The milk bottle maker is building the facility, which is due to be operational in early summer this year, next to Dale Farm’s Pennybridge dairy in Ballymena, Northern Ireland. Twenty jobs will be created when the in-plant becomes operational.
It is being built to help fuel expansion plans at Dale Farm but also to serve other dairies in Ireland.
Stephen Cameron, supply chain director at Dale Farm, described the new in-plant as a milestone in its expansion plans while Jamie Tinsley, Nampak’s sales director, said the plant is a major step forward for both companies and the wider milk industry in Northern Ireland.
Because of these broader benefits Northern Ireland’s Economic Development Agency provided financial assistance of £254,000 towards the project, with part funding also coming from the European Regional Development Fund. Some of this money will be used to develop additional export sales across Ireland.
The new plant will feature four blow-moulding machines and have the capacity to produce more than 100m milk bottles annually, and provide processors with bottles containing a minimum of 10 per cent recycled HDPE.
Tinsley said: “We have been working closely with Dale Farm for a number of years to identify the most appropriate solution to support the company’s ongoing expansion and this in-plant is a perfect example of what can be achieved.”
The Dale Farm in-plant is Nampak’s sixth such facility, with other bottle in-plants located in Glasgow, Oakthorpe, Severnside, Manchester and Chadwell Heath. The company also operates two considerable support sites in Newport Pagnell and Consett.
Producing about two billion bottles a year, Nampak supplies a number of the major dairies in the UK and Ireland including Arla, Dairy Crest, and Robert Wiseman. As a key supplier to the UK market Nampak is heavily involved in the packaging plans under the Milk Roadmap drawn up by government and industry.
To help the dairy industry meet the 2010 target of incorporating 10 per cent recycled HDPE in plastic milk bottles, Nampak has spent £1.5m at its UK sites. The company announced last month that it is on track to meet the goal of adding up to 10 per cent r-HDPE to all its bottles.