AMSTERDAM — AkzoNobel in the UK has officially opened a trailblazing lab complex that can test new products in conditions that mimic the world’s most extreme environments.

Located in the company’s Felling site, Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, England, the €12.6 million R&D innovation campus fuses the site's 115-year history of product development with state-of-the-art facilities.

A creative nerve center for scientists and technical experts in the world of coatings, the complex will focus on delivering cutting-edge innovations and products for the marine and oil and gas industries. This latest facility brings the total investment in the Felling site since 2011 to €31.6 million.

"As the birthplace of the International brand, we're immensely proud of our Felling site, which has supplied products for some of the world's most iconic buildings and structures," said Jean-Michel Gauthier, Managing Director of the company's Marine and Protective Coatings business. "The new laboratories will enable our technical experts to partner more closely with our customers and deliver innovative products and solutions that meet the most demanding specifications in our industry."

One of the key features of the campus is a new application and testing laboratory. It will be used to test new products in extreme conditions such as temperature resistance, fire and high pressure. The facilities will also enable scientists to expose products to chemicals and corrosion.

A comprehensive sustainability plan was at the heart of the design and development of the new complex. Features include solar wall cladding, a sustainable urban drainage system, grey water recycling, photovoltaic panels, air compressor heat recovery, and a sedum "green roof." 

The new facility in Felling is located around 25 miles away from AkzoNobel's €100 million paint manufacturing plant in Ashington, UK, which opened in 2017.