Inside the Knauf Factory

Inside the Knauf Factory

As Knauf announces a new partnership with a very worthy cause, Professional Builder was treated to a tour of the company’s extensive Sittingbourne plasterboard factory.

In an age when the emphasis is firmly on rebalancing our economy towards UK manufacturing, Knauf is a company that can already stand tall. Since 1998, the gypsum-based building materials supplier has invested in excess of £100 million in its plants at Sittingbourne and Immingham, with results that are certainly impressive in scale.

The great mounds of gypsum that sit ready to be dried and heated are a testament to the amount of product that’s produced at this Kent coastal site, with approximately a thousand tonnes of that material processed in a single day.

Each 11km long reel of paper lasts just 1 hour 40 minutes on the line, and at full speed an insatiable 24/7 operation will consume some 20 rolls a day. This facility can, in fact, be run for days on end without stopping, whilst the line that marries the gypsum slurry to plasterboard paper is a quarter of a mile long.

This is also an operation that pays heed to the demands of sustainability, with that aforementioned plasterboard paper sourced from the DS Smith paper mill a stone’s throw from the factory.

Similarly, the company reports that recycled plasterboard from construction waste is an increasingly important source of raw material, especially as the synthetic alternative generated as a by-product of coal fired power stations becomes less readily available as this method of power supply is increasingly decommissioned.

The manufacturer also imports gypsum quarried from Spain which is unloaded by boat and trucked to the stockpile.

The Knauf product range that ultimately rolls of what is one of the fastest production lines in Europe is of a breadth that will satisfy the drylining requirements of any tradesmen. Whether it’s a standard Wallboard, or high performance products for greater fire, moisture, sound and impact results, each is colour-coded at the factory for ease of recognition.

Since 1993 the plant has also produced gypsum plaster and jointing solutions. Add to that the comprehensive selection of compounds, fixings, plasterboard adhesive and metal systems within the same stable, and this is one manufacturer that can command a complete solution.

Knauf Supports Walking with the Wounded

The Sittingbourne production site was also the scene for the announcement of Walking with Wounded as Knauf’s 2017 charity partner. As a result employees will be stepping out with Walking with Wounded beneficiaries in events that include the Cumbrian Challenge 2017 and the Windsor Half Marathon, raising money for this very worthy cause in the process.

Founded in 2010, Walking with the Wounded is on a mission to support all armed forces veterans with physical, mental or social injury to gain the skills and qualifications necessary to develop new careers outside the military.

In addition to the fundraising exploits of its employees, in the months ahead Knauf is hoping to see former military personnel re-skill through either its Sittingbourne or Immingham training facilities, where the manufacturer already offers courses on all of its drywall systems and plaster products.

For details of the charity’s work and events, and how to get involved, click here.

For further information on the range of plasterboard and plasters from Knauf click here.

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