Afton to Open Shanghai R&D Center


Afton Chemical Corp. will open a new research and development facility near Shanghai by the end of this year, to speed up turn-around time and better serve customers in the Asia-Pacific region.

The 1,000 square meter facility will include nine fully equipped laboratories for analytical development and testing, Marshall Nelson, vice president for research and development at Aftons Richmond, Va., headquarters, told Lube Report.

The new R&D center will be located in Zizhu Science-based Industrial Park, south of Shanghai, home to both Shanghai Jiao Tong University and East China Normal University. Afton selected Zizhu, Nelson said, in part because its close to leading universities and we can leverage their resources. China has a lot of high-powered research going on, and we can tap into it.

The Shanghai R&D center will be Aftons fourth. Its global R&D center is located at headquarters in Richmond, Va., with a second major center in Bracknell, near London, in the U.K. A third lab near Tokyo, Japan, is used primarily for driveline tests, Nelson said.

Most of the lubricant additives and other products Afton supplies to the Asia-Pacific region are shipped from the companys major manufacturing centers in Feluy, Belgium, Pasadena, Texas, and Sauget, Ill., said Nelson. In addition, the company manufactures in Brazil and has contract manufacturing arrangements around the world.

Asked if the next step is a Shanghai manufacturing plant, Nelsonsaid,Our overall strategy for support of the region is being developed, but for nowthis isa stand-alone lab. Afton will transfer one person from the U.S. and hire four to six new degreed technical employees to staff the new center initially.

The primary goal [of the new R&D center] is to improve turn-around time and get closer to our customers, said Nelson. We will also tap into the resources of the area, and learn how best to do research in the region. It gives us a footprint in the region, so we can map out growth plans.

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