Rotork Controls, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of electrical process and actuation equipment, has enhanced its acclaimed design and testing capability with the installation of the latest generation corrosion testing system from specialist manufacturer, Ascott Analytical Equipment Ltd.  The facility, now operational at the Bath premises of Rotork Controls, builds on its long standing use of Ascott Analytical equipment and provides an invaluable means of assessing corrosion performance during the development phase of a wide range of electrically and hydraulically operated actuators.  The move reflects the company’s commitment to quality and the critical role played by its equipment in some of industry’s most challenging environments.  

Rotork has been at the forefront of cyclic corrosion testing since purchasing an Ascott Analytical chamber in 1996.  The upgrade now to a new Ascott CC450iP cyclic corrosion test chamber enhances this capability and adds a number of key features to the testing process.

Providing a capacity of some 450 litres, the unit has been developed by Ascott Analytical to recreate wetting, salt spray, drying and humidity conditions in a highly controlled environment, enabling Rotork Controls to assess key components of its control system range.  A choice of operating programmes and an ergonomic design enhance the suitability of the system for this type of operation, as Geoff Beeho, Chief Development Engineer at Rotork Controls explains –

“Our product range comprises designs destined for installation in industries ranging from petro-chemical to water-works and from the marine to power generation sectors,” he says.  “The long term performance and quality of our equipment is fundamental – not least because it often performs critical functions that can protect against the risk of extremely expensive down time.  This means that we focus heavily on testing procedures – with an Ascott Analytical test chamber at the heart of our corrosion analysis for many years.”

For reasons of both performance and appearance, it is vital Rotork Controls tests all external components and structures for corrosion resistance, both in terms of the substrate – typically high pressure die-cast aluminium – and the powder coating that is then applied.  The company is able to pre-programme the humidity, temperature and time parameters into the Ascott Analytical machine to replicate all relevant conditions.  “The cyclic capability has been of particular importance because this allows us to get closer to real environments,” adds Geoff Beeho.  By way of example, he highlights testing that can assess site performance across two and a half years in just 1000 hours – or six weeks – in the laboratory. 

The Ascott Analytical chamber used in Bath requires a footprint of only 1660 mm x 840 mm with a height of just 1510 mm and can accommodate products up to 48 kgs in weight.  Access to the test chamber is provided by an easy to open, pneumatically operated canopy and can contain a range of fixing and mounting solutions to suit the components under test.  With the latest design benefiting from a full colour touch screen user-controlled interface, test parameters can be established, whilst a visual check can be obtained through a large viewing window.  The latest generation of chambers allow monitoring and recording of the process in greater detail.

“Installation at the site only requires connection to deionised mains water, an electrical supply and a compressed air source,” comments Ascott Analytical’s Managing Director, Chris Gates.  “All climatic cycles are undertaken in accordance with the programmes selected, with the chamber designed to ensure even distribution and circulation.  Importantly, the installation at Rotork Controls accommodates components of varying sizes – from complete units to smaller representative samples – and includes both metal elements and some sub-assemblies.” 

The reputation that Rotork Controls has developed through its manufacturing capability worldwide has always been centred on high quality products and the reliable performance of components and systems, either for new plant or within upgrade or extension projects.

“In sectors such as the water industry – where equipment applications include the processing of potable water and offshore, which sees salt water used for blast cleaning – quality, reliability and continuous effective performance are particularly important,” continues Geoff Beeho.  “The ability to test product designs and developments, often in response to changing regulations and customer requirements, is therefore clearly a central element in our ongoing success.”

“We are delighted that Rotork Controls, which has a long standing commitment to our equipment, has now committed to the latest generation of our cyclic corrosion test chambers and is gaining from the additional features and capability they now offer,” concludes Chris Gates.  “It represents an installation which, we believe, demonstrates clear advantages and benefits of the technology and methods that we use, and that reflects on the focus on testing and quality that underpins the worldwide success of Rotork Controls.”

Contact : Chris Gates

Tel : (01827) 318041

Fax : (01827) 318049

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