James Walker has expanded its research and development capabilities with the opening of a half-million pound, purpose-built laboratory facility within the James Walker Elastomer Technology Centre in the UK.
The new temperature controlled mechanical and analytical laboratories are kitted out with the latest instrumentation for differential scanning calorimetry and thermogravimetric analysis plus FTIR spectroscopy, equalling the very best facilities available for this type of work.
Full tensile and compression testing facilities are also included, with an environmental chamber allowing this work to be carried out across a full temperature range, whilst the dedicated ‘wet’ chemistry section incorporates 12 ovens with comprehensive data logging facilities.
The creation of the new facility is only part of the work being undertaken at the James Walker Technology Centre, with the company’s pilot mixing plant and rheology laboratory also undergoing expansion. The pilot plant is at the core of the company’s compounding and formulation activities, the in-house capability providing the flexibility required to service research and development plus a rapid turnaround of small batch runs for product and manufacturing trials.
Closely linked to the materials research laboratories is the product testing capability of the Technology Centre where further innovation within the rapid gas decompression testing facility has maintained its position as one of the leading analytical facilities in the world for RGD testing and assessment.
James Walker has built a reputation for its materials development and ability to test materials and seal concepts to the highest levels – factors that provide customers with the necessary peace of mind and assurance that a product will work when placed in a critical real-world application. Over the years this element of the company’s business has become increasingly important and James Walker has built up a large team of experienced and highly regarded scientists and engineers. This team is not only responsible for the development of future technologies but also solves critical day to day problems for customers across every industrial sector.
“Solving our customer’s immediate problems quickly and effectively is a cornerstone of our business. This was highlighted when our new equipment was called into action within days of installation by a customer in the nuclear industry needing a highly accurate and specialised regime to be carried out, assessing component behaviour under a simulated critical process,“ comments laboratory manager Andrew Douglas.
“Being able to carry out work like this and then manufacture a practical solution based on accurate test data is what we are known for. Many of our customers are as excited as we are about our investment in new laboratories and test rigs because they can see the benefits they will gain from this facility.
“Our team has settled in to its new home quickly and is enjoying the expanded capabilities we can now offer our customers and internal colleagues. With all the recent investment and the team we have assembled on this site, James Walker is definitely the place to be for any engineer or materials scientist involved in elastomer sealing development.”
The new laboratory facility is the latest project in more than £2.5m of investment for the James Walker Cumbrian site over the last eighteen months. The site now employs more people than at any time to date, with the business still looking to recruit more engineers and production operatives as it continues to further develop the location into a global “Centre of Excellence’ for Elastomer materials development for the James Walker Group.