World’s Most Sustainable Paint Plant Opens in the UK

A high-tech paint plant has opened in Ashington, United Kingdom, and is being billed as the most advanced and sustainable of its kind.

Paint and coating company AkzoNobel is behind construction of the plant, which will supply paint for Dulux, a popular decorative paint brand in the UK. The Ashington plant uses a variety of renewable energy sources, including photovoltaic cells and a biomass boiler, alongside a highly automated manufacturing process which saves water, waste and energy. The company estimates that the carbon footprint per liter of paint produced at the site will be reduced by 50% compared with the production facilities at the plants it is replacing.

The factory will be capable of doubling AkzoNobel’s current UK production levels to 200 million liters a year. Covering an area of 100,000m2, the facility also has capacity to expand in order to support future growth plans.

“Ashington secures AkzoNobel’s future as a manufacturer of cutting-edge products, including paints that improve air quality, increase energy efficiency and protect against bacteria,” said Ruud Joosten, COO of Paints and Coatings at AkzoNobel.

All manufacturing technologies within the plant are managed by a single integrated computer system. This means that every activity – 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.

AkzoNobel made headlines in March when it launched an online tool to track the use of bio-based raw materials in products. The company partnered with Advanced Biochemical and EY to introduce what they say is the first tool ever to use e-certification to track bio-based content along the value chain.

Also in March, AkzoNobel partnered with Maersk Line to reduce carbon emissions per container shipped by 10%. The companies say the partnership will also increase transparency on supply chain best practices and integrate sustainability into the customer-supplier relationship as a decision-making factor.

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