Element Materials Technology’s laboratory in Breda, Netherlands, has completed a significant two-year modernization and expansion project. This key oil and gas testing facility, based in the center of a European industry hub, provides standard testing, microscopic examination, chemical analysis, corrosion testing, fracture mechanics and failure analysis to major oil and gas companies and their supply chain partners, including those in North America.
Following completion of the long-term modernization project, Element Breda is now preparing to launch more specialist fracture mechanics testing and “fitness for service” engineering critical assessments (ECAs) in early 2014.
“From next year, Element Breda will be joined by laboratories at Houston and Aberdeen in forming part of Element’s international testing platform offering a globally standardized, advanced ECA service in three of the most active [oil and gas]locations in the world,” said Rick Sluiters, Element’s vice president of European operations.
The floor space at Element’s Breda facility has been increased to more than 990 square meters and the building has simultaneously undergone a radical redesign to provide a more open, efficient layout, which is predicted to reduce lead times for customers who, thanks to the redesign, will now be able to view tests as they are being conducted.
Alongside the upgrade, there has also been significant investment in new equipment for the laboratory, which includes test frames and the latest digital servo controllers. Following the expansion and in order to support new service offerings in demand among major clients, the laboratory has also undertaken an extensive recruitment drive, welcoming nine new staff members.
As a result, the laboratory’s fracture mechanics department has effectively doubled and is being supported in developing leading-edge test methodologies by Andy Barron, an internationally recognized technical specialist with many years of experience in fatigue and fracture mechanics.
“This is a significant milestone for Element’s strategic growth plans in the [oil and gas]sector, as we develop new capabilities in order to continue providing Majors with world-class materials testing services,” Sluiters said.