AkzoNobel today opened a €7 million state-of-the-art fire protection laboratory at its Felling site in the UK, part of a major €10 million investment in research, development and innovation (RD&I) which will create around 40 new jobs.
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.
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AkzoNobel is the largest global paints and coatings' company and a major producer of specialty chemicals. We supply industries and consumers worldwide with innovative products and are passionate about developing sustainable answers for our customers. Our portfolio includes well known brands such as Dulux, Sikkens, International and Eka. Headquartered in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, we are a Global Fortune 500 company and are consistently ranked as one of the leaders in the area of sustainability. With operations in more than 80 countries, our 55,000 people around the world are committed to excellence and delivering Tomorrow's Answers Today(TM).
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