£13 million investment in Forest of Dean factory production line toasted at official opening
By Andrew Merrell | 17th February 2020
If you have trouble getting your glass filled at your local perhaps suggest they get some tips from Suntory's drinks factory in the Forest of Dean.
Unveiled officially today was the equipment bought with the £13 million investment announced last year, and its capabilities are mindboggling.
Just listening to how fast it will fill a bottle - after making it first - comes in at something under a minute, delivering a thirst-quenching and then some 55,000 bottles an hour.
It is enough to put your head in a spin, and that's before you watch the whirring merry-go rounds and speeding conveyor belts that transport the product through an incredible super-hygienic process to emerge as a recognisable favourite Lucozade.
Once the likes of Lucozade Ribena Suntory's head of engineering, Tom Crawford, had helped course the correct technology for the ground-breaking production line, it was the task of project manager Gary Burford to assemble and deliver.
The company's COO, Carol Robert, pushed the button to launch its new energy and water-efficient production line.
The high-speed bottling line also handles Ribena and popular lower-calorie options.
This new line forms part of Suntory's global sustainability strategy by reducing the amount of water and energy used during the manufacturing process.
Producing a bottle on the new line requires 40 per cent less energy and water than the previous line. This is in part due to world-class innovation such as new dry aseptic technology, which uses heat and pressurised air instead of water to clean bottles before they are filled.
These efficiency improvements represent a 4.4 per cent reduction of energy and water consumption for the Coleford site as a whole.
The Royal Forest Factory is at the heart of Lucozade Ribena Suntory's UK operations and is already one of the most efficient factories under the Suntory brand.
This investment from parent company Suntory Beverage & Food is in recognition of the UK factory's status and reflects the business' ambition to reduce its impact on the environment.
This investment also sets Lucozade Ribena Suntory up for future success as the additional capacity for bottle production allows the factory to evolve alongside consumer tastes.
Carol Robert, chief operating officer at Lucozade Ribena Suntory, said: "The launch of this production line is significant for us and forms part of our 'Growing for Good' vision.
"It's fantastic to have been able to invest £13m in this line and to deliver a 40 per cent reduction in the energy and water required to make each bottle. In doing so, we are making an important commitment to both the environment and our consumers.
"This investment is a vote of confidence by Suntory Beverage & Food in our UK and Gloucestershire operations, ensuring our factory in Coleford continues to be a best-in-class facility for years to come."
Liz Truss, Secretary of State for International Trade, said: "LRS's further investment into their site in Gloucestershire is a great sign of confidence and a brilliant example of the success international businesses can find in the UK.
"My department is committed to supporting Foreign Direct Investment across the UK that will help to create new jobs and boost local economies and deliver on levelling up our great country."
Rt Hon Mark Harper MP, Member of Parliament for the Forest of Dean, said: "I am delighted to see that Lucozade Ribena Suntory's £13 million vote of confidence in the Forest of Dean is now up and running.
"This investment, £3 million of which went to local contractors, is the welcome combination of a serious effort to improve the sustainability of manufacturing with state of the art technology and the considerable talent of a workforce based in the Forest of Dean.
"I look forward to continuing to support this excellent facility and wish it every success in the future."
The investment itself saw approximately £10m spent on new production and processing equipment with a further £3m invested directly in local contractors who built and installed the supporting infrastructure for the new line.
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