In order to ensure that the Group is able to meet the constantly changing demands of the market sectors in which it is present, Aliaxis' Research and Development ("R&D") organisation plays a key role in the Group's activities. R&D's influence extends to many aspects of each product's life-cycle, from its initial design and development, raw material formulation and design improvements to improve performance, through to the recycling of end-of-life waste material back into new products.
R&D also plays an important part in providing technical assistance to the Group's companies in the continuous process of improving production efficiency especially in the core technologies of plastic extrusion and injection moulding.
The R&D organisation consists of a total of more than 190 employees, including a corporate research centre, Aliaxis R&D, based at Vernouillet in France, working in close partnership with a network of centres of excellence located throughout the world in the Group's businesses.
Aliaxis R&D specialises in applied research programs on topics of general strategic importance for the Group, for example the characteristics of different polymers, new formulations and formula modifications as well as developments in manufacturing processes. Thus, Aliaxis R&D plays a crucial role in new product development and testing and, thanks to its investment in modern facilities and highly skilled staff, is able to provide technical and scientific assistance to the Group's operating businesses.
The R&D activities in the centres of excellence are more market specific, and (with the assistance of Aliaxis R&D), focus on the development of new products for individual markets or applications to meet local requirements.
Aliaxis continues to maintain close contacts with universities which conduct fundamental research or provide additional expertise in particular application fields.
The threat from counterfeit products remains very real, and to try to protect its existing and new products, the Group has an active policy of patent, design and strategic trademark protection.