TARRC welcomed Datuk Wilfred Madius Tangau, Malaysia's Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, to Brickendonbury on Saturday 5th September. This unofficial visit coincided with the Merdeka Carnival, which is held annually in the grounds of the estate, and the Minister and his guests took the opportunity to tour the Laboratories, accompanied by TARRC's CEO, Datuk Dr Kamarudin Ab-Malek. The Minister was particularly interested to see the range of new equipment and facilties, which are now available on the Brickendonbury site.
The tour began with a description of our work on tyre tread compound development, in particularly, epoxidised natural rubber (Ekoprena) for 'green' tyres. The Minister was then shown an example of the earthquake bearings, designed at TARRC and made in Malaysia, which were used in the construction of the second Penang Bridge. Other examples of TARRC's work using natural rubber in the construction industry were also highlighted, particularly anti-seismic bearings used in earthquake prone regions of the world.
The Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation was shown around TARRC's laboratory by CEO, Datuk Dr Kamarudin Ab-Malek.
In the Millroom, the Minister was given a preview of TARRC's new mixer, a CBI-55 Intermix, which was installed this year. The mixer is highly instrumented and has a larger batch size than its predecessor. It is now fully operational for use in TARRC's R&D projects and work for our Consultancy service, Rubber Consultants.
He was shown samples of the entrance matting, now installed in several London Underground Stations, which uses TARRC's natural rubber-based fire retardant material, Natural-FR.
The Minister also saw the new Metravib dynamic test equipment, in the physical testing laboratory, which has enhanced TARRC's capability for the characterisation of rubbers and other viscoelastic materials. In the analytical laboratories he was shown the state of the start microscopy facilities and examples of our work on extractables and leachables (E&L) for the pharmaceutical industry.
In the Biotechnology laboratories, the Minister was given an overview of our work on genome sequencing of the rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis) and use of these results to identify genetic markers. He was also shown the Latex-T latex allergy test kit, a quick way to detect specific latex protein allergens, which we have developed for the latex product manufacturers.
The Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation was accompanied by Mr Joisin Romut, Political Secretary and En Kamel Mohammad, Senior Under Secretary.
At the end of the tour, the Minister and guests were presented with copies of the book 'From Pelham to Penang' which details the work of TARRC and the Malaysian Rubber Board on the use of natural rubber bearings for construction, in bridges and as protection against earthquake damage.
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