AkzoNobel has officially opened what it describes as the world’s most advanced and sustainable paint factory in Ashington.
The plant, which cost more than £100million to build, is the largest ever global investment by the decorative paints business and will become the new centre of production for Dulux – the UK’s most popular paint brand.
It is providing 150 skilled jobs in hi-tech manufacturing for Northumberland, whilst supporting more than 100 additional roles in the local supply chain.
Covering an area of 100,000 sq m, the factory has capacity to expand in order to support future growth plans.
Jeff Hope, head of manufacturing unit at the Ashington plant, said: “Ashington has taken the best technology available globally, improved on it and put it all under one roof.
“It represents a significant step forward for the 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 hard-working team who successfully delivered this incredible project.”
The factory will be capable of doubling current UK production levels to 200 million litres per year, the equivalent of 80 million 2.5 litre cans of Dulux, in up to 33,000 different colours.
It 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.
The company estimates the carbon footprint per litre of paint produced at Ashington will be reduced by 50 per cent compared to the facilities it is replacing.
Thierry Vanlancker, CEO of AkzoNobel, said: “This is a significant investment in the UK and an important milestone for AkzoNobel.
“We are investing in highly innovative and sustainable production facilities such as Ashington in order to maintain and grow our leadership position, ensuring the best products for our customers in the UK and around the world.”
All manufacturing technologies within the plant are managed by a single integrated computer system and the highly agile production system means it is capable of producing paint across the entire AkzoNobel range – which includes Dulux, Dulux Trade, Cuprinol, Polycell, Hammerite and Armstead.
The Ashington plant will house the second Dulux Academy. It will provide a customised training centre for painters and decorators to give them the expertise and know-how they need for business success.
Wansbeck MP Ian Lavery was among those who attended the official opening.
Secretary of State for International Trade, Dr Liam Fox, said: “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 its business.”