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Airtech

Huntsman Chooses UK as Manufacturing Hub

28 April 2015

Huntsman has chosen the UK as its manufacturing hub for Araldite industrial and consumer products.

Huntsman explains that the choice of location is partly because there is a long and very proud tradition of manufacturing on the Duxford, Cambridgeshire site, dating back some 80 years.

However Hunstman recognises that it’s not just location which is important in manufacturing sectors, but the ability to provide a disciplined and dependable workforce that is in tune with 21st century methods and needs. There are 140 people employed across the spectrum of production, quality, engineering, warehousing, logistics and technical roles. Huntsman has identified that they have 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. It says, 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 8,000,000 Kg .

In packaged goods, which range from larger industrial packs and cartridges down to 3g consumer tubes, Huntsman says it 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.

The 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% going into the European markets and 24% to the rapidly developing Chinese market. Huntsman says it also supplies from the UK to Africa, the Middle East, India, Japan, the USA, Latin America and the South Pacific.

The products are marketed globally under the Araldite brand, which is one of the most respected in both the industrial and consumer domains. That means an additional responsibility to the business; protecting a reputation for quality and effectiveness that has taken many years to acquire.

Paul Holland is the new site manager at Huntsman’s UK manufacturing and packing plant in Duxford, Cambridgeshire, having previously held roles within the business across the disciplines of Research, Manufacturing, Logistics and Marketing in Australia, China, Japan, Singapore, India and Hong Kong. He says Huntsman’s approach uses decades of manufacturing expertise set within a modern context.

“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 skill 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.”