The new line, which was fully activated in early 2022, is the fourth at the North Wales-based facility, and was added in response to growing consumer demand for laminated window frames. It is the latest in production machinery additions at the Blaenau Ffestiniog plant, as REHAU continues to boost supply chain resilience to better service post-COVID sector demand.
REHAU Bolsters UK Manufacturing Capacity
Polymer supplier REHAU has bolstered its UK manufacturing capacity with an investment in a new lamination line at its Blaenau Ffestiniog factory.
“Ensuring a robust supply of polymer is vital to REHAU’s continued UK operations and our ongoing support of the British fenestration industry,” explains Martin Hitchin, CEO of REHAU UK. “As such, I am delighted to say that our stock levels now exceed pre-COVID levels, with our Runcorn PVCR facility at full capacity and significant back-up stock available at our North Wales factory.
“Our fourth lamination line is a great example of this resilience in action, featuring state-of-the-art double-sided technology that will allow for quick manufacturing of non-standard parts. With it now turned on, we have improved our capacity in this area by a third from previous levels while cutting lead times and allowing faster and more flexible reactions to bespoke, smaller product batch requests. These are benefits we are able to pass down to installers and fabricators through quicker availability of supply.”
This latest line is part of REHAU’s ongoing commitment to improving manufacturing capacity at the Blaenau Ffestiniog plant, to which a fifth co-extrusion line was added in 2021. A sixth line is planned for September 2022, increasing the quantity of REHAU window products made of co-extruded polymer to up to 45% in total.
Alongside boosting production levels via new machinery, REHAU is also continuing to grow its factory workforce to meet continuing fabricator and installer polymer demand. Specifically, full-time staff levels at Blaenau Ffestiniog have grown from 165 to 192 between March 2020 and March 2022, with 15 apprentices drawn from the local area also employed at the factory.
“We have always had a strong culture of advancement at REHAU, with many staff now in management roles having started as apprentices at the company,” concludes Martin. “Through a combination of investing in people, machinery and smart factory Industry 4.0 practices, we have been able to expand production while improving overall efficiency.
“The installation of this new line, combined with our continued strong investment in our workforce, means we will be well-placed to support the industry in 2022 and beyond. The industry’s future depends on reliable material provision, so we deem these steps strengthening our UK supply chains as necessary to the sector’s continued success.”