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Major Investment in Marine Coatings R&D

Published on 2004-06-18. Author : SpecialChem


International Coatings have opened a new €4 Million state-of-the-art R&D laboratory at its Marine & Protective Coatings (M&PC) facility at Felling in the United Kingdom.

The new laboratory is part of an ongoing investment of over €10 million into the company's research and development facilities around the world. In addition to the new purpose built R&D laboratory - which will serve the global Marine and Yacht Coatings businesses - the existing R&D building on the Felling site will be redesigned and transformed into a new M&PC Technology Center.

The improvements at Felling follow on from other significant investments in R&D facilities. A new laboratory was opened on Geoje Island in South Korea while a major upgrade was carried out at the Newton Ferrers Marine Laboratory in the UK. Additional work has also been carried out at the Asia Pacific Technical Centre (APTECH) in Jurong Town, Singapore.

"These investments are part of our continuing commitment to innovative research and to deliver to our customers first class products coming from first class facilities," said Rudy van der Meer, Member of Akzo Nobel's Board of Management responsible for Coatings during the official opening of the new Felling laboratory. "Innovation means keeping one step ahead of customer requirements. It should not only enable them to increase efficiency and productivity but also to reduce costs. As the worldwide leading coatings company it is our aim to develop new products and technologies that combine excellent performance with compliance to the highest environmental standards."

The new two storey Felling building houses laboratories, mill rooms, spray and drying rooms, offices and training and conference rooms. The laboratory features the very latest Health, Safety and Environmental systems and technologies clearly demonstrating International Coating's continual commitment to improving Health & Safety standards.

The primary development work at the new laboratory will focus on the formulation of innovative antifouling technologies, newbuilding coatings and maintenance and repair coatings for the marine and yacht markets.

"The existence of a worldwide network of integrated, first class laboratories capable of developing and testing products to the highest international standards is central to our ability to respond quickly to the constantly changing demands of the marketplace," added Leif Darner, General Manager of the M&PC Business Unit. "By investing heavily in laboratory facilities around the globe and developing new products and technologies we will be in an even better position to keep pace with future needs, so ensuring that our customers the world over reap the best possible benefits."

Aidan Mernin, the Felling based Worldwide Marine Technical Manager, said "The opening of the new laboratory at Felling is a major boost to our R&D facilities. We believe that these facilities together with our technical know how in formulating and end use evaluation of coatings for the shipyard, ship operator and coatings applicator, gives us a significant competitive edge in the development of new products for the marine and yacht markets."

Attendees at the opening ceremony included;

The Right Honourable Joyce Quin, Member of Parliament for Gateshead East & Washington West, The Deputy Mayor and Mayoress of Gateshead, Councillor and Mrs Jim Batty, Ms Heather Rae, Business Finance Team, One NorthEast, Leif Darner, General Manager of the M&PC Business Unit and Rudy van der Meer, Member of the Akzo Nobel Board of Management responsible for Coatings.

The opening of the new laboratory represents another milestone in the history of International Coatings as Felling begins centenary preparations to mark the official opening of the site in July 1904.

Additional Information: International Coatings Felling Operation

International Coatings originated 125 years ago when three enterprising young men saw the potential in manufacturing specialist paints to meet the needs of the shipping industry. Their enthusiasm was quickly rewarded but in working conditions that were far from ideal - in those pioneering days working premises ranged from a shed in a small shipbuilding company to the backyard of the ‘Dunn Cow Inn' at Gateshead.

The present Felling site was opened by Lord Armstrong in 1904. By then the name ‘International' was already well known abroad with factories in Odessa on the Black Sea and in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Today, International Coatings is the worldwide market leader with an organisation that extends to almost every country in the world, employs over 3,900 people and has 19 manufacturing plants in 17 countries. The Felling site is home to the Marine and Protective Coatings Business Unit, which serves the European market with around 30 million litres of paint per annum. The site has over one hundred qualified research staff whose work resulted in the development of the revolutionary Foul Release technology ‘Intersleek' - winner of the prestigious 'Seatrade' Award for Countering Marine Pollution.

The site holds ISO 9000 and ISO 14001 certification and the ‘Investors in People' award. Felling personnel are proud of their long history and tradition and of the skills and experience developed over the years. Our aim is to make Felling the best Coatings site in the world.

Source: International Coatings

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