Technical and scientific consultancy Brookes Bell has announced plans to develop a high-end laboratory to deliver comprehensive metallurgy, fuel testing, paint analysis and non-destructive testing facilities.
Aimed at delivering a more comprehensive service to its maritime clients – and to support entry into new markets – the new facility will be commissioned in the northwest of the UK (near Liverpool) and will come on-line in October 2020. It will house an inspection and testing facility, a light industrial/engineering space and offices.
Ray Luukas, Chief Technical Officer at Brookes Bell, explained the rationale behind the announcement, “For many years we have enjoyed a widespread reputation for delivering high quality maritime consultancy delivered by our team of master mariners, naval architects and marine engineers. More recently, we expanded our offer to include a range of associated scientific and technical services including metallurgy consultancy. Today, our in-house metallurgists work alongside other team members to provide our clients with more comprehensive advice on issues such as wire rope failure, container collapses, welding defects or failure of engine components. We are seeing an ever-growing demand across a wide range of industries – both on- and off- shore – for more technical and complex metallurgy and related services and the creation of our new laboratory will allow us to deliver that”.
Metallurgy testing plays an important role in understanding how materials behave in certain environments and, as such, is not specific to the maritime industry. With increasing demand coming from within and outside maritime, Brookes Bell sees scope for using the new testing facility to help develop business in several market segments including traditional maritime, superyachts, and the energy sector more generally.
The laboratory will also house a new fuel-testing facility reflecting the increase Brookes Bell is seeing in fuel-related investigations and claims. Poor quality fuel often leads to extensive and expensive machinery damage. The new facility will test fuel to ISO 8217 standards to highlight substandard samples and to help identify the causes and origins of fuel-related problems.
Paint analysis to investigate causes of tank and hull coating failures will also be conducted using state-of-the-art digital microscopes and software. Coating flakes can be inspected and analysed to determine causes for a range of faults including blistering, detachment, cracking, rust formation and inadequate antifouling protection. Brookes Bell’s in-house experts will provide independent, comprehensive and accurate advice.
Luukas added, “As our new laboratory comes on-line, we will create a high-end metallurgical consultancy and technical unit which will include non-destructive testing as well as paint analysis and fuel testing. This type of facility is rare and we will use it to deliver value-added services to our clients as well as a driver to help us achieve our expansion ambitions”.