AkzoNobel launches new sustainable UK paint factory

AkzoNobel launches new sustainable UK paint factory

The paints and coatings giant has opened what it says is the most advanced and sustainable paint factory in the world at Ashington in Northumberland

The new factory in north of Newcastle on Tyne
AkzoNobel says its new 100,000m2 factory at Ashington north of Newcastle is the world’s most advanced and sustainable paint factory. It cost more than £100m to build and is the company's largest ever global investment. It will become the new centre of production for Dulux paints. AkzoNobel has also been awarded the Carbon Trust Triple Standard for its sustainability achievements.
This impressive new factory has capacity to double the current UK production levels of Dulux paint to 200 million litres per year - the equivalent of 80 million 2.5 litre cans in up to 33,000 different colours. That's enough paint to redecorate every living room, bathroom and kitchen in the UK.
 
The Ashington plant uses a variety of renewable energy sources, including photovoltaic cells and a biomass boiler, alongside an automated manufacturing process that saves water, waste and energy. AkzoNobel estimates the carbon footprint per litre of paint produced here will be reduced by 50 per cent compared to the facilities it is replacing.
 
While not big generator of jobs for the area, this plant does secure 150 skilled jobs in high tech manufacturing for the North East while supporting more than 100 additional roles in the local supply chain. Covering an area of 100,000m2, the factory has capacity to expand in order to support future growth plans.
 
The new factory can produce paint in 33,000 colours
Dulux paint will be manufactured at Ashington
All manufacturing technologies within the plant are managed by a single integrated computer system. All key processes, from ordering raw materials to  shipping finished products, can be initiated without operator intervention. A highly agile production system means the plant is capable of producing paint across the entire AkzoNobel range, which includes Dulux, Dulux Trade, Cuprinol, Polycell, Hammerite and Armstead.
 
Thierry Vanlancker, AkzoNobel CEO, says the factory marks a milestone: 'This is a significant investment in the UK, which is home to many of our world leading brands and the paint industry’s megabrand, Dulux.We're investing in highly innovative and sustainable production facilities such as Ashington to maintain and grow our leadership position. AkzoNobel’s growth strategy means we will continue to lead the paints and coatings industry in both the strongest brands and the most advanced technology.'
 
High tech for health
 
Ruud Joosten, COO of Paints and Coatings at AkzoNobel, adds that 'Ashington secures AkzoNobel’s future as a manufacturer of amazing high tech products, including paints which improve air quality, increase energy efficiency and protect against bacteria.'
 
Jeff Hope, Head of Manufacturing at Ashington, says the paint industry is benefiting from the plant: 'We've taken the best technology available globally, improved on it and put it all under one roof. It represents a significant step forward for the whole industry. I could not be more proud of the opportunity we were given to build this site in the beautiful county of Northumberland, and the loyal, committed and hardworking team who successfully delivered this incredible project.'
 
Secretary of State for International Trade Dr Liam Fox welcomes the investment and the choice of location: “The huge investment by AkzoNobel has delivered the most advanced paint factory in the world and an important boost to the local economy. As an international economic department we encouraged AkzoNobel to choose Northumberland because the UK has the right skills base, infrastructure and supply chains to grow their business. The decision is a vote of confidence in the Northern Powerhouse as a destination for foreign investment and demonstrates the rock-solid relationship between the Dutch and UK economies.'
 
Training
 
Ashington will house the second Dulux Academy, a customized training centre for painters and decorators to provide them with the expertise and know-how they need for business success. This follows the success of the first £1.4m Academy in Slough which has trained 1,600 people in its first year. AkzoNobel’s ambition is to train and upskill 10,000 UK decorators by 2020  to play a part in tackling the skills shortage in the construction sector, which risks limiting the UK’s house building capacity.
 
Ashington is AkzoNobel’s second major investment in the North East, alongside its Performance Coatings plant at Felling, Gateshead, which employs more than 800 people, out of a total UK workforce of more than 3,500. Earlier this year, AkzoNobel announced an investment of £12.5 million in a technical innovation hub at its Protective Coatings global HQ in Felling in Tyne and Wear. The new state of the art R&D facility will enable more than 100 scientists to develop products in conditions equivalent to the world’s most extreme environments.
 
*And AkzoNobel Decorative Paints UK has been awarded the Carbon Trust Triple Standard in recognition of its top performance for sustainability.
 
This accolade rewards AkzoNobel for reductions in energy use and associated greenhouse gas emissions, water use and waste output. The company says it shows AkzoNobel's ongoing commitment to transform itself into a generator of sustainable long-term value and positive social impact.
 
 
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