The Belzona Podcast – Episode 3: An Insight into Research & Development at Belzona

Going behind the scenes

In this episode, Richard is joined by R&D (Research and Development) Manager at Belzona Harrogate, Jason Horn.

Jason joined the business 10 years ago, starting as a Technician, an entry-level R&D support role helping chemists with their work, which looked at the testing side of things rather than the creation of the products. From there, Jason went on to become a Chemist, which saw him being involved in the product development and the creation of the products, and ultimately, seeing his own products be made and released into the world. After doing that for a few years, Jason moved into his current role as R&D Manager where he oversees the department.

The main driver behind the R&D Department is product development. That is the Chemists’ primary role, where they are looking to the future of the company – new products and potentially new markets, which are key to the growth of the business.

Jason talks about the experience that the R&D team have and how they share their combined experience and knowledge amongst one another, and the benefits this has when producing products.

“If you look at the R&D department, collectively, I think we’ve got over 90 years worth of Belzona knowledge.”

Jason Horn, R&D Manager, Belzona Polymerics, Harrogate, UK

In-house development

As a team, Belzona’s Research and Development Department have a wealth of knowledge, skills and experience.

All of Belzona’s products and solutions are created in-house. Formulations are not bought from manufacturers, which allows the Chemists to be in control from start to finish, choosing the ingredients used and developing the products to meet the requirements of Customers. This control leads to high quality and long lasting performance which is what Belzona is all about.

The R&D Department tests products in-house, such as here where we can see the tensile strength, elongation and Young's modulus testing of Belzona 1818
The R&D Department tests products in-house, such as here where we can see the tensile strength, elongation and Young’s modulus testing of Belzona 1818

The complete solution

For anyone who listened to Episode 1 of The Belzona Podcast, we discussed with the President of Belzona, Joel Svendsen, the vast range of products that Belzona offers. Jason echoes this here too:

The series keeps expanding, it’s part of offering the complete solution to the end user. There is no one product that does everything., we have to tailor the chemistry and formulations to meet the requirements. Being able to offer our end users the full system, it ultimately makes it easy to choose Belzona – that’s what we want. You don’t have to buy your coating from one person, your filler grade from another, it’s all there for them, we’re looking to give them all the options that they need.”

Jason Horn, R&D Manager, Belzona Polymerics, Harrogate, UK

Ideas for new products in R&D

In our chat with Jason, he talks about how ideas for new products can come from anywhere, but that it’s important the ideas fit with Belzona’s ethos and business:

  • High performance
  • Niche areas
  • Not commodity materials

He goes on to explain that as long as the product idea fits this ethos and the industries and markets Belzona services, then it will always be considered. The ideas that are generated in the Research and Development department can be split into two categories:

  • Ideas that come from the field – where there’s an opportunity that exists, and a problem that needs fixing.
  • In-house ideas – this is R&D innovation, creativity, looking at new ingredients, looking at new raw materials, and trying to push performance from the chemistry side, to see where it goes.
Belzona's products are all developed by the in-house R&D team
Belzona’s products are all developed by the in-house Research and Development team

Belzona 1212 – Surface tolerant, fast cure, repair material

You may remember from Episode 1, Richard, Hannah and Joel discussed what their favourite Belzona products were, and in this episode we ask Jason what his favourite is too.

“For each chemist, that first launch feels special. This is your first step into producing products. For me, the big stepping stone was Belzona 1212. That’s one that I see as my First development products that went to market.”

Jason Horn, R&D Manager, Belzona Polymerics, Harrogate, UK

In 2017, when Belzona 1212 was launched, we conducted a PR stunt at Belzona’s Harrogate Headquarters which tested the capabilities of the product. We enlisted the help of twice Elite England’s Strongest Man Tom Shaw to help us test the strength of Belzona 1212 – a surface tolerant epoxy composite for emergency in-situ metal repair. Belzona 1212 is commonly used in applications such as the bonding of steel plates, corrosion pit filling and for repairing oil and fluid leaks on pipework, storage tanks, engines, gearboxes, transformers and sumps.

Tom Shaw, Strongman, pictured at Belzona, Harrogate, UK in 2017
Tom Shaw, Strongman, pictured at Belzona, Harrogate, UK in 2017

As you can see, Jason has provided a fascinating insight into the Research and Development Department at Belzona, the origins of Belzona and concept behind the development and creation of the leading industrial protective coatings company that we all know today.

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