£40m investment for Knauf Insulation St Helens plant

Knauf Insulation has announced investment plans worth £40m for its St Helens plant.

It is part of a total investment of more than £45m in its two UK glass mineral wool plants to boost capacity and improve its products, which involves investment of more than £5m in packaging equipment at the Cwmbran plant, in South Wales.

Investment in the St Helens site will increase its total capacity by around 30,000 tonnes per annum from late 2023 and early 2024, and also involves the acquisition of the large adjacent Pilkington Architectural site from NSG Group, to deliver the expansion plans.

The plans include:

  • A larger furnace to support the increased capacity
  • Improved fiberising technology to support a significant widening of the range
  • Downstream equipment to cure and package the additional output and to support further enhancement of its product compression

As a result of the investment, the group expects to see around a 20% improvement in the embodied carbon of products supplied from its St Helens plant, building further on its industry-leading position in terms of sustainability.

To support the growth in output, the company has agreed a deal, in principle, to acquire the adjacent Pilkington Architectural site from NSG Group for a multimillion-pound sum, subject to contract, environmental and structural surveys.

The site covers around seven hectares in total and includes industrial buildings with a total floor space in excess of 180,000 sq ft.

Knauf says this significant acquisition will allow for additional warehouse and storage space and a logistics operation on the enlarged site.

Neil Hargreaves, managing director of Knauf Insulation Northern Europe, said: “This is an exciting development for our business and both our UK Glass Mineral Wool plants.

Knauf Insulation production process

“These investments support the anticipated growth in demand driven by the Future Homes Standard and improved energy efficiency in new buildings as well as from more renovation of existing buildings.

“These developments are critical as we step up our efforts to tackle the cost of living crisis, climate change and energy security.”

Glass mineral wool is used to insulate flat surfaces such as cavity wall insulation, ceiling tiles, curtain walls, and ducting.

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