Advanced surface coating specialist Hardide Coatings has secured a grant of up to £250,000 under the Technology Strategy Board’s ‘Smart’ scheme to commercialise a novel coating that will enable a new generation of hardfacing materials for use on drilling tool and wear parts for industries including oil and gas, mining and construction.
The ‘development of prototype’ grant from the UK’s innovation agency will part-fund a two year project to further develop, manufacture and test a new Hardide coating for use in a hardfacing material that will enable drilling tools and high wear parts to operate at peak performance in severely abrasive environments where current technologies fail.
The new material will complement Hardide’s existing range of wear and erosion resistant coatings and offer a level of durability and protection that is not currently available from any surface technology in the market.
Offshore drilling is one of the main markets for the technology. Oil and gas drilling environments are becoming increasingly hostile as exploration and production moves to deeper and harsher waters to exploit remaining reserves. Existing protective technologies are failing to provide the required drilling tool life and the cost of equipment failure in these locations can quickly run into millions of pounds in rig downtime alone.
Philip Kirkham, CEO of Hardide Coatings, said: “The successful completion of this project will produce an innovative new coating and hardfacing material that will offer users of drilling and downhole tools for the oil and gas industry, as well as mining and construction equipment an unprecedented level of wear and erosion resistance. It has the potential to unlock new drilling and cutting capabilities which will be of extremely high value to users.
“Laboratory development has been underway for the last five years. The ‘Smart’ grant will allow us to establish a prototype manufacturing facility at our plant in Bicester, Oxfordshire and fast track the project to conclusion in two years.”
The grant will pay up to £250,000 against agreed expenditure over two years.
‘Smart’ is a Technology Strategy Board scheme offering funding to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to engage in R&D projects in the strategically important areas of science, engineering and technology, from which successful new products, processes and services could emerge.The Smart scheme supports R&D projects which offer potentially significant rewards and could stimulate UK economic growth.