AkzoNobel Opens UK Paint Plant
Dutch paints and coatings group AkzoNobel has officially opened what it describes as the “world’s most advanced and sustainable paint plant” in Ashington, UK, where it will become the new center of production for the country’s leading Dulux brand.
“This is a significant investment in the UK – a vital strategic market for us – and an important milestone for AkzoNobel,” said CEO Thierry Vanlancker.
The facility cost more than €100 million to build, which AkzoNobel said represents the largest-ever global investment by its Decorative Paints business. The investment doubles the group’s capacity in the UK to 200 million litres per year, and the plant can also be expanded to support future growth plans. AkzoNobel is able to produce its entire product range at Ashington, including Dulux, Dulux Trade, Cuprinol, Polycell, Hammerite and Armstead brands.
The plant can use a variety of renewable energy sources, including photovoltaic cells and a biomass boiler, alongside an automated manufacturing process that saves water, waste and energy. The coatings company estimates that the carbon footprint per liter of paint produced at the UK site will be 50% lower than at the facilities it is replacing.
In addition, all manufacturing technologies within the plant are managed by a single integrated computer system, meaning that all key processes such as ordering raw materials to shipping finished products can be initiated without operator assistance.
Ruud Joosten, chief operating officer of Paints and Coatings, said: “We have taken the best technology available globally, improved on it and put it all under one roof, ensuring that this new facility represents a significant step forward for the whole industry.”
Ashington will also house the UK’s second Dulux Academy, a customized training center for painters and decorators. AkzoNobel said its ambition is to train 10,000 UK decorators by 2020 in order to help tackle the skills shortage in the construction sector.
In February, the company announced plans to invest €12.6 million in a new research and innovation hub at Felling in the UK’s northeast. The facility is expected to be operational at the end of 2018.