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Laboratory expands oil and gas testing capability

Element Materials Technology : 03 July, 2014  (Company News)
The oil and gas testing facility operated by Element Materials Technology in Hitchin, UK, is set to complete a significant expansion and improvement project in order to consolidate operations, increase efficiency, and expand capacity. Hitchin works with clients in the Aerospace, Oil & Gas (O&G) and Automotive sectors, specializing in the testing and evaluation of elastomers, thermoplastics, and composites.
Element Hitchin is re-locating all pressure testing installations to a new, purpose-fitted facility with an area of 12,000 sq.ft., a fourfold increase over the previous layout.
Hitchin’s pressure testing division primarily serves majors in the O&G industry, with capabilities for exposures involving H2S, long-term, HPHT, functional, RGD, and others. The move to an enhanced facility will double station capacity to 140 vessels and accommodate a wide range of pressure equipment, enabling Hitchin to handle larger-scale client components and the capability to move fixtures of up to 2 tonnes.
One large test vessel has already been installed ‘permanently’ at the new site on behalf of a client consortium for a specific long-term exposure test programme, with the 13 ton vessel to be used for the evaluation of deep water pipe insulation systems under realistic conditions.
Rod Martin, EVP, O&G at Element, says: “This project means that the laboratory will have the capability to conduct fluid exposure testing at pressure on an unrivalled scale.”
The new facility will incorporate a proprietary control and data acquisition system, which will permit remote monitoring and regulation of vessel temperature and pressure. The system, which includes a CCTV feed to allow staff and clients to view the laboratories remotely, means that Hitchin will soon be operating one of the most advanced test facilities of its kind.
“This investment comes at a time when Element is highly focused on developing its offering in order to remain at the forefront of the Oil & Gas market. New services are being developed, while expansion and improvement projects have been completed at key laboratories including Breda, the Netherlands, and Sheffield, UK, while the company is set to launch the USA’s first ever ‘O&G Materials Technology Center’ in Houston, TX, later this year,” Martin concludes. 
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