Paints and coatings company AkzoNobel has opened a sustainable paint factory in Ashington, which will become the new centre of production for Dulux.
The factory could double 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, approximately 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 which saves water, waste and energy. AkzoNobel estimates that the carbon footprint per litre of paint produced at Ashington will be reduced by 50% 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 100,000sqm, the factory has capacity to expand to support future growth plans.
All manufacturing technologies within the plant are managed by a single integrated computer system and all key processes can be initiated without operator intervention. The plant is capable of producing paint across the entire AkzoNobel range, which includes Dulux, Dulux Trade, Cuprinol, Polycell, Hammerite and Armstead.
Thierry Vanlancker, CEO of AkzoNobel, said: “This is a significant investment in the UK and an important milestone for AkzoNobel. The UK is home to many of our world leading brands and the paint industry’s megabrand, Dulux. It is a vital strategic market for us. We are investing in highly innovative and sustainable production facilities such as Ashington to maintain and grow our leadership position, ensuring the best products for our customers in the UK and around the world. AkzoNobel’s growth strategy means that we will continue to lead the paints and coatings industry in both the strongest brands and the most advanced technology.”
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 also house the second Dulux Academy, a customised training centre for painters and decorators to provide them with the expertise and know-how they need for business success.
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. Earlier this year, AkzoNobel announced an investment of £11.5m in a technical innovation hub at its Protective Coatings global HQ in Felling in Tyne and Wear.