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Case Studies

William Blythe has a long history of working with customers to develop the products they need. Below are some case studies detailing how we have worked in collaboration with customers, simply click on the tiles to read more. The details of the customers and the specifics of the challenges are, by definition, confidential. They will, however, demonstrate how we could help you meet your technology challenges. So get in touch today to pose your challenge to the William Blythe team.

Wherever possible, the chemical industry prefers to use non-hazardous chemicals rather than those which can be hazardous to either their employees or the environment. However, despite extensive research, in some cases it may not be possible to achieve the required performance with non-hazardous chemistry.

One of William Blythe’s customers faced this problem. The process they carried out required the use of a chemical with human health hazards, but the customer could not engineer out employee contact with the chemical. By understanding the customer’s process and listening to their concerns, William Blythe was able to develop a new grade of the material which prevented the customer’s employees from coming into contact with the chemical. This was carried out through a carefully-selected post-synthesis enhancement technique which maintained the efficacy of the customer’s application. The product has proved very successful and is now essential to the customer’s process. This illustrates how William Blythe works to tailor the products they produce, not only for each application, but also for each customer. Top

William Blythe runs an extensive R&D programme from its headquarters in Accrington. The laboratories are equipped with a range of equipment and instruments to allow the highest calibre of inorganic chemical development to take place. While the R&D programme contains a wide diversity of research projects at any given time, the strong preference of William Blythe is to work on materials development in collaboration with customers, often involving very disruptive technology.
William Blythe was approached with a very specific customer request for a material required by a highly disruptive technology. After assessing various synthetic techniques, the R&D team concluded that the laboratory was not currently equipped to handle the request. However, William Blythe identified broader future opportunities for the technology and, because we had real belief in both the customer and their technology, we decided to invest. William Blythe not only invested in the required equipment at laboratory scale, but also invested in the required skills development within the R&D team and subsequently in equipment for both the pilot plant and full-scale manufacture. As a result, the customer now has a UK supplier of an essential material and William Blythe possesses a new range of capabilities. Working on this project was very rewarding for the William Blythe employees involved, as they not only took on a tough challenge, but also helped the customer achieve something new. Top

A recent project at William Blythe involved an extensive R&D programme to develop a new material. A potential new customer approached the Company and explained their requirement for a reliable supplier of an active agent used in their patented technology. Using the potential customer’s guidelines on the required product performance, the R&D team set to work on the development of a material which would meet those needs. Through an extensive development programme, the team successfully developed several new materials which met the customer’s requirements, resulting in new CAS registration submissions and patent filings. William Blythe is currently in the process of scaling up the chemical selected as the optimum by the customer and is looking forward to future opportunities for the family of materials developed by this project. Top

Many of William Blythe’s products are offered as powders to meet customers’ downstream processing needs. The flowability of powders can be essential, especially in processes which involve a dosing system. If the powder is not suitable for the dosing system, blockages can occur, which in turn result in costly production downtime. By working with a customer using one of our powdered chemicals, William Blythe was able to understand which physical characteristics needed to be altered to achieve a free-flowing powder. An alternative grade of the chemical was developed and has been keenly taken up by the customer, ensuring the dosing system works correctly and improving the customer’s operational efficiency. Top

Product performance can be heavily dependent on a chemical’s physical properties. Properties such as surface area can impact how well a material mixes, absorbs and reacts, as well as its stability. As experts in inorganic chemistry, supplying products into high-end applications, William Blythe prides itself on the ability to manufacture consistently to tight chemical and physical specifications. In our experience, when products mature in a marketplace, new suppliers are often needed to meet the volume demands. The transfer of a process to a different manufacturer can lead to product discrepancies which the previous manufacturer had not known could be an issue. This is caused by incomplete understanding of the reaction parameters and their effects on the end product. This occurred for a customer when they requested William Blythe look at larger volume manufacturing of a chemical required in a maturing product in its portfolio. By working extensively on the process to understand all parameters and their effect on the physical properties, William Blythe was able to scale the process onto a multi-tonne production facility and provide the material to a tighter physical specification than had been possible from the previous manufacturer. The model of ensuring in-depth understanding of our chemistry is applied to all products across the William Blythe portfolio, ensuring our products perform in exactly the same manner in your applications every single time. Top

As a UK materials developer and supplier, William Blythe is a key partner for SMEs across several application sectors as they refine and commercialise their technologies. The UK Government offers a series of funding competitions each year through Innovate UK, which are often designed to support the commercialisation of an SME’s technology. William Blythe has submitted funding proposals to Innovate UK in collaboration with SMEs previously, supporting the application by providing a UK materials developer and manufacturer for their technology. A recent application submitted to Innovate UK was successfully granted, allowing William Blythe to receive funding for the development of a new grade of material needed for its future customer’s revolutionary technology. The funding application was also supported by another customer who would distribute the final product, ensuring that the entire supply chain can remain within the UK. William Blythe actively engages with SMEs, and not just where Innovate UK funding is on offer. William Blythe believes that working with SMEs is an exciting way to stay at the forefront of cutting edge technology and we are committed to continue developing relationships with SMEs Top

Early-stage research generally involves the purchase or in-house manufacture of small samples of reagents. This involves ensuring the material is well understood and characterised every time to guarantee application results are representative of the known changes which have been made. With the best intentions, however, it can be difficult to understand how a material specification should be built from this work, especially when application results could be affected by small inconsistencies such as ppm level impurities contaminating samples. William Blythe’s analytical laboratory is not only well-equipped in terms of instrumentation, but also has highly trained analysts who have refined their skills over a number of years working on many inorganic materials. Their skills were tested when a new material was presented to the team for characterisation. The customer wanted to learn about a future raw material they had been working with – requiring an understanding of the material to comprehend the product performance they were observing. The end goal of the analytical programme was to define a specification for future commercial volume supply of the required raw material. Using various analytical techniques, William Blythe’s analysts were able to help the customer fully understand the material and its performance, helping it to further exploit its disruptive technology. Top

Using a decade of experience in manufacturing powders for absorbent production, our technical expertise in manufacturing and continuous innovation in technology William Blythe developed a high capacity absorbent for use in natural gas processing. The DURAGUARD S100 absorbent can be used for H2S removal from hydrocarbon gas and liquid streams.

DURAGUARD absorbents are engineered to have enhanced porosity resulting in a very high capacity for H2S. They achieve impurity removal to a very low level and the spent absorbent can be re-processed.

In 2017 we engaged with a Gas Plant who had a requirement to change-out their existing sulphur removal absorbent. Working with the plant we designed and fabricated a test reactor for use on site. The reactor was operating at actual feed gas pressures and temperatures.

Absorbent discharged from the test reactor confirmed laboratory test results. It showed good physical properties which ensure absorbent can be loaded and operated without breakage or dust formation and confirmed the H2S removal capability.

As a result of the successful on-site trial the plant were confident to load a full charge of DURAGUARD S100. The bed is now in operation treating their feed gas stream.


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