look for future growth opportunities by monitoring market trends. Working groups consisting of marketing, technology and R&D resources support front-end innovation and product development

  • Radical improvements: To keep our position as a world-leading materials producer Elkem also seeks radical improvements through research, and by exploring or inventing new markets

Innovation as part of the corporate strategy

In Elkem we adopt innovation targets to achieve both our strategic goals and environmental performance. Examples are carbon neutral metal production, research on reuse of process water, projects on energy recovery and energy efficiency.

The four most important areas for step change innovation or radical improvements are:

  • New or improved products and services

    • The new products are increasingly developed for high-end markets where large improvements are required to keep entry barriers and competitive advantage

    • We develop new services to support our customers in the launch of their own products, for instance, technical and safety trainings and fine-turning of the required properties

  • Fundamentally new production methods, equipment and processes that achieve improved quality, improved safety and a smaller environmental footprint of our products, like energy efficiency, resource efficiency, or reduced emissions

  • Development of new sources of raw materials

  • Innovative ways of working in sales, marketing and production

    • Innovation is a collaborative way to create value. More and more, different functions and entities are involved to optimise a sustainable value creation and propose new types of innovation such at business model-, product system- or customer experience innovation