The research and development activities and measures in 2014 broadly correspond to those of the previous year. In the Development area, we set up a development team to work on the topic of cooling for energy storage devices (e.g. lithium-ion batteries) in 2014. This area is developing, implementing and testing a large number of projects for mobile applications (e.g. energy storage devices for rail technology). The aim is to develop a product range for the different applications in a highly focused manner. For many applications, the actual operating conditions and therefore the necessary specifications have not yet been validated adequately. This area therefore fundamentally also involves a large amount of research and advance development work over and above the product development work proper. Even if in this market only a relatively low revenue is generated, we believe that strategically it has great potential for the future for technotrans. Our participation in the InnoTrans show (International Trade Fair for Transport Technology) in 2014 gave us impetus for new projects on an international scale. One system was already commissioned and tested in Brazil at the end of 2014.
As well as these tasks, technotrans Development lends effective support to the business units (BU). It develops new ideas, product qualification processes and customer-specific solutions for technical problems. By doing so, we are steadily refining and optimising components or even entire product systems.
In addition to the tasks of advance development, where new technologies are identified and qualified, we continue to investigate the scope for transferring products and technologies to other areas of application as one of our priority activities. The culture of innovation is continually promoted through both internal and external innovation workshops. We maintain an active exchange of ideas with universities and institutes to promote such innovation. We do so both in the form of projects and also by involving students in our work. Technological exchanges with external partners are very important to us.
In addition, in 2014 we laid the foundations for a group-wide control platform within the development area of controls. The aim is to develop and gradually implement a control concept for the products of the technotrans Group. The first control technology elements have already been exhibited at the EuroBLECH show in our product for spray lubrication (spray.xact).
Development spending is fundamentally recognised in the Income Statement. If the appropriate requirements are satisfied, development expenditure is treated as an intangible asset pursuant to IAS 38 and recognised as such on the Balance Sheet. Development expenditure recognised as an intangible asset at December 31, 2014 was € 1.4 million (previous year: € 1.6 million). The R&D ratio (development spending in relation to revenue) was 3.0 percent in the past financial year (previous year: 2.8 percent).
In rare instances external capacity is used for special development tasks, for example the further development of specific components. In limited cases, development work is financed in part by the party that will eventually be the customer. Once again, no public funds were taken in 2014. technotrans owns a large number of patents, licences and similar rights. Patent applications are regularly only filed after careful assessment of the advantages to be gained from such protection and the disadvantages arising from their disclosure and, not least, the costs involved in doing so.