The Rubery Owen Testing and Research Centre Turns One!

November 04, 2020

It’s been a whole year since we first opened the doors to our brand new testing facility, The Rubery Owen Testing and Research Centre on 12 November 2019. To celebrate the collaboration between Merlin Powder Characterisation, Phoenix Materials Testing, and Rotech Laboratories, we invited Mr Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands to officially open the facility.

During the last 12 months, the partnership between the three Rubery Owen companies has continued to grow, and we have welcomed some new faces to our team, invested in additional equipment to expand our scope of testing, and carried out some new and exciting testing procedures.


Phoenix Materials Testing welcomed Taran Dhami to the team as Test Lab Technician within the Materials Testing Division. Taran graduated from Loughborough University with a Master’s Degree in Chemistry (MChem), and has previous experience as a Laboratory Technician within the manufacturing and engineering industry. Taran’s role within Phoenix is to assist customers with their testing requirements, offering consultancy and advice, and carry out a wide range of testing applications including fatigue and TMF, bolt testing and proof load testing.

Phoenix has recently introduced serrated flat jaw grips into the test laboratory, allowing us to carry out testing on prismatic and other flat type samples. The solid-body wedge grips with interchangeable serrated jaws are designed to self-tighten as the tensile test progresses. Using these types of hydraulic grips means that we can ensure the samples are gripped more firmly from the beginning of the test procedure, and remain constant during the test. The grips can be used for load bearing testing on fastening materials, weld samples, cold rolled strip, plastics and composite materials.


This time last year Merlin Powder Characterisation relocated the laboratory to the new test facility with expansion room. During the last 12 months we have looked into expanding our laboratory capability and have made a significant investment in a range of safety cabinets to ensure that the Merlin team can work with a wider range of powders.  Many customers require us to prepare powders within a contained area and the safety cabinets will allows is to do that safely and work with an increased number of potent APIs.

Merlin would also like to congratulate Charlotte who has achieved a distinction in her HND in Applied Chemistry from Halesowen College during our first year in the new testing facility.

The last 12 months have been a very interesting time for the pharmaceutical industry as we start to get used to the ‘new normal’. The pandemic has made us think about how we approach R&D and assess risks. We are looking at compaction testing and scale-up prediction to see where we can help the new normal. We all want faster to market, cost effective treatments, and by thinking bigger and acting smaller there is a good chance that we can find ways to work together to achieve this. 


We are delighted to welcome Stuart Smith to the team as our new Quality Manager, taking over responsibility of our quality systems and procedures. Stuart brings with him a wealth of experience and overall management of Quality and Compliance to support both Rotech and Phoenix, and will be ensuring compliance to ISO17025 and NADCAP, working alongside the laboratories to meet all obligations to accreditation bodies.

Stuart joins us from previous company Eurofins Ltd, where he was the Microbiology Quality Manager, and has previously held positions at Alcontrol Ltd, Exova Ltd and Eclipse Scientific Group.

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