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Enabling the success of others

Over 140 years of product innovation and support that has enabled our customers to succeed and advance.

Every day our people around the world work in partnership with our customers, supply chain, test houses and industry bodies to provide effective affordable solutions that maintain and improve industrial processes whilst also protecting the environment and the people involved.

Manufacturing expansion and innovation for green power and bioprocessing 

In parallel with our customer base in the oil, gas and power generation sectors, we have applied our expertise to new growth industries such as renewable power generation, partnering with other innovators, manufacturers and service providers to meet the new challenges that have risen in these rapidly developing sectors.

Our large diameter rotary shaft seals for wind turbines, high temperature compression packing for use in valves handling molten salts on solar farms have seen rapid adoption in their respective fields along with Shieldseal and Elast-O-Pure specialist materials in the nuclear and biopharmaceutical industries.

Global expansion has continued with new James Walker sales and support companies opening up to service markets in the Middle East, China and South America, whilst manufacturing centres have also been created in Singapore and India to make best advantage of logistics routes, material supplies and the availability of suitably skilled labour. Managed under strict QA regimes and backed by the knowledge and expertise available in our centres of technical excellence for manufacturing, engineering and material science, our footprint enables us to service global supply and support contracts for our customers in any industry.

Conquering fugitive emissions

Further technological challenges followed in the 1990s when the control of VOC (volatile organic compound) emissions became an environmental and economic necessity. Our innovative work on this front resulted in the development of Supagraf Premier, a world-beating valve stem packing that controls fugitive emissions from petrochemical plant. This was swiftly followed by other products, including Supagraf Control that improves the sealing efficiency of control valves.

In parallel with product development, our expertise across the field of fugitive emissions and flange management became sought by customers particularly in the chemical and hydrocarbon processing industries who were looking to ensure safe, leak-free operations. The addition of RotaBolt - an innovative tension measuring bolting concept - to our existing product portfolio, provided a valuable contribution to our fugitive emissions control offering.

Material advances enabling oil, gas and electronics development

Global industry was now developing at a rapid pace, pushing the boundaries of existing technology in many areas. In the UK exploration and development was taking place in the North Sea oil and gas fields and new materials and products to meet these challenges were urgently needed.

Our partnerships with operators and equipment manufacturers in the oil and gas industry proved highly productive, characterised by our development and application of rapid gas decompression (RGD) resistant grades of elastomer that withstand the harshest of downhole and wellhead duties.

Other materials and products swiftly followed that provided sealing solutions to extend greatly the maintenance-free working life of oilfield equipment, and enable operators to work more efficiently in hostile environments.

Materials science expertise also saw James Walker enter new markets with the development of products to aid the manufacturing efficiency of computer components as the global electronics revolution began to gather pace.

New materials and further international expansion

Our reputation for materials technology made us one of the first companies outside America to work with an outstanding 'new' polymer called PTFE at a time when PTFE was classed as a strategic material and available only on special licence from the USA.

Engineering work with polyamides started soon after and led to our identification of new roles for thermoplastics and fluoropolymers in high integrity seals on rotary and linear action mechanisms operating in the most challenging environments.

Continued expansion overseas saw new manufacturing facilities created in Australia and the USA with a sales and support business opened in Italy.

Global expansion and investment in materials science

Following the establishment of depots throughout the UK our first overseas enterprises were formed in Belgium and then the USA. This was soon to be followed by the setting up of companies in France, Australia, Netherlands and New Zealand.

James Walker's outstanding success attracted competitors thick and fast, especially when his original patents expired. But constant research, development and the resulting improvements to products - backed by hard hitting anti-piracy advertisements - kept him well ahead of the field.

Continued product innovation and an ability to meet the toughest production targets even in times of a global conflict meant our products and knowledge were in urgent demand - and so were new skills. Chemists, metallurgists, tribologists and materials scientists were all needed to help develop the fluid seals and other components that would match giant leaps in engine and plant technology - and lead to the jet and nuclear ages soon to follow.

Enhancing efficiency and reliability for transport and manufacturing

From reseller to manufacturer of our own products to improve the sealing efficiency of stuffing boxes on steam engines and pumps. Prior to James Walker’s development work, few other companies had applied engineering science to the design and manufacture of gland packings.

The result was the innovative and greatly admired Lion Brand High Pressure Steam Packing. This product proved vital to the success of a new generation of high-efficiency steam engines that powered mankind into the 20th Century. Solving challenges through a combination of materials science and application engineering remains one of the foundation stones of our business to this day.

Expert to Expert

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