The innovator in buoyancy, insulation and elastomer products

Balmoral Offshore Engineering

Balmoral Offshore Engineering is focused on technologically-driven composite and polymer solutions for today’s demanding subsea and deepwater oil and gas industry.

Proprietary laboratory, hydrostatic and mechanical testing facilities enable Balmoral to research, identify and develop cost effective materials across a spectrum of applications. The company continues to make significant investments in the most comprehensive syntactic, composite and polymer processing facilities the sector has ever seen and its offshore products are used in the deepest and most hostile waters of the world.

Providing services from concept development through detailed design, toolmaking, manufacturing and testing Balmoral Offshore Engineering’s products are aligned to specific segments of the offshore oil and gas industry, namely, exploration, marine/installation and production.

2010, 2012 and 2015 Queens Award logos

Balmoral Park reception

Balmoral Discovery Unit

Balmoral Subsea Test Centre submersion test tanks

A significant differentiator at Balmoral, as a privately owned company, is the ability to invest in continuous research and development programmes.

Taking a proactive response to the ever-changing environment of industry and manufacturing, Balmoral has identified the advantages to be achieved by instigating an innovation development capability that expands the focus beyond the immediate expectations of customers and their current requirements.

Balmoral is renowned for its pioneering spirit and by introducing a dedicated resource, known internally as the ‘Balmoral Discovery Unit’, the company will broaden its horizons with a focus on supported markets, product solutions, and routes-to-market.

The development projects are managed using the recognised industry methodology for project management; API RP 17Q, controlling and steering progression of activities through Technology Readiness Levels.

Augmented by contemporary 3D modelling, finite element analysis, CFD, lab and testing facilities, the engineering design department is wholly committed to a policy of continuous innovation and improvement.

The team is encouraged to develop professional relationships with customers to help it deliver a personalised service at all levels and at all times.

Development and test laboratories

Due to the complexities of bespoke project testing, stringent customer specifications and compliance to global industry standards, Balmoral continually invests in state-of-the-art laboratory test equipment to ensure these requirements are satisfied. This programme of investment ensures the company retains total control over time schedules, test conditions and methodologies used to fulfil customer requirements.

Balmoral’s technical team has taken occupation of the company’s new custom designed and purpose built laboratories at company HQ in Aberdeen. The new facility houses a state-of-the-art temperature and humidity controlled laboratory that is fully furnished with a wealth of chemical, thermal, hydrostatic and mechanical test equipment.

A range of universal testing machines (10 tonnes maximum load) capable of performing fatigue, tensile, compression, flexure and hydrostatic pressure testing using a complementary pressure vessel at temperatures of -70ºC-+350ºC
Dynamic fatigue test equipment for testing polyurethane materials fully submerged at elevated temperature
Differential scanning calorimeters for determining specific heat capacity, glass transition temperatures and oxidation induction time of polymer products
Lasercomp Fox 50 thermal analyser for the determination of thermal conductivity
Gas pyknometers for determining the true density of materials such as powders and gels
Temperature controlled water ageing baths
Hydrothermal ageing cells for long term analysis of materials up to 260ºC
Laboratory scale pressure vessels capable of operating at sub-ambient temperature to 200ºC and up to 10,150psi, 700bar
Temperature and humidity environmental cabinets
UV weathering cabinet
Karl Fischer titrator for determination of water content
Automated titrators for quantitative analysis
Lab scale CNC machine for test piece preparation

As well as providing professional in-house services, the development laboratory is available for third party development and testing programmes.

Balmoral development test labs
Balmoral development test labs
Balmoral development test labs


Balmoral Offshore Engineering Manufacturing

Balmoral’s policy of continuous improvement means that the company is constantly developing its manufacturing operations to retain its place at the forefront of buoyancy, insulation and elastomer production technology.

Now offering even more efficiency and automation the facility has been re-designed and laid out to provide consistently high quality fit-for-purpose products on a continuous basis.

Comprising a range of syntactic, hot and cold cure processing capabilities and what is believed to be the industry’s only dedicated marine anti-fouling coating line, as well as an advanced polyurethane elastomer processing facility – supported by macrosphere tumblers, shakers, vacuum chambers and curing ovens – the facility represents a huge step forward in the way buoyancy and elastomer products are manufactured.

Toolmaking, steel fabrication and machining

Falling within the company’s philosophy of maintaining control of all operations as far as possible, Newcastle-based rotational mould making business Kirkdale 2000 Ltd was acquired by Balmoral in 2014.

Now known as Balmoral Newcastle, Kirkdale was recognised within the rotomoulding industry as a byword for uncompromising quality and it is Balmoral’s aim to develop and grow this part of the business.

Complementing the existing fabrication facility, Balmoral Newcastle supports the company’s growing demand for high quality rotational moulding tools, steel fabrication and machining requirements. The service means that the company is in total control of these time-critical processes and doesn’t have to rely on external suppliers or out-sourcing.

Not only does this ensure delivery schedules are met it also means that costs are kept under very strict control; time and cost savings that ultimately benefit customers.

Rotational moulding

Balmoral operates a highly developed in-house rotational moulding facility at Group HQ in Aberdeen.

This facility produces the shells for many of Balmoral Offshore Engineering’s products including distributed buoyancy modules and modular buoyancy elements.

These shells are roto-moulded in medium density polyethylene providing a one piece, seamless product with no structural welds or inherent stresses. The manufacturing process is automated providing a high quality and consistent product.

This in-house capability affords the company total control over material selection, dimensional tolerances and, ultimately, project scheduling.

Syntactic production and curing

The combination of hollow glass microspheres and a resin matrix, known as syntactic foam, is central to any buoyancy manufacturing operation. Balmoral operates a fully automated system that provides syntactic material of a consistent quality which is critical to the manufacture of high performance buoyancy and insulation products.

By implementing hot and cold cure processing, supported by refined hardware to provide control over temperature, duration and cool-down times, Balmoral Offshore Engineering has overcome product failure issues such as stress, material instability and brittleness that are experienced by traditional manufacturing operations.

This investment in production technology ensures top quality products that are exceptionally suited to the hostile deepwater environments commonly experienced by the industry today.

Manufacturing Engineering Group (MEG)

The Manufacturing Engineering Group implements lean manufacturing methodologies and continuous improvement practices to drive operational excellence. This helps to understand value streams and how, by improving these, it can improve the company’s service to the customer.

The MEG takes a systematic approach to all processes in achieving world class performance by efficiently using tools and equipment, optimising resources and the elimination of process waste and inefficiencies.

Personnel development

Balmoral Subsea Test Centre submersion test tanks

Balmoral’s commitment to training and development is well recognised. There is recognition within the company that highly motivated and achievement-focused teams are a valuable asset while also promoting confidence and pride within individuals.

All training provided is recorded, along with appropriate certificates, on a matrix to allow easy demonstration and tracking of operator competencies.

Accredited, cost effective, safe solutions

Balmoral boasts an extensive track record in some of the most onerous operating conditions in the world. As the industry continues its journey into deeper waters the company differentiates itself by providing fully accredited, safe and highly cost effective design and manufacturing solutions.

In March 2013 the American Petroleum Institute (API) released specifications 17L1 for flexible pipe ancillary equipment and 17L2 recommended practice for flexible pipe ancillary equipment.

The API 17L specification stipulates the minimum requirements for the design, material selection, manufacture, documentation, testing, marking and packaging of flexible pipe ancillary equipment including buoyancy modules, clamping systems, bend stiffeners and restrictors.

The API standard covers all materials, design, testing and manufacturing methodologies used in the system to provide uplift of up to 4.65Te at water depths to 10,000ft.

To achieve Bureau Veritas approval in line with API 17L standards Balmoral successfully completed an 11 month development programme that consisted of four phases: quality audit; design review; material qualification; inspection and testing.

Clients should enquire whether or not their supplier is accredited in line with API standards to ensure the optimum products and services for their project are provided.

Accredited, cost effective, safe solutions

Project management

With extensive experience of managing the design, manufacture and despatch of subsea buoyancy, insulation and elastomer products, Balmoral Offshore Engineering’s project management team works closely with clients to ensure projects are delivered on time and on budget.

As members of the Association of Project Management, Balmoral Offshore Engineering’s PM team operates to recognised global competency standards from order placement through to delivery and installation where contracted.

Association of Project Managers

Balmoral Park reception

Company values

The values described below apply to employee relationships with all customers – whether that is within Balmoral Group or with the company’s highly valued client base.

Customer focus Leading and working together as a team to deliver high quality products on time at the best possible price with no surprises
Respect Treating clients and colleagues as we wish to be treated ourselves, with respect and decency
Integrity Reliability, flexibility, honesty, openness and fairness. Supporting clients and colleagues at all times with a focus on the common end goal
Accountability Being proactive in setting and achieving objectives. Taking responsibility in one’s role and enhancing the company reputation at all times
Innovation A commitment to the company’s philosophy of innovation, continuous improvement and clear communication, internally and externally
Motivation Maintaining a focus on aligning efforts and energy to achieve common goals, ie, successful projects. Constantly seeking to add value
Balmoral core values


Since 1986 Balmoral has regularly received awards for international trade and achievement, innovation and customer satisfaction.

The list below is indicative of the company’s commitment to its client base and a strategy of research, development and continuous improvement:

Balmoral Group

2019 Northern Star Business Awards: Inspiration from Innovation winner
2018 Northern Star Business Awards: Highly Commended Business of the Year
2016 Northern Star Business Awards: Overall Business of the Year winner
2015 Scottish Business Awards: International Business of the Year
2015 Press & Journal Gold Awards: Innovation of the past 50 years: Winner
2012 Scotland PLC Awards: Outstanding company of the year, runner up
2010 SCDI Award for Outstanding International Achievement
2001 Scottish Offshore Achievement Awards: Innovative Technology Award
1998 Scottish Offshore Achievement Awards: Overall Performance Award
1994 Scottish Offshore Achievement Awards: Special Commendation Award
1991 Scottish Offshore Achievement Awards: Overall Performance Award
1989 Scottish Offshore Achievement Awards: Overall Performance Award
1986 Scottish Offshore Achievement Awards: Overall Performance Award

Balmoral Comtec (Balmoral Offshore Engineering)

2019 The EIC National Awards: Collaboration winner
2019 The EIC National Awards: Service and Solutions winner
2015 The Queen’s Award for Enterprise: International Trade
2012 The Queen’s Award for Enterprise: International Trade
2010 The Queen’s Award for Enterprise: International Trade
Jim Milne and the team at Balmoral

Business awards listings

2019, Jan Business Insider Top 500: ranking 93 (62)
2018, July Business Insider Top 50 Offshore Service Providers: ranking 9 (8)
2018, Jan Business Insider Top 500: ranking 62 (55)
2017, July Business Insider Top 50 Offshore Service Providers: ranking 8 (15)
2017, June The Sunday Times International Track 200: ranking 113 (81)
2017, April The Sunday Times Profit Track 100: ranking 14 (7)
2017, Jan Business Insider Top 500: ranking 55 (188)
2016, Oct The Sunday Times Top Track 250: ranking 203 (-)
2016, Aug Business Insider Top 50 Offshore Services: ranking 15 (39)
2016, June The Sunday Times International Track 200: ranking 81 (140)
2016, April The Sunday Times Profit Track 100: ranking 7 (-)
2016, Jan Business Insider Aberdeenshire Top 100: ranking 42 (188)
2016, Jan Business Insider Top 500: ranking 188 (220)
2015, Aug Business Insider Top 50 Offshore Services: ranking 39 (-)
2015, Jan The Sunday Times International Track 200: ranking 140 (-)
2013, Feb Business Insider Top 500: ranking 121 (135)
2012, July The Sunday Times Fast Track 100: ranking 39 (-)
2012, May Scotland PLC Awards: Outstanding Co. of the year, runner up
2012, April The Sunday Times Profit Track 100: ranking 20 (-)
2012, Jan The Sunday Times International Track 200: ranking 39 (39)
2011, May The Sunday Times International Track 100: ranking 39 (45)
2010, May The Sunday Times International Track 100: ranking 39 (45)

James S Milne CBE, Founder, Chairman and Managing Director

2019 Subsea UK Outstanding Contribution Award
2018 Honorary Fellowship of the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland
2016 Entrepreneurial Scotland: Entrepreneur of the Year
2016 Press and Journal Gold Awards Hall of Fame entry
2015 Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce Hall of Fame entry
2013 Honorary Degree, Doctor of Business Administration, Edinburgh Napier University
2011 Entrepreneurial Exchange Hall of Fame entry
2010 Ernst & Young Scottish Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist
2008 Degree Honoris Causa from the University of Aberdeen
2007 Deputy Lieutenant of Aberdeen City
2007 Fellow of the SCDI
2004 Burgess of Guild in the City of Aberdeen
2000 Junior Chamber Aberdeen: Grampian Industrialist of the Year
1999 Honorary Degree, Doctor of Business Administration from RGU
1998 The Alick Buchanan-Smith Memorial Award for Personal Achievement
1994 Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) award

Balmoral Group

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