The investment, supported by a grant contribution from Scottish Enterprise’s Aid for Environmental Protection Scheme, secures the future of the skilled 225 strong workforce.
It represents the latest chapter in the proud history of the Irvine plant, which began production in 1920 as Portland Glass. It will enable the plant, which is one of the largest private employers in the area, producing bottles primarily for the Scottish drinks industry, to become one of the most advanced and efficient in Europe. The new flint furnace has been designed to increase production flexibility, and uses environmentally efficient end fired technology, together with the latest state of the art inspection equipment, setting the highest standards in quality.
Addressing an audience of customers, local and national dignitaries and colleagues, Graeme Shepherd, Director of Operations, Irvine, Ardagh Group, Glass, UK, said:
“I am very pleased to welcome the First Minister to this important manufacturing centre in this, her home town, as well as the many colleagues, customers, suppliers and supporters, who have made it possible for our plant to continually thrive and provide such an important service to the drinks industry here in Scotland.
“The Irvine plant is well regarded within the Ardagh Group for the quality of our output, the calibre of our management and workforce and the professionalism of our customer service, supported by on-going investment in technology and systems.”
The First Minister responded: “I am delighted to visit Ardagh to officially open their new furnace. This is evidence of the company’s continued investment in its Irvine site, which is something to be commended.
“I also welcome the news that Ardagh has made a commitment to the Scottish Business Pledge, making them one of first companies in the spirits supply chain to do so. The Scottish Government will continue to work with Ardagh to ensure the continued success and growth of the business.”
Rhona Allison, Company Growth Support Director, Scottish Enterprise, said: “Our support to Ardagh demonstrates that by tailoring financial support to an individual company’s needs we can help generate investment into existing facilities and, in this case, increase environmental efficiencies that improve overall plant performance and benefit the Scotch Whisky and Spirits industries.”
Ardagh is a global operation, with 89 glass and metal manufacturing production facilities in 21 countries. The 35 glass factories in the Group have a combined experience of over 500 years of glass container making. The new Irvine facility is part of an investment of around £500m in the glass business over the past 5 years to ensure the most efficient design, production and delivery of products of the highest quality.
The Irvine plant also opened its gates to the family and friends of all employees for a special Family Day. Alongside music, children’s entertainment, exhibitions and attractions, there will be special tours around the plant, and an opportunity to inspect the new facility. On November 13 retired employees will visit the plant.