NORMA Group’s research and development activities are aimed at identifying technological trends at an early stage and addressing them in a targeted manner. The focus is always on opening up new markets, gaining new customers and developing new products and system solutions. Newly introduced technologies are assessed according to the extent to which they help to optimize existing processes, minimize the use of materials or improve the functionalities of end products. The research focus is on finding solutions for the global challenges of the respective end markets. In addition to water management and electromobility, these include, for example, topics such as digitalization or stationary battery storage systems. By focusing on the megatrends relevant to its customers, which are reflected in particular in increasing environmental awareness and the economical use of resources, NORMA Group is able to initiate technology developments at an early stage.

The new organizational structure for the R&D departments already implemented in the previous year was optimized even further in 2021. The divisional structure and cross-regional cooperation between the respective teams will result in even better dovetailing of development activities across departmental boundaries. This will allow for future tasks to be completed even more efficiently. At the same time, the work and projects that lie ahead can be prioritized more effectively in accordance with strategic requirements, by the Innovation Council, for example.

Focus on innovations

The focus of NORMA Group’s research and development activities is on strengthening the company’s innovative strength. The emphasis is therefore on the early identification of new technological trends and the systematic planning and implementation of innovation projects. The so-called Foresight Manager is responsible for monitoring the relevant end markets and bundling the knowledge gained in the internal innovation management process. For example, the Foresight Management team worked on integrating the Innovation Council into the product lifecycle in fiscal year 2021. This ensures that the relevant innovation topics are evaluated from different perspectives as early as the idea phase. This in turn enables the necessary new developments to be initiated in good time in line with market requirements.

Innovation Roadmapping, which involves drawing up long-term roadmaps for the development of new technologies, uses the megatrends that are identified, such as water scarcity and emissions reduction, to achieve success in the relevant markets with innovative products.

NORMA Group also further refined the concept of “Innovation Councils” in fiscal year 2021.

Numerical simulation and validation of new technologies

The technologies identified on the basis of the megatrends flow directly into the development and design of new products. In this regard, simulation continues to be of growing importance. NORMA Group uses mathematical models and numerical simulations equally to develop product concepts and to assess the production-related product properties in order to optimize the properties and improve the durability of its products. In addition to theoretical-technical investigations (known as verification), the respective concepts are also subjected to extensive physical tests (known as validation). This ensures that the products, technologies, materials and manufacturing processes investigated successfully serve the megatrends.

Strategic cooperation with customers and research institutions

In the area of EJT, NORMA Group works closely with its end customers and with research and development institutes, suppliers and other external partners. Customer requirements can thus be taken up directly and already be considered in the development of new products and technologies. This also ensures more rapid marketing. For competitive reasons, the company does not publish the specific content of these research partnerships.

In the area of SJT, which is more of a pure commercial segment, such technological research services are only demanded by the market to a limited extent. In this second sales channel, the requirements of NORMA Group's customers focus more on a strong brand image, availability of products at all times and a largely complete product range. Therefore, the focus in the area of SJT is on the meaningful supplementation of the product range and targeted marketing activities. MARKETING

Development focuses in 2021

Research and development activities in fiscal year 2021 were again dominated by the three main trend topics of water management, electromobility and digitalization.

Thermal management of batteries continues to be an important topic in the field of electromobility. NORMA Group is developing special fluid systems for this purpose that ensure uniform temperature distribution inside the battery and maintain the optimal operating state of the cells. In some cases, these fluid systems must accommodate complex geometries. Therefore, one development focus in 2021 was on optimizing the shape of the connectors and line components to minimize flow losses. The concepts of intelligent fluid systems that are capable of automatically and wirelessly recording assembly conditions and operating parameters were continued.

NORMA Group is also active in the field of fuel cells and supplies line systems in series production. Additional projects are underway in this area that will help prepare the company’s products for use in fuel cell technology.

Know-how protected by patents

Its unique know-how in the field of joining technology represents a key success factor for NORMA Group. Therefore, the Group protects its innovations through patents. 1,017 patents and utility models were held as of December 31, 2021 (2020: 985). The number of internal invention applications (2021: 25, 2020: 22) increased slightly compared to the previous year, while the number of newly filed patent applications (2021: 32, 2020: 43) decreased slightly compared to the previous year.

R&D Expenses

Expenditures for research and development in the area of EJT amounted to EUR 38.0 million in 2021 (2020: EUR 29.0 million). This equates to around 3.5% (2020: 3.1%) of NORMA Group’s total sales in fiscal year 2021. The capitalization ratio, i.e. the share of own work capitalized in R&D expenses, was 7.1 % (2020: 10.3%) in the current reporting year.

Employees in R&D

As of December 31, 2021, the Group employed 343 people (2020: 340 employees) in research and development worldwide. This represents around 5.5% of the core workforce.








R&D employees







R&D employee ratio

% of permanent staff






R&D expenses1

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R&D ratio1

% of revenue






Invention applications







1_Up to and including 2019, only R&D expenditures in the EJT area were documented and reported. The R&D ratio resulted from the ratio to EJT sales. With the increasing strategic relevance of water management at NORMA Group, R&D expenses in this area have also been recorded since 2020 and put in relation to total sales.


These contents are part of the Non-financial Group Report and were subject to a separate limited assurance examination.