Element Six, a leader in synthetic diamond supermaterials, has opened the world’s largest and most sophisticated synthetic diamond research and development facility. The £20m Global Innovation Centre (GIC) at Harwell, near Oxford, will employ over 100 scientists and technologists. The 5,000m² facility consolidates Element Six’s global innovation teams into one integrated centre.
The centre will develop a pipeline of innovative synthetic diamond and related supermaterial products for customers, in industries from oil and gas drilling to precision machining and electronics. Across these markets and more, the new GIC will allow for the rapid development of customised material within abrasive and technology applications, which will enable extreme leaps in end-application performance and productivity.
Element Six has a 50 year track record of applying the extreme properties of synthetic diamond within abrasive applications and a diverse range of advanced technologies. Diamond, an advanced manufacturing material, can improve productivity, reduce energy consumption and enable leaps in technology never previously considered in a multitude of applications.
Recent applications range from a synthetic diamond road-pick that has become the industry leader due to a lifespan 40 times that of a normal road pick; synthetic diamond tweeter domes for Bower & Wilkins 800 Series Diamond loudspeakers, the winner of The Queen’s Award for Enterprise: Innovation; and sensors used in the Large Hadron Collider. Despite the diverse range of applications they all harness the unique properties of diamond to deliver step-changes in performance.
Aligned with the Government’s desire to foster investment in R&D and advanced manufacturing in the UK, Element Six identified Harwell, Oxford as the best site for the centre. The location was chosen for its world respected reputation, proximity to key international connections and the UK’s strong science and engineering talent base.
Opening the new facility David Willetts MP, Minister for Universities and Science said: “The decision by Element Six to site their world class research and development facility in Harwell is a significant vote of confidence in Britain”s advanced manufacturing sector. Advanced manufacturing is seeing significant growth opportunities across all engineering sectors. UK Trade & Investment worked closely with Element Six on this project which will further position the UK and the Oxford region as an ideal location for future investment.”
Facilities at the GIC include modelling and design, materials preparation, a High Pressure High Temperature synthesis press hall, Chemical Vapour Deposition reactor synthesis labs, post-synthesis processing (e.g. polishing, cutting, shaping), materials analysis/characterisation and end application testing. The result is a physical environment which fosters and enables open collaboration and partnership with customers’ in support of their product development programs.