Haydale has announced that it has entered into an agreement to acquire EPL Composite Solutions (EPL). This acquisition will 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. 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's 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.
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 grapheme."
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 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.
Haydale has developed a patent-pending proprietary scalable plasma process to functionalise graphene and other nanomaterials. This enabling technology can provide Haydale with a rapid and highly cost-efficient method of supplying tailored solutions to enhance applications for both raw material suppliers and product manufacturers.
Functionalisation is carried out through a low-pressure plasma process that treats both mined, organic fine powder and other synthetically produced nanomaterial powders, producing high-quality few layered graphenes and graphene nanoplatelets. The process can functionalise with a range of chemical groups, with the level of functionalisation tailored to the customer's needs. Good dispersion improves the properties and performance of the host material and ensures the final product performs as specified.
The Haydale plasma process does not use wet chemistry, nor does it damage the material being processed; rather, it can clean up any impurities inherent in the raw material. The technology is a low energy user and most importantly environmentally friendly. The Haydale method is an enabling technology, allowing the Company to work with a raw material producer who seeks to add value to the base product and tailor the outputs to meet the target applications of the end user.
Haydale, based in South Wales and housed in a purpose-built facility for processing and handling nanomaterials, is facilitating the application of graphenes and other nanomaterials in fields such as inks, sensors, energy storage, photovoltaics, composites, paints and coatings. www.haydale.com
EPL Composite Solutions Ltd (EPL) is an independent company specialising in the design, development and commercialisation of advanced polymer composite materials on a global basis.
EPL spans the 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 demonstrate composite solutions which provide clear technical, economic and environmental benefits over existing structures currently manufactured in traditional materials such as steel, aluminium, wood or concrete.
Having demonstrated these benefits and generated a demand, EPL then looks to identify commercial partners - either under licence or as a joint venture - to scale up and manufacture the composite solution on either a regional or global volume basis.
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