Nikon Corporation (Nikon) has formed a strategic joint development agreement with bionic surface technologies (BST) GmbH, experts in creating solutions and optimizing efficiency using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and Riblet technology, to accelerate innovation in Riblet deployment for a multitude of applications.
Riblets are specially developed micro-surface structures shaped like the small grooves on the skin of a shark that is designed to reduce viscosity frictional loss by controlling boundary layer turbulence.
Yuichi Shibazaki, Nikon Corporate Vice President and General Manager of Next Generation Project Division said, “This development agreement with BST is another key component of our Next Generation Project program to drive the industrialization of digital manufacturing. BST Riblet technology perfectly complements Nikon’s precision patterning capabilities, and BST’s vision for enhancing systems‘ efficiency and conserving energy aligns well with our commitment to continue creating value in novel fields and solving societal challenges.”
Peter Adrian Leitl, BST Co-Founder and Technical/Executive Director said, “The collaboration with Nikon gives the possibility to develop Riblet structures for applications where direct in-material processing is needed. Additionally, the development of new, unique and higher-efficiency Riblet structures will be possible in the future.” Andreas Flanschger, Co-Founder and Financial/Executive Director stated, “The combination of Nikon laser technology and BST know-how brings us to a new stage in the usage of Riblet applications. This brings these nature-based features to nearly all relevant applications and industries, and therefore provides critical technology to support worldwide climate goals.”
This collaboration enables BST and Nikon to combine their expertise to determine optimal Riblet shapes, pitch dimensions and placement, culminating in the application of these structures directly to the surface or on a film for customers using Nikon proprietary precision-controlled free-form laser patterning.
Nikon is currently processing Riblets in the Sendai Nikon Corporation, Japan factory utilizing its specially developed Riblet processing tool, which has been fully operational for some time.
Nikon has demonstrated its unique free-form Riblet processing capabilities in several applications, including most recently in an evaluation conducted using a gas turbine test unit at a prominent laboratory in Europe where a 7% decrease in pressure loss on certain segments of the unit was observed, in addition to other improvements.