NORMA Group’s research and development activities are aimed at identifying technological trends at an early stage and addressing them in a targeted manner. This is intended to optimally support the achievement of the company’s strategic goals. The focus is 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 current processes, minimize the use of materials or further improve the functionalities and sustainability of the end products. The focus is on innovative and high-quality solutions to the global challenges of the respective end markets. Besides water management and electromobility, these include topics such as digitalization, stationary battery storage systems and hydrogen as an alternative energy carrier, for example. By specifically taking the relevant megatrends of its customers into account, NORMA Group is able to initiate technological developments at an early stage. The protection of resources and the environment plays an important role here.

The new organizational structure for the R&D departments already implemented in previous years according to the three Strategic Business Units Water Management, Industry Applications and Mobility and New Energy enables optimized cross-regional cooperation between the teams and better dovetailing of development activities with the business development teams (Sales and Application Engineering). The global focus of the business units enables more targeted and efficient working on the tasks that lie ahead. At the same time, tasks and projects continue to be prioritized in line with strategic requirements, by the Innovation Council and Global Product Management, 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 and Global Product Management are jointly responsible for monitoring the strategic end markets and bundling the knowledge gained in the internal innovation management process.

NORMA Group further expanded the concept of innovation, research and (product) development in fiscal year 2022. In addition, a new software-based innovation platform supports the systematic identification and documentation of new ideas by involving all NORMA Group employees. Active networking with start-ups and universities combined with visits to trade fairs and close exchanges with our customers’ technical teams generate additional impetus for new products and fields of application.


Numerical simulation and validation of new technologies

Future technologies identified on the basis of the global megatrends flow directly into the development and design of new products. Mathematical models and numerical simulations play a key role in the early development phases for the efficient development and optimization of new product concepts. In addition to theoretical-technical investigations (known as verification), the respective concepts are also subjected to subsequent extensive physical tests (known as validation). Numerical simulation allows for the required development times to be optimized. The number of experimental optimization loops required, including the time needed for prototyping and testing in the

laboratory, can thus be reduced. The final experimental validation of new products then ideally confirms the product properties previously determined via simulation. This ensures that the investigated products, technologies, materials and manufacturing processes meet the needs of the market.


Strategic cooperation with customers and research institutions

In the area of Water Management, NORMA Group maintains close contact with its end customers, installers, trading and construction companies, as well as regulatory authorities, not only on a regional but also on a global level, due to the wide range of standards, varying regulatory requirements and best practices in the field of water management. This enables optimized and individual product solutions to be generated that meet the local market requirements.

In the area of Mobility and New Energy, NORMA Group acts in close cooperation with its end customers, leading research and development institutions, suppliers and other external partners. Customer requirements can thus be incorporated directly into the development of new products and technologies. This also ensures rapid marketing. For competitive reasons, the company refrains from publishing the specific contents of these research partnerships.

In the area of Industry Applications, which is more of a commercial segment, extensive 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 Industry Applications is on the meaningful supplementation of the product range and targeted marketing activities.  MARKETING 


Development focuses in 2022

Research and development activities in fiscal year 2022 were dominated by the trend topics of water management, mobility, digitalization, globalization and ecology.

In the area of Water Management, research and development activities focused on global, market-oriented and innovative solutions for the efficient use of water and the improvement of water quality. Work was also carried out on the use of sustainable materials and the range of “smart” connectors, or connection technology networked with the Internet (IoT – Internet of Things). Highly efficient components for irrigation systems (micro-sprayers, precision drippers and drip lines) in combination with pressure regulators, particle filters and intelligent control components (e.g. valves and timers) form system solutions that meet current and future requirements for local water management. In wastewater management, development efforts range from technologies for water recovery in catch basins, drainage channels and drainage ditches, to technologies for filtering all suspended solids (TTS) using underground chambers, to measures to optimize the water permeability of soil pavements on green and gravel surfaces. In line with NORMA Group’s objectives regarding its social and environmental responsibility, further initiatives were also launched in the area of Water Management to expand the use of sustainable and recycled raw materials and plastics in product and process design. NORMA Group’s extensive in-house expertise and proximity to customers, sales partners and authorities enables the company to optimally adapt its current product portfolio and develop innovative new products to meet market requirements.

In the area of Electromobility, thermal management of batteries and systems remains a key topic. For this purpose, NORMA Group develops special line systems in the FLUID product area that ensure uniform temperature distribution inside the battery and maintain the optimal operating state of the cells. The consistent use of numerical

simulation has been instrumental here in developing fluid components and systems with the lowest flow resistances and thus maximized efficiency and resource conservation. Innovations in the FASTEN product area in 2022 were aimed at further strengthening NORMA Group’s goal of being the market and technology leader. In addition to new product solutions, significant work was also carried out here on the continuous improvement of products based on the aspects of robustness, resource conservation and weight savings.

NORMA Group continues to be active in the field of fuel cells and supplies line systems and fastening elements here. In this environment, further projects are underway to help prepare the company’s current and new product solutions for use in fuel cell technology. Examples include tank straps with integrated elasticity for fixing high-pressure tanks for hydrogen storage and emergency tank vent lines.


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. A total of 960 patents and utility models were held as of December 31, 2022 (2021: 1,017). The number of internal invention applications (2022: 21, 2021: 25) decreased slightly compared to the previous year, while the number of newly filed patent applications (2022: 30, 2021: 32) remained at a similar level compared to the previous year.


R&D Expenses

Research and development expenses in the area of EJT amounted to EUR 40.6 million in 2022 (2021: EUR 38.0 million). This equates to around 3.3% (2021: 3.5%) of NORMA Group’s total sales in fiscal year 2022. The capitalization ratio, i.e., the share of own work capitalized in R&D expenses, was 6.0% (2021: 7.1%) in the current reporting year.


Employees in engineering R&D

As of December 31, 2022, the Group employed 311 people (2021: 343 employees) in research and development worldwide. This represents around 5.0% of the core workforce.


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