The knowledge connection for business

Knowledge Provider: Queen's University
Sector: Advanced Manufacturing and Advanced Materials


FEL are a small manufacturing company based in Antrim and have operated there for the past 30 years. They export their innovative FASTANK emergency storage container to aid relief organisations, oil companies and fire fighters worldwide.


About the Case

One of the components of the FASTANK, the butyl rubber suspension strap, was time consuming to hand make and inconsistent in its load / stretch characteristics. A further difficulty was that butyl reacts badly with light petroleum products as encountered when used by the oil industry for oil spill recovery. The Company wished to investigate the use of modern elastic polymers and undertake a redesign of the component to improve performance and chemical resistance.
With the assistance of an “Innovation Voucher” the PPRC (Polymer Processing Research Centre) at QUB was approached for assistance with the research. The University’s engineering workshop produced a prototype mould for the new part. Here the machine shop operatives had experience in such work and provided invaluable input to the project.
A French polymer manufacturer provided a variety of material samples for trial pieces from the mould. PPRC partnered with the polymer supplier to produce finished components for load / stretch optimisation compared to the original butyl component.

About the Knowledge Provider

PPRC Research staff work side by side with industrial and academic partners across the world in developing new processes and innovative products and provide input to the implementation of new technologies. From brainstorming new ideas for projects to developing entire new processes right through extensive pilot plant trials before ultimately implementing these new developments into full scale production plants.
The laboratories are equipped to undertake most aspects of polymer processing including studies on morphology, micro-structure, process control, rheology and physical properties and generally provide an essential service to those companies who do not have their own R& D facilities.

The Results

The Company is now able to replace the original suspension strap with a better quality, more elegantly designed and chemically resistant part at a third of the cost which saves over £12000 per year.

Contact Details of Knowledge Provider:
Knowledge Provider Name: QUB Polymer Processing Research Centre
Contact Name Denise Price
Telephone number: 028 9097 4700
Email: /

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