Huntsman has chosen the UK as its manufacturing hub for Araldite industrial and consumer products partly, the company says, because there is a long and very proud tradition of manufacturing on the Duxford, Cambridgeshire site dating back some 80 years.
With 140 people employed across the spectrum of production, quality, engineering, warehousing, logistics and technical roles, Huntsman identified a commitment to the legacy of the site and the quality of what is produced there.
Production relies mainly on batch processing through pressure vessels and planetary mixers. The two main categories of manufacturing are chemical processing and high speed dispersion technology which incorporates extremely fine solid particles into fluids, producing what are referred to as colloidal suspensions. As a guide to the volumes and range in production, annual gross bulk business across 350 products and 400 SKUs is around the 8,000,000 Kg mark.
In packaged goods, which range from larger industrial packs and cartridges down to 3g consumer tubes, the business is producing filled containers across 2 and sometime 3 shifts.
With 80 products and 250 SKUs to cope with, annual output exceeds 6,000,000 tubes and 2,000,000 cartridges along with 350,000 cans and 200,000 plastic tubes.
Product is distributed not just to serve the UK and European market but into many of the global sectors that the business connects with. 60% goes into the European markets and 24% to the rapidly developing Chinese market. Huntsman also supplies from the UK to Africa, the Middle East, India, Japan, the USA, Latin America and the South Pacific.
Today the site occupies some 150 acres, with its research, testing, manufacturing, filling, warehousing and support functions benefiting from fully automated processes and the new technologies. In total it contributes close to $90million net sales value to the business.
Paul Holland, the new Site Manager at Huntsman’s UK manufacturing and packing plant in Duxford said; “Against a backdrop that has seen a degree of equalisation between labour costs around the world, I think other businesses can take a lead from Huntman’s approach. It’s a question not just of basic costs but also of expertise. If you take a walk around our site you’ll see a modern approach to business. We work in cellular groups where flexibility and teamwork are the key. Each employee is encouraged to contribute their skills set across a range of tasks and to share responsibility for any issues arising. Our daily whiteboard meetings are rapid, efficient vehicles for communicating about the immediate requirements of the workplace and setting them in the context of its longer-term objectives. The old ways of management hierarchies and top-down instructions have been replaced by inclusive processes which recognise everyone’s contribution. In a short space of time I’ve come to appreciate the important role that our approach to production plays in the Global development of Huntsman Advanced Materials business.”