Element Six, the world’s leading synthetic diamond supermaterial group, recently celebrated 50 years of manufacturing and processing at its Shannon plant in Ireland. Established in the 1960s by De Beers Industrial Diamond Division (now known as Element Six), the site covers 22 acres and currently employs over 300 people supplying superhard products for use in a wide range of abrasive industrial applications, from oil and gas drilling to precision machining. The Element Six portfolio of superhard materials includes single crystal synthetic diamond, polycrystalline CVD (Chemical Vapour Deposition) diamond, synthetic diamond grits and powder, CBN (Cubic Boron Nitride) and tungsten carbide.
Walter Huehn, Element Six CEO, commented on the milestone, “We are incredibly proud of the Element Six Shannon site. In its 50 years of operation the site has allowed Element Six to establish and maintain its global leadership position in synthetic diamond supermaterials. Element Six remains committed to Shannon, with recent investments and accomplishments including both a new Advanced Manufacturing Centre and Micron Production unit.”
Coinciding with the celebrations in Ireland, Element Six has also opened what it claims is the world’s largest and most sophisticated synthetic diamond research and development facility. The £20 million Global Innovation Centre (GIC) at Harwell, near Oxford, UK, was officially opened by the UK’s Science Minister David Willetts MP and Philippe Mellier, Chairman of Element Six, part of the De Beers Group of Companies, on July 3.
GIC employs over 100 scientists at the 5,000m² facility to develop a pipeline of innovative synthetic diamond and related superhard material products. Facilities at the GIC include modelling and design, materials preparation, a High Pressure High Temperature synthesis press hall, Chemical Vapour Deposition (CVD) reactor synthesis labs, post-synthesis processing (e.g. polishing, cutting, shaping), materials analysis/characterisation and end application testing.