Founded at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, RS Clare is a family owned business that has been based in Liverpool since 1748. The company represents the longest established business dedicated to the manufacture of lubricants in the United Kingdom and despite its age, RS Clare is both innovative and dynamic in the development of new ways to further improve its products and services. “Our company’s long history instils a sense of identity and purpose within our workforce, which helps to inspire us to overcome challenges and achieve new goals. This heritage also helps enormously in terms of our reputation and credibility with our company’s customers,” elaborates Head of Marketing & Customer Service, David Meadows. “People are interested in our past and appreciate that a company still thriving after nearly 270 years in business is one which has solid foundations, but must also be innovative and agile enough to have prospered for so long.”
Being a family owned business gives the company several advantages in terms of its financial and leadership stability at Board level, allowing it to make critical decisions quickly and to stay ahead of competing firms. The unbroken history of RS Clare also gives the business a sophisticated understanding of the market for lubricating products, which represents a powerful tool in shaping the company and developing new products. “To help drive the business forward RS Clare has recently made a significant investment in a purpose built factory and office suite, which is integrated into our existing head office in Liverpool,” David says. “The new facilities not only enable our continued growth and expansion for years to come, they are also a symbol of our commitment to the environment, encompassing 78 Solar PV panels, ground source heating and a rainwater harvesting system. These new facilities are consistent with our strategic approach to environmentally sustainable lubrication practices.”
During the course of its history, RS Clare has developed an extensive customer base across several market sectors, including the oil and gas, rail, marine, industrial and anti-skid surfacing industries in both domestic and international markets. “RS Clare operates in multiple industries and is a truly global enterprise. Our Lubricants Division has built on the company’s long experience in grease making by serving niche markets for speciality products in the oil and gas, rail, steel, marine and automotive industries throughout the world. We operate a Surface Coatings Division that manufactures and applies anti-skid surfaces and road markings. We also continue to manufacture lubricants under our customer’s own brands as part of our Industrial Division,” David reveals. “Both domestic and international business is critical to our long-term success. Domestically we continue to perform strongly in the markets in which we participate, and we are seeing continued growth in our exports around the globe. We export to over 60 countries and the company now generates more than half of its turnover from overseas sales.”
RS Clare was founded on innovation and has been able to thrive for more than 260 years because of its continued focus on radical, disruptive products for new industries and applications. “Innovation is in our DNA and all of our people are consciously looking for new ways to add value to our product portfolio. Many of our customers come to us as the first port of call for product development in lubrication and coatings. An innovation example is the invention of thermoplastic road markings in 1933 by our Chemist ‘Doc Myles’, which are today used around the world. Furthermore, our oil and gas lubricants are exclusively aimed at extending valve life and reducing costs, which is something that is especially important given today’s oil price,” David explains. “Today we maintain a technical team far in excess of what would be typical for our size and comprising not only top academics but also significant field experience to ensure that our developments are fully customer focused.
As a result of its continued product development and research and development operations, RS Clare has established a strong portfolio of industrial lubricating products. These range from its market leading ‘Valve Lubricant 601’ to its new ‘EcoCurve’ Rail lubricant range and beyond. “Our signature product is most definitely Valve Lubricant 601, which is primarily used in gate valves in the oil and gas industry around the world. We have seen huge growth in this product in the last decade, as energy producers see the long-term benefits and value in using a lubricant designed for exceptional performance in the widest range of operating conditions,” David details. “The product’s resistance to hydrocarbons and aggressive chemicals means that it stays in the valve cavity longer, meaning fewer unplanned maintenance intervals and increased component life. Our new range of ‘EcoCurve’ rail greases are biodegradable, reduce noise and wear on the tracks and enable one grease to be used all year round due its wide temperature range.”
Over the coming years RS Clare will continually develop new solutions in its chosen market sectors, further adding value to the products that is supplies to its customers. “We focus on markets where we believe we have or can develop a position of technical leadership. In order to do this we invest in close working relationships, which are in effect ‘partnerships’ that ensure that we truly understand our customers’ and their requirements. Innovation is key and not an accident, it has been a long term objective that 25 per cent of our business returns each year should be derived from sales of recent product developments,” David concludes. “We are embarking on a new phase of international growth for several of our divisions with continued increase in exports and another Queen’s Award for Industry is in our sights. We have had considerable success in recent years by building great relationships, understanding customer’s issues and developing intricate specialist lubricants to solve those problems. That has been our strategy for the past few years and it continues to be today.”
News article available on the Energy, Oil & Gas website here.