AkzoNobel To Invest $13M in UK Research Hub


Dutch paint industry giant AkzoNobel has amped up its Northeast England commitment with the announcement of a €12.6 M ($13.3M) investment in a new innovation hub in Felling, Gateshead.

“What we’re trying to create in Felling is a research and development hub for the world, delivering incredibly technologically demanding products for these coatings,” said AkzoNobel chief executive Ton Buchner.

The company, which already employs 950 people at its current Felling site, is building the new facility to house 100 scientists and 170 technical experts with the goal of developing protective coatings for the energy, mining, infrastructure and oil and gas industries.

Research will focus on hydroelectric dam efficiency and coatings to reduce emissions from coal-fired plants, as well as looking at new ways of protecting steel and concrete structures from damage caused by corrosion, abrasion and fire.

This research will be aided by a testing and simulation facility designed to mimic the world’s most extreme conditions.

Although the current site already provides testing where materials can be subjected to heat, the new development will also be able to see how coatings will react in extreme cold, as well as test new linings inside pipelines and tunnels.

"They will reproduce conditions similar to those of the North Pole, the effects of acid erosion, or a fire on an oil rig,” said Conrad Keijzer, a member of AkzoNobel’s executive committee, “Our work at the state-of-the-art lab will have an important impact on our most critical industries.”

AkzoNobel has produced coatings for global sites such as the Sydney Harbour Bridge (pictured) and the Centre Court at Wimbledon.

This news comes on the heels of the completion of a new paint factory in Ashington, Northumberland, which is slated to create an initial 120 jobs with an expectation of hundreds more in the supply chain.

AkzoNobel expects the new facility in Felling to be operational at the end of 2018.

"We are creating a kind of a campus of different research and development activities and strengths that we can then use for products that can be sold in the rest of the world," said Buchner.


Tagged categories: Coating Materials; Coatings; Coatings Technology; concrete; EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa); Infrastructure; North America; Oil and Gas; Protective Coatings; Steel

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