Although there was only a small group that attended the Fellowship's evening visit to the Castrol Global Technology Centre near Pangbourne on May 13th, we were treated royally.
The evening commenced in a very luxurious meeting room at around 6.00pm with a buffet which would better be described as a banquet.
Our host for the evening was David Taylor who was very well supported by Andy Griffin, Mark Lennard and Glen. A very interesting and informative presentation followed the refreshments giving a detailed insight into their individual laboratory functions and test facilities. Although this first phase of the evening was office based the information was presented with great knowledge and humour with their enthusiasm shown for Castrol never in doubt. A brief history of the company was described and it is overlooked just how long it is since the original company, C.C.Wakefield was established in 1899.
We were then treated to a comprehensive tour of the workshop, testing areas and laboratories. Although at this time of the day most of the 500 technical staff working on the site had signed off for the day many test had been set up to continue throughout the night. Sophisticated alarm systems were in place to warn on site staff in the unlikely event of any problem. Engines varying from massive V8s to racing motorcycle engines were seen on extended non destructive test runs which lasted weeks not hours. These were subject to periodic strip testing of components, bearings and the lubricants being used to establish the most protective additives under various climates and extremes. In addition to this main facility there are several overseas Castrol technology centres worldwide that support local vehicle manufacturers development programmes.
The capabilities of the contents and equipment being used to develop future lubricants in the laboratories were simply mind boggling. It came as no surprise to our group that Castrol is a world leading manufacturer of premium lubricating oils, greases and related products and will continue their position in the years ahead. The visit ended after 10.30pm with the Castrol team still full of energy and enthusiasm and willing to carry on going. When you consider they had already done a day's work prior to our visit this showed a great dedication to Castrol
At the end of a very enjoyable evening we all extended the usual Fellowship thank you to everyone, particularly Glen who retires at the end of May after many years in his piston laboratory, wishing him a long and healthy retirement.