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Haydale has entered into an agreement to acquire EPL Composite Solutions (EPL), a specialist in the design, development and commercialisation of advanced composite polymer materials both in the UK and overseas.
This acquisition is expected to maximise EPL’s access to the nano-enhanced composites market and is expected to significantly boost Haydale’s sales potential.
Haydale and EPL have already collaborated on a number of projects, and the acquisition of EPL is a significant step towards monetising Haydale’s proprietary technology for incorporating graphene and other nano-enhancing fillers into composites. According to Haydale, the introduction of nanofillers to EPL’s product range will produce the added benefits of impermeable barriers, conductivity and reduced weight with improved strength and stiffness. These benefits are set to have a great impact on the development of future composite structures, with significant potential for the aerospace and automotive industries.
Haydale says its tailored functionalisation capability allows solutions to be customised on three levels – raw material, functional group and level of functionalisation – which adds a powerful addition to the features and benefits of the products EPL produce for their clients. With recent estimates from market research firm IDTechEx forecasting a market value of $80m for nano-enhanced composites by 2018, graphene functionalisation promises to generate significant revenues as nano-reinforcement is adopted by greater numbers of composites manufacturers.
Haydale explains that, over the past 22 years, EPL has worked with global companies and has developed a reputation for delivering innovative solutions for commercial applications of advanced polymer composite materials. With customers spanning the oil and gas, water and energy sectors as well as the marine and transportation markets, EPL provides an entire development cycle from applied research, product design, process development, product testing and certification, to setting up manufacturing plants. EPL also works with OEMs and end-users to develop and provide composite solutions which show demonstrable clear technical, economic and environmental benefits over existing structures currently manufactured using traditional materials such as steel, aluminium, wood or concrete.
Ray Gibbs, CEO at Haydale, commented “This acquisition is a major step towards securing sales in the global composites market. The rapidly growing composites industry is known for the early adoption of new technologies and is one of the major markets known for its willingness to embrace disruptive technology and introduce innovative new materials. The Aerospace Corporation in the USA, has already independently verified that graphene functionalised using our patented applied-for process can enable the development of lighter, stronger composite materials – the acquisition of EPL gives us direct access to this emerging, growing market. The credibility of our plasma process has been further boosted by the UK National Physical Laboratory (NPL), which has recently confirmed the capability of our process to add compatible chemical groups on the surface of GNPs: known as functionalisation.”
He continued; “We have acquired EPL because it provides us with an immediate route into the fast moving and dynamic composites market together with a substantial R&D resource and dedicated composite and polymer expertise to boost our current in-house capability. Our solution’s capability, when added to the technical competence and credibility of EPL, is set to be a powerful force in the composites market. Our strategy is to provide solutions that enable the commercialisation of graphene in key strategic markets, and our recent collaboration with the speciality inks and coatings solutions provider, the Welsh Centre for Printing and Coating (WCPC), addresses one of these key strategic markets. The acquisition of EPL, together with our WCPC association, gives us entry into the two substantial industries known for the early adoption of new technologies. This offers us exciting opportunities for securing revenues and consolidating our position as a leader in the commercialisation of graphene.”
Gerry Boyce, Managing Director of EPL added “We have been working closely with Haydale since the beginning of 2014 testing their materials and have been very impressed with their technology. The composite industry is always looking for innovative technology and has long recognised the benefits of using nano materials in composites. Haydale’s proprietary technology, as verified by Aerospace Corp and NPL, opens up a range of opportunities in the composites world not previously available to EPL”.
Based in Loughborough, EPL has 17 scientists and technicians providing Haydale with access to a well-regarded and recognised R&D operation. Recent work conducted by Haydale in collaboration with EPL using a standard epoxy resin mixed with Haydale functionalised GNPs achieved over a 200% improvement in ultimate tensile strength, using just 2% loading of Haydale’s GNPs. Due to the brittle nature of unreinforced composites, these results could have significant implications for the development of future composite structures, demonstrating the potential in future aircraft design for weight saving and the consequent environmental benefits such as reductions in CO2 emissions.
Having demonstrated these excellent results Haydale says it can take advantage of EPLs high profile client list, to provide high-performance composite solutions to major players in the composites industry including , National Grid, SSE, Eirgrid, Chevron, Anglian Water, Severn Trent Water, Yorkshire Water and 3M.
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