AkzoNobel has a passion for paint, the pitman painters and Ashwood Business Park
AkzoNobel is an expert in the craft of making paints and coatings. It has a world class portfolio of brands including Dulux, International, Sikkens and Interpon.
In 2012, noticing a change in the baseline of aspirations for manufacturing facilities and recognising an increasing need for the use of automation, the company began the construction of its facility at Ashwood Business Park in Northumberland. It was the biggest single investment made to date by the company.
The facility has been designed to be the world’s most advanced and sustainable paint manufacturing plant of its kind. It has been built with algorithms to manufacture paint on instruction but unsupervised. The only operator intervention required, once the recipes are requested, is for maintenance purposes or for initial pump-up of raw materials and deliveries of tins / lids / labels to the lines. This enables a safer working environment and better working conditions, as well as more consistency and quality within the products.
AkzoNobel saw huge opportunities at Ashwood Business Park and its surrounding areas, with the single biggest factor being the availability of skilled and enthusiastic people to work at the plant. Since becoming operational, AkzoNobel Ashington has employed 165 people directly and the site has created more than 100 additional jobs within the local supply chain.
Another benefit of the site’s location was the fact that the North East was already a region in which AkzoNobel had well-developed relationships with suppliers. The company also has sites at Felling and Prudhoe, from where it was able to transfer skills and knowledge.
The Ashwood Business Park site also has fantastic transport links, being located next to a major trunk road and near Newcastle International Airport and The Port of Blyth, an international port – which is beneficial for transporting goods across the UK and internationally.
However, what confirmed the choice of location was the fact that the new site is located around two miles away from Woodhorn Museum, which houses the work of the Ashington Group, known as the Pitmen Painters, who inspired the cultural principles and ways of working on the site.
The facility at Ashwood Business Park covers an area of 100,000 m2 – roughly the size of 14 football pitches – and is an important part of AkzoNobel’s global growth strategy and it exemplifies the future vision for AkzoNobel, focusing on achieving sustainable growth and profitability. AkzoNobel is able to expand its facilities further as there is additional capacity designed into the site.