Knauf Insulation to invest over £45 million in UK glass mineral wool plants

KNAUF insulation has announced a series of investments in its two UK glass mineral wool plants, with the aim of boosting capacity and improving the range, availability and sustainability of its products.

In St Helens, the company will spend over £40 million to increase the plant’s total capacity by c30,000 tonnes per annum from late 2023/early 2024 and to acquire the large adjacent Pilkington Architectural site from NSG Group.

This investment will include a larger furnace to support the increased capacity; improved fiberising technology to support a widening of the range; and downstream equipment to cure and package the additional output and support further enhancement of its product compression.

As a result of the investment, Knauf Insulation said it expects to see a circa 20% improvement in the embodied carbon of products supplied from its St Helens plant.

To support the growth in output, the company has also agreed a deal in principle to acquire the adjacent Pilkington Architectural site from NSG Group for a multi-million 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. This will allow for additional warehouse and storage space and a fully optimised logistics operation on the enlarged site.

Knauf Insulation added that it is also investing in excess of £5 million in packaging equipment at its Cwmbran plant to enable the production of glass mineral wool slabs in addition to the plant’s current roll and blowing wool capability.

Neil Hargreaves, MD of Knauf Insulation Northern Europe, said, “This is an exciting development for our business and both our UK glass mineral wool plants. 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.”

Dominique Bossan, CEO of Knauf Insulation EMEA, added, “As well as the additional capacity to support growth domestically and overseas, we’re excited to bring new lower lambda and thicker products to the UK&I market. This supports our objective to continually innovate and provide our customers with the best range of non-combustible insulation solutions across both glass and rock mineral wool technologies. All these investments will further reduce the embodied carbon of our products and the built environment in line with our sustainability strategy, For A Better World.”