Zircotec Have Invested in a New R&D Facility Following Industry Demand for Data-Driven Developments.
Zircotec has created an R&D facility to accelerate the development of new thermal coatings, heat shields, and manufacturing processes. Under the leadership of Dr. Paul Prince, a chemist with a background in nanotechnology, the facility will provide a wealth of data on the high-temperature performance of our thermal barrier coatings.
Unlike academic research, our activities will provide an immediate commercial benefit for our customers by enabling us to select the optimum solutions for their individual applications more quickly than previously able. We can compress the timescales for each new application by using a comprehensive database on material performance to guide the initial selection, reducing the number of design iterations needed to reach the optimum result. The facility will also enable us to develop new solutions and advance our manufacturing processes.
Zircotec’s investment is driven by growing demand from the automotive industry for solutions to manage today’s higher exhaust temperatures. Pressures to reduce emissions and improve engine efficiency are leading to powertrain strategies that continually increase exhaust temperatures. For example, the use of alternative fuels, such as natural gas in place of petrol or diesel, can raise the exhaust temperatures by 200°C. Accommodating such a large increase within a packaging space that is often highly constrained requires advanced thermal barrier knowledge.
The test facility is part of a greater expansion taking place at Zircotec, with recruitment underway for new engineering vacancies and more likely to follow later in the year. In addition to the high-temperature rig, Zircotec is investing in thermal imaging equipment that will provide a more comprehensive insight into temperature distribution that can be achieved through conventional instrumentation. The facility will also be developing processes within the business that will allow continuous improvement and greater automation, significantly increasing the company’s capabilities.
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