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Knauf investment will help future-proof Immingham plant

A MULTI-million pound expansion project is underway at a major South Bank manufacturing plant.

Knauf investment will help future-proof Immingham plant

Knauf is boosting capacity at its distinctive Immingham plasterboard facility, where more than 100 people are employed.

New plant and infrastructure is being brought in, not only providing an economic boost for the German giant and the UK team, but part of the works will also future-proof the site as it adapts to changing raw material supply.

Gypsum, which is used to manufacture plasterboard, the finish for internal walls and ceilings in homes, hotels, commercial and industrial settings, is a by-product of coal-fired power generation. Now as demand for fossil-based energy declines, as witnessed in close quarters on the Humber, Knauf is increasing import-handling capability, as well as exploring further recycling opportunities.

Recent years have seen a focus on sourcing, with Grimsby's Tioxide plant previously a major supplier, and – together with the port-proximity – a key factor in the decision to build in North East Lincolnshire back in 1990.

It arrived following the success of a first UK plant at Sittingbourne in Kent.

Built to the same technical specification, Immingham has gone on to service the construction industry requirements in the north of England, Scotland and Ireland with plasterboard and thermal laminates, with a 107-strong team. And while much of the production is for the domestic market, innovation has seen products developed to deal with fire resistance, steel protection and sound reduction.

A spokesman told "We are adding extra capacity to the calcination process area of the site. It will generate extra capacity and should be completed by August."

Immingham was last extended in 2006, with a new unit massively increasing capacity then. The latest energy management technology was incorporated, the whole plant insulated and two huge heat exchangers added, saving 10 per cent of the plant's energy requirements.

The new project is being delivered by North Killingholme's Cube3 Construction.

Graham Marshall, director, said: "We have worked extensively for them since we set up six years ago, building on a previous relationship. We have done lots of small and medium-sized contracts and we have been helping them with this major expansion since the early part of last year."

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