Hans Wijers presented the prestigious "Tomorrow's Answers Today" award trophy to a team from the company's International Paint business who worked with colleagues from AkzoNobel's Eka Chemicals site in Gothenburg, Sweden to develop an improved version of an environmentally friendly marine coating.
team found a way to dramatically extend the processing time of Interplate Zero®, a water-based marine primer used in the shipbuilding industry, adding better efficiency and workability to the product's environmental benefits.
"This award recognizes a fantastic achievement by the team working together to find a sustainable solution to a business issue," Wijers said. "Their hard work and creativity has brought benefits to both AkzoNobel and our customers in the shipyards," he said.
Walton, Director – Europe Region for International Paint added: "The award reflects the incredible level of innovation we have going on at Felling, which is now the largest R&D centre for AkzoNobel worldwide."
has invested €10 million in its R&D operations at Felling in 2011, adding around 40 highly paying research jobs, taking total employment at the site to around 950. The company is the largest private-sector employer in the Borough of Gateshead.
toured several facilities at the site, including a £6.4-million (€7.1 million) testing laboratory for International Paint's Fire Protection business that was opened in June by the Mayor of Gateshead, Joe Mitchensen.
Paint is the world's biggest producer of protective coatings and fire protection for major structures—its products are used on a number of iconic landmarks, including the Sage Gateshead, the Gateshead Millennium Bridge and the London Eye. It is also the world leader in coatings used in ship and yacht building, maintenance, and repair - International’s coatings feature on many famous vessels including the Queen Mary 2 cruise liner.