The Saint-Gobain Weber render manufacturing plant at Ballyclare in Northern Ireland celebrates forty years of increasing production of styrene acrylic pastes and scratch textured products since the plant was opened in 1972. Originally established by the Eglinton Limestone Company due to the proximity of the local Glenarm quarry – with the hardest limestone deposits in the UK – and the location best suited to serve the markets of Ireland and Scotland which were already favouring render finishes.
Eglinton moved further ahead in 1979 with the installation of the first powder- blending line to produce scratch textured products to add to its render market offer. At that time there were no other companies in Ireland or Scotland capable of manufacturing dry pre-bagged renders. Eglinton was the clear market leaders. Another first was recorded in 1986 with the introduction of the External Wall Insulation (EWI) and render system. One of the first applications was carried out in Greenock, Scotland and sales offices newly established across the UK drove sales to 300,000m² per annum.
Regular investment has been the hallmark of the Ballyclare facility to increase manufacturing capacity and to expand the range of products available. A second powders line was installed in 1993 and in 1997 the Snowcem business was acquired and production moved to the more modern plant in Ballyclare where a further £600,000 plant upgrade took place and staff numbers increased by 20%.
In 1998 the operations were acquired by Weber, part of the global Saint-Gobain organisation and world leader in the habitat and construction markets, to secure the Snowcem Cemrend brand which by that time was the market leading monocouche product in the UK. Further investment in a new packing line raised production capacity to 80,000 tonnes per year in 2004 and the continuous growth in the EWI and renders market is today projecting a 10% annual growth for the high quality products from Ballyclare. Saint-Gobain Weber opened an additional UK production base at Telford, Shropshire in Autumn 2008. Plans are already being implemented that will increase capacity of the styrene acrylic production line in 2012.
Dave McKinstry has been at the Ballyclare facility since 1978 and is now responsible for the product research and development, but has experience in every facet of the plant operations. “When I started our headcount was in single figures and now we employ a team of over 30. Our customers are spread right across the UK and Ireland and we have many long-standing commercial relationships. We continue to grow our presence in the construction market even though the industry is going through a tough period. I saw the EWI system in Germany in the mid-1980s and brought the method back to the UK and we have refined it over the years to be the highly successful product it is now. It’s a great solution to the energy crisis. In the same way whenever a new insulant has been introduced we have had to develop a render product that mates with it. As an indicator of how far the product range has grown our first colour card for renders had just 20 colours on offer. Now the list is close to 350 and of course architects want to request any of the 2000 colours in the NCS system. For sufficient volume we can and do mix up any colour from that range.”
Further information is available from Saint-Gobain Weber on 028 9335 2999 in NI, or visit www.netweber.co.uk <http://www.netweber.co.uk/> and register to receive a copy of the Render Solutions Handbook. Alternatively a free download of the new weber.app for iPhone and iPad users is available from the iTunes app store.
Saint-Gobain Weber West Hall, Gt Braxted
0115 945 1936 Essex CM8 3EP
Tel: 01621 89 1200
Fax: 01621 89 3546
Saint-Gobain, the world leader in the habitat and construction markets, designs, manufactures and distributes building materials, providing innovative solutions to the challenges of growth, energy efficiency and environmental protection. With 2011 sales of €42.1 billion, Saint-Gobain operates in 64 countries and has around 195,000 employees.
In the UK and Ireland, some of the best known and respected companies in the construction industry are part of Saint-Gobain. Alongside Saint-Gobain Weber these include British Gypsum, Isover, Solaglas, Saint-Gobain Glass, Saint-Gobain PAM, Pasquill, Ecophon and Saint-Gobain Solar. Together they offer a range of high performance energy-saving products and solutions to help create a more sustainable built environment.
For more information on Saint-Gobain visit www.saint-gobain.co.uk