Element Six (formerly De Beers Industrial Diamond) is a company specialised in providing synthetic diamond, cubic boron nitride and other superhard materials for industrial use. It was created in 1946 and is owned by Umicore and De Beers. The main operations are in Ireland, South Africa, Sweden, UK, China and the Ukraine with global sales and distribution.
As De Beers Industrial Diamond, the company was set up initially to concentrate on the industrial applications of natural diamond. Following the development of diamond synthesis in the early 1950s, the company acquired the technology and by 1958 was able to manufacture material based on a high pressure, high temperature process. By the 1960s, the company was offering a range of diamond grit products that was followed by nickel and coated diamond materials plus grinding products based on cubic boron nitride. In 1992, breakthroughs in chemical vapour deposition technology opened the opportunity to synthesize diamond films and a new raft of application areas became possible.
In 2002, the company changed its name to Element Six and its business focus moved towards building an enterprise based on advanced material applications for increasingly sophisticated engineering customers backed by global technical support and a strong research and development organization.
Products offered by Element Six fall into two broad categories - superabrasives and advanced diamond products. The largest part of the company's business today is in superabrasives. These products are based on the world's hardest materials such as synthetic diamond and cubic boron nitride that are used in a wide range of cutting, grinding and drilling applications range from oil and gas exploration to machine tools, automotive part manufacturing and marble production.