FM Global has developed a new US$70 million-plus world-class scientific research and product-testing complex to meet its customers’ increasingly sophisticated property protection needs, expand its capabilities, increase its understanding of a wide variety of property hazards and to advance the ever-evolving science of property protection.
The FM Global Technology Center is expected to be operational by the fall of 2003 and will enable FM Global to increase its research focus beyond traditional areas including natural hazards, electrical and mechanical integrity, modeling and probabilities, and emerging technologies. The project, the largest investment FM Global has ever made in its research and testing programs, is part of a major upgrade to the renowned FM Global Test Center in West Glocester, R.I., USA, which was built in 1967.
“FM Global is embarking on a new era of loss prevention research and testing services,” said FM Global’s Tom Lawson, senior vice president-research and approvals. When it is complete FM Global policyholders will benefit from faster response times to their needs, coupled with more advanced solutions that help them reduce their property risks. Manufacturers seeking FM Approval of their products also will see new services and faster product test turnaround times to help them get their products to market faster.
“No other insurance organization will have facilities like these,” said Lawson. “This is what differentiates FM Global and is central to the value we provide our customers.”
“This ‘center of excellence’ will encompass most of FM Global’s research and testing operations housed in the best facilities, equipped with leading- edge technology, and staffed by distinguished experts with unparalleled technical knowledge.”
The cornerstone of the project will be a research and materials testing laboratory approximately two acres in size-twice as large as FM Global’s existing test center-and boast many improvements. With 60-ft. high moveable ceilings, it will be large enough to replicate a fire in some of the world’s largest warehouses and measure the impact of flame spread and fire growth. Additionally, the facility will house intermediate- and small-scale laboratories for research and testing of the latest fire-protection technology and for simulating unique industry facilities that require customized property loss prevention solutions.
The Technology Center also will include a natural hazards laboratory that will be able to duplicate practically anything “Mother Nature” could throw at a building, like wind-blown debris and wind-driven rain of hurricane strength and weather extremes, like freezing and thawing, to better determine long-term performance of building materials. Moreover, there will be a new facility constructed to test explosion-proof and flameproof electrical equipment for use in hazardous locations.
“Research and testing is an integral part of FM Global and its future. With the FM Global Technology Center, we are putting the resources in place to ensure we continue meeting our customers’ demands efficiently, quickly and cost effectively for many decades to come,” said Lawson. “Trillions of dollars of our customers’ property value depends on it.”
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