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Nov 22

Expansion Continues at Cardboard Packaging Park in Cheshire


Our longstanding relationship with paper and packaging producer, Progroup continues as the firm has re-appointed us to deliver a second extension at its only UK-based factory.  

At the 47-acre Ellesmore Port site in Cheshire, Progroup has created a new packaging park. In 2019, the firm opened its first mega-corrugated sheetboard plant with an annual capacity of 235,000 tonnes and working speeds of up 400m per minute. This proved so successful that Progroup took the decision to expand, primarily to enable one of their suppliers, Krystals to relocate to the park. Our team undertook architecture, lead design and landscape services to facilitate this initial extension, which was completed in 2020.

Senior architectural technologist and the lead designer for this project, Nick Stables said: “The intention for the original extension was to connect the production and IT systems of Progroup and Krystals with a complex conveyor system to improve overall efficiency and reduce carbon emissions. Our design featured a state-of-the-art facility with optimised racking storage systems and a specialist transport bridge to achieve this.”

The success of this first linked expansion, which Progroup estimated saved circa 1,800 truck journeys in 2021 alone, means the factory is already at full capacity.

Nick continues: “For the second extension, which will also be occupied by Krystals, our design brief was to increase overall storage capacity. A further 14 structural bays will be created alongside hundreds of metres of automated conveyer processing to ensure a continual link with both Progroup and Krystals’ existing facilities. Finally, there is an allowance for approximately 150m² office and ancillary accommodation, together with expansion of the site’s HGV lorry park to provide over 40 new parking bays.”

Commenting on what this means for Race Cottam, our managing director David Speddings said: “This re-appointment is very welcome news. It strengthens our existing partnership with Progroup and reinforces our ability to deliver specialist industrial architecture at significant scale, thereby ensuring the UK remains at the forefront of world-class manufacturing.

“These latest conveyor systems have not only had to be precision-aligned with their existing counterparts and supporting infrastructure, but also accurately set out for fire shutters, waste pits, transfer rails and waste extraction equipment that this state-of-the-art machinery requires. With construction now underway after an amendment application was approved earlier this year, we anticipate completion by the end of 2022.”

To discover similar facilities we are currently designing at sites in Rotherham, Hull and along the East Coast, view our industrial profile here.