Awlgrip and International, two of AkzoNobel’s yacht brands, announced its new Application Research Center (ARC), a center of excellence offering a location to trial and test products, systems and technology alongside product application training.
AkzoNobel has invested in a new extension of the Yacht Paint Application Center (YPAC) located in Southampton, UK, to provide new products, applications and techniques to professional and DIY applicators. The project has been split into three phases and is due to be completed in 2025.
In early spring, two new spray booths and an adjoining laboratory were brought online as part of the first phase of development, offering an opportunity for applicators to work with AkzoNobel to help improve their efficiency and enhance their application skills while also increasing capacity for the onsite R&D team to fast track new product development and improve response times to customer queries.
Phase two, due to begin in 2024, will include a pioneering climatic control spray booth with the ability to raise and lower temperature and humidity to replicate climatic conditions anywhere in the world.
Further developments in line with market trends will be implemented in 2025.
The new facility, designed in combination with long term technology product roadmaps, will also explore how robotic applications could be used to help improve productivity and repeatable quality.
The original Southampton YPAC opened in 2008 and has completed training on a variety of products and skills for more than 600 trainees.
The laboratories have put many products to the test, including Awlcraft SE, Perfection Pro, Awlgrip HDT, Awlfair SF, One UP, Toplac Plus, Awlcraft 3000 and next generation fouling control products like B-Free Explore.
Alongside new product development, the facility is renowned for working with industry partners like spray gun manufacturers and sand paper suppliers to ensure the latest technology and equipment is tested.
“The ARC will set a new standard of Research and Development and training,” Jemma Lampkin, AkzoNobel’s Yacht Commercial Director, said. “We are passionate about connecting our research and technical teams with applicators who want to be best in class by improving their product, technical and application knowledge with state of the art equipment.”