Accelerating Riblet Innovation and Deployment

Nikon and bionic surface technologies Announce Joint Development Agreement

May 11, 2021

Tokyo - Nikon Corporation (Nikon) today announced 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 are designed to reduce viscosity frictional loss by controlling boundary layer turbulence. Riblets are effective in reducing drag in airplanes and other means of transport, as well as wind and gas turbines, and various machinery operating in highly turbulent environments. Adopting this technology inspired by nature presents vast opportunities to enhance the efficiency of these machines, resulting in higher speeds, reduced costs and smaller carbon footprints.

This collaboration enables BST and Nikon to combine their expertise to determine optimal Riblet shapes, pitch dimensions and placement, culminating in application of these structures directly to the surface or on a film for customers using Nikon proprietary precision-controlled free-form laser patterning.

bionic surface technologies is at the forefront of CFD and Riblet development, delivering highly customized and rigorous CFD capabilities that output the most advantageous Riblet design for the medium or machine that the Riblets will be applied to. Nikon then leverages its 40-year history in semiconductor lithography and advanced metrology to enable high-precision free-form laser patterning to apply the CFD-optimized Riblet design in any pitch, dimension, or orientation. 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.

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 precision patterning capabilities, and BST's vision for enhancing systems' efficiency and conserving energy aligns well with our commitment to continually 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.”

About Nikon

Nikon has been a pioneer in optical technology markets worldwide since its inception in 1917.
Today, utilizing advanced technologies, Nikon offers a wide range of products and solutions from digital cameras and binoculars to industrial precision equipment such as FPD and semiconductor lithography systems, microscopes, measuring instruments and products for the healthcare industry.
Nikon aims to take advantage of its technologies to generate new core pillars of growth including material processing while continue to be a leading company in precision and optics fields resulting in sustainable long-term increase in enterprise value.

About bionic surface technologies GmbH

Established in 2009 in Graz, Austria, bionic surface technologies (BST) GmbH is recognized an innovator and expert in the field of increasing mechanical parts and/or systems' efficiency using bionic surfaces (Riblets) for a variety of commercial and industrial applications. BST delivers industry-leading capabilities in developing products and creating solutions using the world's most advanced, patented computational fluid dynamic technology.
For more information about BST
https://www.bionicsurface.com[Open in a new window]

The information is current as of the date of publication. It is subject to change without notice.