Base Materials diversifies into subsea buoyancy market

Base Materials establishes new 10,000 square feet state-of-the-art production facility in Birmingham, UK, marking a significant investment designed to propel subsea buoyancy growth.

Strategically located opposite its existing Frankley-based warehouse and distribution centre, Base Materials’ new production facility houses the manufacture of its high-performance, low-density syntactic materials and buoyancy modules for remotely operated vehicle (ROV), autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) and human operated vehicle (HOV) applications.

With densities from 385 – 650 kg/m3 designed for use in seawater depths of down to 11,500 metres, Base Materials’ Subtec® buoyancy materials comprise high-grade hollow glass microspheres and a novel thermoset polymer matrix, producing ultra-high strength-to-weight characteristics with excellent water ingress resistance.

The £1 million investment houses a 39,000-litre capacity buoyancy tank for calibrated buoyancy testing and a preparation and spray booth for the application of polyurethane (PU) protective coating for impact and abrasion resistance and aesthetic paint finishes. The new facility also boasts a processing area for the blocking up of buoyancy materials into buoyancy modules, an inspection area, and office space.

Base Materials’ latest investment has also seen the bolstering of its testing facilities at its laboratory and production site in Whetstone, Leicester, following the addition of a hyperbaric pressure vessel for hydrostatic crush pressure (HCP) and water absorption testing.

Speaking about the launch of the new Birmingham production facility, John Miller, Managing Director of Base Materials, says: “At Base Materials, we hold a long-standing commitment to investing in research and development to ensure we’re continually able to provide industry-leading, innovative materials that meet the needs of those they can benefit most.

“Our new production facility enables us to diversify our portfolio and enter new markets globally, with our new Subtec® range of high-performance syntactic materials, specifically formulated to meet the needs of subsea buoyancy applications.”

Base Materials’ Subtec® buoyancy materials come in standard block sizes of 750 millimetres x 500 millimetres x 150 millimetres and are available in grades and densities to suit a range of water depths from 2,000 metres to 11,500 metres. Each grade is colour coded to ensure depth ratings match within buoyancy assemblies. Base Materials also provides finished buoyancy modules manufactured to exact customer specifications and drawings, with a newly formed team of dedicated project managers and CAD engineers working closely with our supply chain network.

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