Paints and coatings company AkzoNobel has opened the world’s most advanced and sustainable paint factory, in Ashington, Northumberland. The plant, which cost more than £100m to build, is the largest ever global investment by the decorative paints business and will become the new centre of production for the Dulux brand.
The factory will be capable of doubling current UK production levels to 200 million litres per year, the equivalent of eighty million 2.5 litre cans of Dulux, in up to 33,000 different colours, approximately enough paint , say AkzoNobel 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 which saves water, waste and energy. The company estimates that the carbon footprint per litre of paint produced at Ashington will be reduced by 50 per cent compared to the facilities it is replacing.
The plant secures 150 skilled jobs in high tech manufacturing for the North East whilst 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.
All manufacturing technologies within the plant are managed by a single integrated computer system. All key processes, from the ordering of raw materials to the shipping of 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.
Ruud Joosten, COO of Paints and Coatings at AkzoNobel, added: “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. That technical know-how is matched by our expertise in colour, revealed today with the announcement of the AkzoNobel Colour of the Year 2018. Our inspirational trends and paint produced here in Ashington will together create beautiful, stylish living spaces all over the world.”
Matt Pullen, Managing Director UK & Ireland at AkzoNobel, said: “I’m incredibly proud to have attracted this major investment into the UK. Now the UK’s number one paint brand can boast the most advanced manufacturing facility anywhere in the world, securing 150 high skilled jobs in the North East.”
Secretary of State for International Trade Dr Liam Fox said: “The huge investment by AkzoNobel in Ashington 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. Their 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.”
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, in order 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.