James Walker buys Devol's polymer expertise

17 June 2008

James Walker & Covisit website


James Walker buys Devol's polymer expertiseThe James Walker Group has acquired 59 per cent of the equity in Scottish polymer engineering specialist Devol Engineering Ltd, with the remaining 41 per cent being retained by Devol's existing management team.

James Walker Group chairman and chief executive Peter Needham comments: “We heartily welcome Devol with its 130 staff and directors to our Group. The special expertise it brings in polymer processing, casting, machining and injection moulding will advance greatly our product offerings to industry on a worldwide basis.”

Managing director of Devol, Stuart Dalrymple — whose father founded the company in 1966 — takes the same role in the new organisation, along with his existing executive directors. In addition, Peter Needham becomes chairman of Devol Engineering Ltd, and the Group’s special projects director, Kevin Ingram, joins the board.

Dalrymple states: “I am delighted to bring Devol and its full team into the James Walker Group. This presents us with the opportunity to expand our operations, address new industry sectors, and sell our products and services efficiently to global markets though James Walker’s network of overseas companies and official distributors that serve over 100 countries.”

From plants in Greenock and Edinburgh, Devol processes thermoplastic materials including Devlon, a range of polyamide formulations. It also produces bespoke components that are accurately tailored to meet customers’ specific needs in key sectors such as oil and gas, rail, construction vehicles, mining and quarrying.

At Greenock, the manufacturing capability covers components from 10mm diameter to in excess of 2500mm, with individual items weighing up to 1000kg. By using the latest 3D CAD modelling techniques, the company can visualise, manipulate and modify prototype designs, then output the data to its state-of-the-art CNC lathes and milling machines for the cost-effective production of high-integrity polymer-based components.

At Edinburgh, Devol concentrates on the application development of injection mouldable thermoplastic materials, plus the design and production of high-volume injection moulded components that are tailored to match customers’ applications. Tool design and production is carried out in-house.

James Walker says that Devol brings an intense synergy to the Group. Both companies have a Scottish heritage and a strong background in materials technology. The James Walker Group was founded in London during the early 1880s by Scottish engineer James Walker, who developed new fluid sealing materials to improve the safety and efficiency of triple-expansion steam engines that powered naval and commercial fleets into the 20th Century.

Since then, James Walker has built on its materials technology and fluid sealing capabilities to become a world leader in these fields, serving virtually every industrial sector. It now manufactures on four continents and has over 50 production, distribution, engineering and customer support sites worldwide.

Devol was founded in Greenock in 1966 by William Dalrymple as a light engineering company and moved to its current Clarence Street premises in 1975. Since the 1980s it has specialised in producing cast polyamide materials under the Devlon brand name for machining into engineering components. In 1995 it expanded with the acquisition of the injection moulding operation in Edinburgh.

The Devlon range includes:

Devlon T100 — with excellent wear properties, low friction and improved impact strength, for bushes, crane sheaves, rollers, wheels, racks and pinions, and wear pads.

Devlon S Grade — a premium grade of engineering thermoplastic that combines high molecular weight with superior mechanical properties for bearings, pulleys, thrust plates, seal rings and gears.

Devlon V-API — similar performance to Devlon S grade but specifically tailored for high-temperature/pressure applications in offshore oil and gas applications, where its low moisture absorption, non-corrosive, weight-saving, impact and wear properties are appreciated. Used for valve inserts, clamps, bundle spacers, rollers and bearings.

Devlon A153 — a specially formulated grade of high-viscosity Nylon 66 with superior wear characteristics, plus improved impact strength and rigidity, significantly lower coefficient of thermal expansion and higher working temperature. Used for journal bearings, thrust washers, bearing cages, rollers, wheels, piston seals and wear pads.

Devlube — a self-lubricating material for dry-running applications where normal lubrication is not possible. Its low coefficient of friction makes it suitable for wear pads, cam followers, worm screws, bearing blocks, conveyor components and impellers.

Devol also works extensively in ABS, acetal, Nylon 6, Nylon 612, Nylon 66, PEEK, polypropylene, PTFE, filled PTFE, PVC and UHMWPE.

For more information and to download a copy of the new Devol brochure, visit

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