Kingspan Insulation has announced the opening of its insulation manufacturing facility at Somerton in Melbourne. The $40 million factory is the first Green Star-rated manufacturing facility in Australia, aiming to support production entirely through renewable energy.
With the opening of the Melbourne plant, Kingspan will not only be able to supply products to Australia, but it will also be exporting throughout the Asia Pacific region with 20 per cent of production already scheduled for export. The company expects this to increase to 35 per cent by 2020.
The factory will be the first in the world to manufacture the company’s fourth-generation Kooltherm insulation, according to Kingspan Group chief executive Gene Murtagh.
Kooltherm is a high performance rigid thermoset phenolic insulation with ultra-low conductivity for roofs, walls and floors. It offers strong thermal and fire performance, and its ultra-thin profile allows more internal floor space to be created due to thinner walls.
“The market for high performance insulation is growing rapidly around the world in response to government policies aimed at making buildings more energy efficient,” he said.
“This facility gives Australia world leading technical capability in a sector experiencing significant sustained domestic and international growth.”
Kingspan’s new facility is also the first Green Star-rated manufacturing facility in Australia.
The 14,000 square metre facility was designed by sustainable architect Tone Wheeler, using sustainably sourced building materials, a 750kW solar system, a rainwater harvesting system and energy renewing ventilators providing double the minimum fresh air requirement.
The facility also utilises Kingspan technology, including a smart lighting system and high performance insulation.
According to Murtagh, Kingspan places a high priority on net zero energy manufacturing and aims to meet the energy needs of its 100-plus factories around the world through renewable energy by 2020. It currently meets 60 per cent of energy requirements.
Located in the City of Hume, where Ford Australia shut down local production in 2016, the plant has already created 26 jobs with another 24 people to be employed in the near future, according to the company.
Jobs include production and warehouse positions and trainee positions in chemical engineering and information technology, as well as support roles in sales, management, operations and administration.