With doom and gloom reported daily by news outlets around the world, I enjoy coming into work and hearing the success stories of the food and drink trade – be it increased profits and expansion, well received product launches or anniversary celebrations. With this in mind, I was delighted to be invited to Ardagh Group’s Sutton, Forest Works site in Nottingham, UK earlier this month, where an event was being held to commemorate 100 years of manufacturing and the formal opening of the site’s new factory extension.
Since 1914, metal packaging solutions have been manufactured at the Sutton-in-Ashfield site, originally for the production of printed fancy metal boxes or decorative containers such as tea caddies, biscuit tins and Coleman’s mustard tins. The high volume production of 400g food cans started in 1978 using DWI cans, making the facility the first in Europe to produce cans of this type, with the thinnest part of the can wall being thinner than a human hair. The production of DWI food cans has continued to grow, now producing nearly 800 million cans a year in Sutton alone.
Today, around 200 employees at the Sutton site produce food cans 24/7 for many well known brands such as H. J. Heinz and Baxters Food Group. Senior executives from Ardagh’s metal division, key employees past and present, the architect, building contractors, the landlord and previous owners of the business were invited to the site to celebrate the occasion with a lunch, factory tour, company presentation and the unveiling of the 100th year plaque.
The company says, “The centenary is obviously a special occasion for any business, but for Sutton it is particularly satisfying that it coincides with a major refurbishment of the facility, creating a flagship plant that truly reflects the expertise and professionalism of all who work there today and the pioneers in the past.”
It was lovely to be part of such a momentous day for Ardagh Group.