Coca-Cola Europacific Partners (CCEP) has announced a £31 million investment at its Wakefield manufacturing site, which is said to be the largest soft drinks plant by volume in Europe.
The investment will help develop a state-of-the-art canning line, which is set to be operational in 2024, capable of producing 2,000 cans per minute. The new line will handle CCEP’s 330ml lightweight cans, incorporating technology to reduce energy, water and CO2 consumption.
According to the company, energy and water savings will come from features like air rinsing, dry lubrication on conveyors and an auto-sleep function on motors. The expansion will not only create 28 new roles but also provide training to enhance the skills of the existing 500-strong workforce at the site.
The funding will be used for infrastructure upgrades aimed at enhancing the factory for production and future innovations. This involves building a new raw materials storage warehouse, plus additional utilities storage and the expansion of existing facilities. Additionally, the funds support the recent implementation of attached cap production capabilities into two lines at the site, enabling easier recycling of the entire plastic bottle with no cap remaining.
In addition, CCEP said that the Wakefield site is working on bringing more diversity into the business’ supply chain, aligning with the company’s ‘Everyone is Welcome’ ethos. The initiative includes encouraging women and individuals who have not previously considered manufacturing careers.
Multiple vacancies, including roles for the new line at the Wakefield site, are open to those with limited or no manufacturing experience.
Vanessa Smith, director of supply chain operations at CCEP, said: “We’re committed to developing our sites to keep at the forefront of innovation, ensuring we can continue to deliver drinks to our customers and to consumers in a sustainable way. This latest investment underscores our commitment to our Wakefield site and the 500 colleagues who work here, from our apprentices to our longest-serving employees.”
“As well as innovating our production capabilities, we’re committed to recruiting more diversely to reflect the communities we operate in, including bringing on more women and others into manufacturing, logistics and distribution roles. We’re shifting hiring processes to focus on skills and aptitude rather than just historical qualifications, for example, and are offering more flexible working options to better suit a range of lifestyles.”
Stephen Moorhouse, VP and general manager at CCEP GB, commented: “The latest development at Wakefield is a milestone investment that will allow us to take the next step in our sustainability journey while making positive contributions to our local community here in Wakefield”.
“Wakefield is our largest manufacturing site, offering a wide range of modern manufacturing jobs and sitting at the heart of many of the latest manufacturing technologies. As a result, in just five years, we’ve invested more than £100 million into the factory, helping us to accelerate our path to net zero and support the local economy.”
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