The vision of frictionless drive systems – Coating technology cuts energy loss in half

(f.l.t.r.) Dipl.-Ing. Manuel Michel, Dr.-Ing. Patrick Izquierdo, Dipl.-Ing. (FH) Bernd Zapf

Dr.-Ing. Patrick Izquierdo (Spokesperson)
Dipl.-Ing. Manuel Michel
Dipl.-Ing. (FH) Bernd Zapf*

Daimler AG, Ulm
*Gebrüder Heller Maschinenfabrik GmbH, Nürtingen

Although the number of electric cars is increasing, vehicles powered by internal combustion engines still rule the roads. An important starting point to making IC engines more fuel efficient and thus more environmentally friendly is the friction losses in the engine. How can they be avoided?

In their search for a solution, Dr. Patrick Izquierdo, engineer Manuel Michel and Bernd Zapf set their sights on the piston and cylinder liner system. This part of the engine accounts for almost 50 percent of the friction losses in the drive unit. Izquierdo and Michel, both Daimler researchers, developed a novel process for coating the cylinder walls of aluminum crankcases. This eliminates the need for special cylinder liners in the cases - and friction is dramatically reduced. Working with Bernd Zapf from the company Gebrüder Heller Maschinenfabrik GmbH they refined the technology for use in series production.

Patrick Izquierdo is head of Lightweight Construction, Casting/Forging Structures at Daimler AG in Ulm. Manuel Michel is the Daimler project manager for NANOSLIDE. Bernd Zapf heads the New Business and Technology division at Gebrüder Heller Maschinenfabrik GmbH in Nürtingen.

Without friction losses, a combustion engine would use twenty-five percent less fuel. Emissions harmful to the climate, like carbon dioxide (CO2), would also be lower. Friction can never be entirely eliminated, but with the NANOSLIDE® process developed by the three researchers, a significant step has been made in the right direction. The process picks up a trend in automobile manufacturing that uses lightweight aluminum for the crankcase of combustion engines. In the past, these had to have a heavy sleeve or liner made of grey cast iron or used an aluminum-silicium alloy as the bore for the cylinder. In this configuration, a lot of energy was lost when the piston moved. NANOSLIDE® makes the additional sleeve unnecessary.

This technology uses a thin sliding layer just a tenth of a millimeter thick and applied to the inner wall of the aluminum cylinder. To apply the layer, two wires made of an iron-carbon alloy produce an electric arc in which liquid metal drops form. A stream of nitrogen gas atomizes the drops and directs them onto the cylinder wall where they solidify and form a thin coating of nanometer size pores. These pores are oil reservoirs which are exposed during subsequent machining. The layer then forms a mirror-like surface with very little frictional resistance - and virtually no wear. The researchers succeeded in improving the process to such a degree that it uses 96 percent less energy and water use was reduced to zero.

The friction losses in the piston and cylinder bore system are half that of conventional manufacturing methods. This reduces fuel consumption in vehicles with gasoline or diesel engines by at least 3 percent. According to an independent study, CO2 emissions can be lowered by up to 50 million tons per year by using the NANOSLIDE® technology. Another advantage of the process is that the thick-walled grey-cast iron liner is no longer needed which means that the engine design can be more compact and lighter - an ideal requirement for combining it with an electric motor in a hybrid vehicle.

NANOSLIDE® is patented and is offered for series production by Gebrüder Heller Maschinenfabrik GmbH. Using the process, any size of cylinder inner diameter can be coated in a wide range of crankcase types. The coatings can also be configured with specific properties. Numerous car manufacturers and suppliers are already using the technology which is developing into a global standard. This will secure or create several thousand jobs in Germany. At Heller, NANOSLIDE® opened up a new business segment. Daimler established the subsidiary MDC Technology GmbH in Arnstadt in 2013 to design the manufacturing process for large series production and is now using it at several production sites.

The right to nominate outstanding achievements for the Deutscher Zukunftspreis is incumbent on leading German institutions in science and industry as well as foundations.

The project "The vision of frictionless drive systems – Coating technology cuts energy loss in half" was nominated by the Federation of German Industries / Bundesverband der Deutschen Industrie e.V. (BDI).


Dr.-Ing. Patrick Izquierdo

Feb. 12, 1966
Born in Speyer am Rhein
Bachelor's Degree - Autun, France
1984 - 1990
Mechanical Engineering, Université de Technologie de Compiègne, France
1990 - 1991
Test Engineer, ABB Kraftwerke AG, Mannheim, Germany
1992 - 1995
Doctoral Student, Institute for Advanced Materials, Commission of the European Communities, Netherlands
1995 - 2000
Scientific Associate, later Head of Thermal Injection, Daimler AG, Research & Technology, Ulm, Germany
Advance Development of Cylinder Wall Coating Technology
2000 - 2007
Head of Functional Layers in Powertrain, Daimler AG, Production & Material Technology, Stuttgart, Germany
Series Development & Securing Cylinder Wall Coating Technology
Implementation in Small Series in the V8 Assembly System (M156E63) of Mercedes-AMG GmbH
2007 – 2009
Head of Technology Transfer Forging Processes, Daimler AG, Production & Technology Casting and Forming, Stuttgart, Germany
2009 - 2012
Head of Technology Transfer Pressure Casting, Daimler AG, Production & Technology Casting and Forming, Stuttgart, Germany
Further development of coating technology for casting-related process chain NANOSLIDE
Series introduction for Daimler AG V6-gasoline and V6-Diesel systems at MDC Technology in Arnstadt, Germany
2012 - 2015
Head of Production Technologies NANOSLIDE, Daimler AG, TecFabrik Powertrain, Stuttgart, Germany
Integration of NANOSLIDE technology into the flexible process chain AgiProS
Series introduction for first R4-Diesel system of the new engine family FAME
Since 2016
Head of Light Construction, Casting and Forging Structures, Daimler AG, Research & Technology, Ulm, Germany


Dipl.-Ing. Manuel Michel

January 26, 1981
Born in Stuttgart–Bad Cannstatt, Baden Württemberg, Germany
Abitur (Higher School Certificate)
2001 - 2005
Industrial Engineering, University - FH-Lausitz, Senftenberg (Brandenburg Technical University)
Master Thesis in Production and Material Technology, DaimlerChrysler AG, Stuttgart-Untertürkheim, Germany
2005 - 2008
Doctoral Student, Production and Material Technology, Daimler AG, Stuttgart-Untertürkheim, Germany
Mechanical Engineering, Chemnitz Technical University
2008 - 2011
Scientific Associate, Research and Advance Development, Light Construction, Materials, Production, Daimler AG, Ulm, Germany
2011 - 2015
Head of Project House NANOSLIDE, Research and Advance Development, Light Construction, Materials, Production, Daimler AG, Ulm, Germany
2015 – 2016
Project Manager of Mercedes Inhouse Consulting, Daimler AG, Böblingen, Germany
Since 2016
Project Manager Research and Advance Development, Powertrain & Alternative Drive Systems Daimler AG, Stuttgart-Untertürkheim, Germany


Dipl.-Ing. (FH) Bernd Zapf

January 28, 1961
Born in Kirchheim unter Teck, Germany
1967 - 1977
Elementary and Secondary School
1977 - 1980
Vocational Training: Informational Electronic Technic, Gebr. Heller Machinenfabrik GmbH, Nürtingen, Germany
1980 - 1985
Technical Informatics at Esslingen Technical University
1985 - 1989
Development Engineer for Digital Drive Technology, Gebr. Heller Machinenfabrik GmbH, Nürtingen, Germany
1989 - 1997
Group Manager Development of Digital Drive Technology, Gebr. Heller Machinenfabrik GmbH, Nürtingen, Germany
1997 - 2004
Senior Manager Development of Control and Drive Technology, Gebr. Heller Machinenfabrik GmbH, Nürtingen, Germany
2005 – 2009
Senior Manager Automotive Development, Gebr. Heller Machinenfabrik GmbH, Nürtingen, Germany
2010 - 2015
Senior Manager New Business & Technology Head of CylinderBoreCoating TechnologyCenter, Gebr. Heller Machinenfabrik GmbH, Nürtingen, Germany
Since 2016
Senior Manager /Authorised Officer for New Business & Technology, Gebr. Heller Machinenfabrik GmbH, Nürtingen, Germany
Industry 4.0
CFK for machine components and thermal coating outside the cylinder bore
Additive Manufacturing for Metal
Hydraulics-free machine
CAD-CAM virtual machine for 5-axis machines




Dr.-Ing Patrick Izquierdo
Daimler AG
Group Research & Sustainability
Powertrain & Alternative Antriebe
89013 Ulm
Phone: + 49 (0) 731 / 50 52 756
Mobile: +49 (0) 160 / 86 32 299
Fax: +49 (0) 711 / 17 79 02 29 33


Troy James Branch
Daimler AG
HPC 1103
70546 Stuttgart
Phone: + 49 (0) 711 / 17 25 421
Mobile: + 49 (0) 160 / 86 26 084

Marcus Kurringer
Gebr. Heller Maschinenfabrik GmbH
Gebrüder-Heller-Straße 15
72622 Nürtingen
Phone: + 49 (0) 7022 / 77 56 83

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