Jobs boost for Chirnside plant

Ahlstrom-Munksjo's Chirnside plant is taking deliver of a machine from China.
Ahlstrom-Munksjo's Chirnside plant is taking deliver of a machine from China.

A €28m investment in Ahlstrom-Munksjo’s Chirnside plant will result in an estimated 15 new jobs for the area.

The sustainable and innovative fiber solutions company has bought a Voith paper-making machine from China which will be dismantled and shipped across to the Berwickshire factory where it will be re-assembled.

“This investment almost doubles our capacity in tea and coffee filter papers, delivers significant quality improvement and improves our operational efficiency,” explained Stephen Monks, plant manager at Chirnside and the company’s Manchester factory.

“With these advances, we are well placed to grow our business with our customers around the world.

“This major investment shows confidence in our business and is a real endorsement of the skills and capability we have in Chirnside. It is a boost for the whole Chirnside team and will also create a number of new jobs within the Scottish Borders.”

The new machine is due to arrive in the UK in late autumn and production is likely to start during 2020.

Ahlstrom-Munksjo’s Chirnside factory is already ahead of the game when it comes to offering customers alternatives to plastic based products.

Sustainable and plastic free alternatives are driving demand in the tea bag market and Ahlstrom-Munksjö has a leading position with its Fiber+ offering, which is a plastic-free and compostable solution made without oil based heat seal fibers.

In the single-serve coffee market, the company is a niche supplier with a leading

position in the sustainable and compostable segment in Europe and making good progress on the US market.

“This investment will allow us to better serve our existing customers whilst facilitating our growth ambitions,” said Stuart Nixon, vice president of beverage & casing business and former Chirnside plant manager.

“Our UK operations, in particular the Chirnside site, has extensive capabilities in tea, coffee and casing. By maximizing our use of the deep product knowledge and skills we can continue to provide innovative and sustainable products to our customers world-wide.”

Omar Hoek, executive vice president of business area specialties added: “The investment shows our long term commitment and our ambition to maintain a leading position in coffee, tea and casing papers.

“I’m also encouraged that sustainability and plastic-free solutions are in strong demand because it gives us a strategic opportunity to leverage our competence and innovation capability, differentiate our offering of advanced custom-made fiber based materials, and strengthen our relationship with our customers.”