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Coatings company Hempel has announced that it is investing in a new research and development centre focused solely on passive fire protection coatings
Passive fire protection (PFP) coatings are increasingly important in the construction and oil and gas industries. Applied to structural steel in large buildings and industrial oil and gas installations, the coatings expand to form an insulating layer of carbon char when exposed to high temperatures. This enables the steel to maintain its load-bearing capacity for up to four hours longer during a fire, giving people valuable time to escape the building and for firefighters to put the fire out.
Located just outside Barcelona in Spain, the centre is due to open towards the end of 2018. The investment demonstrates Hempel's commitment to further developing its range of life-saving fire protection coatings as well as expanding its unique global R&D network.
Hempel's existing range of PFP coatings for cellulosic fires, Hempacore, includes both fast-drying and waterborne versions, and has been used on civil structures around the globe including airports, train stations, logistics centres, sport facilities, warehouses and industrial factories. A new R&D facility focused solely on PFP coatings will enable Hempel to further expand its PFP product range, including developing PFP coatings for hydrocarbon fires, which are encountered in the oil and gas industry.
Lars Petersson, Group Executive Vice President & Chief Operational Officer at Hempel, comments. "The new facility will significantly increase our fire testing capabilities, enabling us to expand and accelerate our PFP coatings development. This is important for our company strategy, and it will benefit many customers, who have the safety of their employees as a top priority."
The new facility will employ 35 experienced technicians and scientists. It will be located in Santa Perpètua de Mogoda near Barcelona, just five kilometres from Hempel's existing Spanish R&D facility and Spanish head office in Polinyà, which was established in 1964 (although Hempel's presence in Spain dates back to the 1920s).
According to Hempel Group President & CEO Henrik Andersen, it will be in an important addition to Hempel's global R&D network. He said: "At Hempel, R&D begins and ends with the customer. Our 15 R&D centres around the globe all work together as one organisation to ensure that our customers get best-in-class solutions and technical support, whether they are global, multinational or local. PFP coatings are a key element in our Journey to Excellence strategy, and the new PFP-focused R&D centre will ensure we remain at the leading edge of this important technological area."
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