Element Six Opens World's Most Advanced Synthetic Diamond Innovation Center Near Oxford

Jul 08, 2013, 08:00 ET from Element Six

SANTA CLARA, Calif., July 8, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, Element Six, the world leader in synthetic diamond supermaterials, will open the world's largest and most sophisticated synthetic diamond research and development facility. The $32m Global Innovation Center (GIC) at Harwell, near Oxford, will be officially opened by the (U.K.) Science Minister David Willetts MP, and Philippe Mellier, Chairman of Element Six, part of the De Beers Group of Companies.

Employing more than 100 scientists and technologists, the 5,000m2 facility consolidates Element Six's global innovation teams into one integrated center.

The center 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 customized material within abrasive and technology applications, which will enable extreme leaps in end-application performance and productivity.

Element Six has a 50 year, world-leading 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 U.K., Element Six identified Harwell, Oxford as the best site for the center. The location was chosen for its world-renowned reputation, proximity to key international connections and the U.K.'s strong science and engineering talent base.

The Right Honourable 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. The U.K. is open for business and we warmly welcome inward investment. Advanced manufacturing is seeing significant growth opportunities across all engineering sectors. U.K. Trade & Investment worked closely with Element Six on this project which will further position the U.K. and the Oxford region as an ideal location for future investment."

Walter Huehn, Element Six CEO commented:

"Our new state-of-the-art Global Innovation Center will consolidate and strengthen our innovation capability. For the first time in the global synthetic diamond industry, we can partner with customers to rapidly design, manufacture and test market-ready solutions all under 'one roof.' Quite simply the GIC puts Element Six at the forefront of diamond technology."

Facilities at the GIC include modeling 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/characterization 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.

About Element Six

Element Six is a synthetic diamond supermaterials company. Element Six is a member of the De Beers Group of Companies, its majority shareholder. Element Six designs, develops and produces synthetic diamond supermaterials, and operates worldwide with its head office registered in Luxembourg, and primary manufacturing facilities in U.S., China, Germany, Ireland, Sweden, South Africa and the U.K.

Element Six supermaterial solutions are used in applications such as cutting, grinding, drilling, shearing and polishing, while the extreme properties of synthetic diamond beyond hardness are already opening up new applications in a wide array of industries such as optics, water treatment, semiconductors and sensors.

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SOURCE Element Six