The lab will be operated by the company’s Marine and Protective Coatings business, which is the leading supplier of fire protection coatings used to protect steel structures such as buildings and oil and gas installations. The global market is growing rapidly due to increasingly stringent fire protection regulations worldwide, with forecasters expecting demand to double by 2018.
“This modern facility will help us to drive innovation and deliver cutting-edge performance coatings technology in line with what our customers demand,” said Graeme Armstrong, the company’s Executive Committee member responsible for RD&I. “We have installed furnaces on a scale which will test what conditions our coatings materials have to withstand, enabling us to supply our customers with technically sophisticated solutions that are proven and commercially viable.”
Added Bob Taylor, Managing Director of Marine and Protective Coatings: “We now have a global center of excellence for fire protection development which will significantly improve our ability to develop and bring new products to market. We plan to build on our impressive portfolio of supplying fire protection products for major structures and installations around the world, which also includes commercial buildings such as Melbourne Airport and the New York Times offices in Manhattan.”
The new facility is the latest in a series of RD&I investments by AkzoNobel at the Felling site, which employs more than 950 people. Earlier this year, a €2 million lab for powder coatings polymer research and a €1.4 million corporate research laboratory were inaugurated at the location.