AkzoNobel Ashington Turns Two and Achieves Groundbreaking Production Milestone Producing 1M litres of paint a week!
Opened in September 2017 the £100m ($123m) plant is the most advanced in the world. It utilises cutting edge manufacturing technologies, brought in from other AkzoNobel sites around the world. They aims to phase out older less sustainable production methods gradually over the next few years. It will become the new UK home of Dulux decorative paint.
Reaching the 1 million milestone is a big deal. The staff who developed and maintain the largely automated facility can be proud of their efforts. The plant provides over 150 skilled hi-tech jobs, which is a boast for the Northumberland economy. The local supply chain boasts 100 additional supporting roles
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. 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’.
Recycling Water & Sovents
Ashingon recycles 90% of the solvents and water is uses. A closed loop system is also in operation. Therefore no harmful chemicals are released in to the atmosphere as VOC is scrubbed and extracted when making the paint. This is instead of the open vessel system employed at other sites. These will eventually be decommissioned in favour of the new manufacturing processes at Ashington.
Resins in the paints made at Ashington have been reformed and have a flash point of 60°C. It used to be 40°C. Resins are the component in paint that help it adhere to surfaces. Residue solvents are re-used where possible or used as fuel.
100% solvent free re-use its not possible to achieve unfortunately. This is because the carbon bed filter system always captures a small percentage of solvent. With water based paints clean water is reclaimed during filtering and solid residues are used as a secondary fuel.
Energy Consumption & the Environment
The entire plant is designed to use less energy. Power comes from on-site solar panels. A biomass boiler burns pellets from local managed forests. The lighting, heating and even the staff showers are super eco efficient. AkzoNobel say a litre of paint made at the Ashington plant has half the carbon footprint of other paints.
Built in a basin the site is designed to prevent spillages into the surrounding environment. Rain water is held in an underground reservoir. In an emergency this prevents groundwater contamination from the plant.
The next target for the state-of-the-art plant looking ahead to 2020 and beyond is to demonstrate a further 50% increase of capacity to 1.5M litres per week.