Hallite Seals International Ltd. announced on December 1, 2020, it will be expanding its in-house testing capabilities by constructing a new, state-of-the-art facility. The new product and material testing facility will be located at the company’s current site in Hampton, UK.
Its expanded testing capabilities will help enhance product development and is in line with the company’s also newly announced refreshed branding initiative. The overall goal of this refreshed branding is to better partner and work with the industries Hallite serves to deliver sealing technologies which best meet customer needs.
As part of the new branding initiative, Hallite has introduced a new website and Hallite Academy—a customer and partner portal that provides a useful toolkit of resources for collaborating with Hallite. The portal hosts a flexible, shareable fluid power training platform offering hydraulic fluid power education where trainees can gain practical knowledge about hydraulic sealing products based on demonstrations in which they are applied in industrial equipment.
The Hallite Academy also hosts the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) partnership platform that showcases external testing capabilities. For almost a decade, Hallite has partnered with MSOE on hydraulic seal product testing and producing repeatable and comparable results that benefit end-users.
New test facility to aid product development
Hallite’s new test facility will consist of consolidating all of its current in-house testing into a single location at its site in Hampton. The company plans to break ground in January 2021 on the first phase of the three-phase facility expansion project; it expects to complete the project by the end of the third quarter of 2021.
Andrew Iddeson, Global Technical Director at Hallite, says the facility will include investments in new testing analysis equipment that will provide a wider range of material and product characterization. “We’ll have hardware upgrades and improvements on those [test] rigs, and we’ll be installing an enhanced data capture and back-end system to deliver, analyze and report results with much greater efficiency, and in a platform that provides live partner feedback.”
Iddeson says the new lab and test facility will allow the company to conduct research and development programs which prove a principle, design or material. It will also provide further support for quality assessments or confirmation of Hallite’s process parameters.
He also noted the company will continue its work with MSOE which is focused on endurance-based testing as well as benchmark testing against existing products in the company’s portfolio.
With the new testing capabilities, Iddeson says Hallite will be better able to bring proven designs to market at a faster rate.
In addition to the investments in new technology at the facility, he says the company is also looking at developing modular testing capabilities. “That will allow us to accelerate our testing programs and have rigs that are interchangeable so that we can run a wide range of variables with a relatively simple changeover,” he says. “That means testing time is reduced, and done on a much smaller footprint.”
All of this Iddeson says supports Hallite’s commitment to an R&D process focused on delivering a better performing and higher quality product at the right time. He notes customers and industry partners will have the ability to witness testing at the new facility as it happens, either in a laboratory setting or remotely through live access to data collected during testing.
Adapting to industry changes
As it expands its testing capabilities, Iddeson says Hallite will also be better able to take positive actions regarding changing market conditions. For instance, he notes many markets are moving toward use of water-based hydraulics as a more environmentally friendly alternative. Iddeson says that while sealing technologies for water-based hydraulics have been in use in the mining industry for several years, other industries are starting to follow suit.
This market shift presents an opportunity for Hallite, he says, to build “on our reputation and our legacy of industry-leading hydraulic cylinder sealing solutions to test and develop enhanced products and materials in what are essentially difficult markets.”
Iddeson says the company is seeing movement toward electrification in the off-highway market, as well. “By taking affirmative actions now in monitoring developments within this market [and] strengthening our technical contact that we have with our leading OEMs, Hallite will work to future proof these testing capabilities [and] continue to provide the programs necessary to meet the needs of the market.”
He notes these electrification solutions could be in the form of low-friction products which reduce hydraulic demand of electric power, or sealing electrical actuators in small mobile equipment.
“Innovation and the proof of it through testing are part of Hallite’s heritage, and it continues to be harnessed to help our customers maximize their investment in the sealing solutions that they choose to buy from us. We're thrilled to be driving our innovative spirit forward by investing in this initiative for providing valid and valuable product and material characterizations.
“I'm really excited by the changes we are bringing and how testing will now be more accessible to our customers and our partners, whether this means remote access to live data or visiting the UK facility in a post-covid era. We will have a facility and program of testing that brings added value to our partners,” Iddeson concludes.