ZKW ranks among the top 3 European patent applications from Austria

Lighting systems specialist from Wieselburg is top applicant in Lower Austria


61 of the 224 applications from Lower Austria at the European Patent Office in 2022 come from the ZKW Group. The Wieselburg-based lighting systems specialist is thus the frontrunner in Austria’s largest province. In Europe, ZKW ranks third among all Austrian companies that have filed inventions. Last year’s patent-pending developments focused on styling and functionality: among them is a lighting element for front and rear lights that is modelled on a crystal and at the same time extremely efficient. Another innovation from ZKW is a display with controllable foils that can display pictograms as well as be used for large-area lighting. “The cornerstones for high-tech products are intensive research as well as constant further development. In this way, we give our customers more design freedom while exploiting all the technical possibilities,” explains Dr Wilhelm Steger, CEO of the ZKW Group.

Crystal optics meets efficiency
With its extraordinary design, the light element in crystal optics clearly stands out among the patent applications. It gives headlights or combination rearlights the appearance of a sparkling crystal, both when unlit and when lit. It has a multitude of facets that are randomly distributed. However, it is precisely this appearance that helps to efficiently realise light distributions and at the same time reliably fulfil legally prescribed values. This is achieved by means of specially calculated crystal facets. This means that each of these facets is specifically aligned. The light is thus directed exactly where it is needed and used extremely efficiently. Since the crystal optics can be manufactured from conventional plastics, the development also scores points under economic aspects. “The crystal element fulfils legal lighting functions, such as turn signals or daytime running lights, and is currently already being tested in a test vehicle,” explains Steger.

Controllable foils in displays
Individual illuminated dots or a homogeneously illuminated surface: the newly developed and patent-pending display with an upstream controllable element can do both. If the element is switched transparent, a pictogram behind it can be precisely displayed. When diffused, individual light elements are no longer visible, resulting in a uniformly luminous surface. This is realised by a foil with integrated liquid crystal elements. These can be switched electrically – similar to intelligent glass – and in this way adapt the function of the display to individual needs. This development thus easily turns the combination rearlight into a warning signal in an emergency. “The light points are individually switchable LEDs that are capable of displaying simple pictograms, short lettering or clear warning signals such as stop signs or arrows,” Steger elaborates.

Austria among the top ten patent applicants worldwide
Last year, Austrian inventors and companies filed exactly 2,388 patent applications with the European Patent Office, or EPO for short – 3.4 percent more than in the previous year. The Electrical Machinery/Equipment/Energy sector registered the most patent applications. In total, 193,460 applications were received by the EPO in 2022. In terms of the ratio of patents to the number of inhabitants, Austria is thus in seventh place in a comparison with all countries.

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Press contact

Mag. (FH) Sandra Simeonidis-Huber, M.E.S.


ZKW Group GmbH
Rottenhauser Straße 8
A-3250 Wieselburg
+43 7416 505 0

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