Coca-Cola HBC invests in new canning line

Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Co (Coca-Cola HBC), one of the world’s largest Coke bottlers covering a region from Ireland to Russia, has invested more than £9 million (US$11.6m) in a second can filling line at a plant in Lisburn, Northern Ireland.

The 50,000sqm plant at Knockmore Hill serves the whole Irish market and is supplied with cans from Ardagh and Canpack.

The new canning line, supplied by KHS, became operational in December 2019 and is capable of filling 45,000cph. At maximum capacity, the line is capable of producing 200,000 cases per week, or 4.8m cans per year.

The new line will support increased demand for canned drinks and will facilitate the filling of 330ml sleek cans, which are being introduced by Coca-Cola HBC in response to consumer needs for a more premium pack. The sleek can launch marks the most significant change in Coca-Cola’s can offering for more than 70 years and is a first for the soft drinks industry in Ireland and Northern Ireland. Ireland will be among the first markets in Europe to launch the new can.

Marcel Martin, group supply chain director said: “It’s the ten-year anniversary since the official opening of Knockmore Hill and the launch of this second canning line is the most significant upgrade of the plant since the initial £93m ($120m) investment.

“As I reflect back on the last ten years, I’m proud to say that this business unit has not only achieved outstanding commercial success, it has grown responsibly – playing a value-adding role in the communities it serves. Coca-Cola HBC Ireland and Northern Ireland continues to invest in its people and proudly shows leadership in sustainability.

“Northern Ireland is a great place to do business and this investment in Knockmore Hill will hopefully serve to demonstrate our continued commitment to providing employment and delivering economic value across the region for generations to come.”

The Knockmore Hill site is also understood to be reducing reliance on external sourcing from other Coca-Cola HBC facilities across Europe by bringing the production of many of the Monster Energy products in-house. The introduction of the sleek cans will also help the Coca-Cola Company’s global ‘World Without Waste’ programme by enabling the transition to cardboard for multipacks, which will eliminate 620 tonnes of shrink film per year.