Manufacturing site investment marks next step in £18.5m scheme

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Last year concrete roof tile manufacturer Russell Roof Tiles announced £18.5m investment in expansion, doubling output at its 9-acre Burton on Trent site. The project has just reached a major milestone, installing state-of-the-art equipment to support the firm’s Net Zero ambitions.

Russell Roof Tiles is a leading independent pitched roof tile manufacturer supplying products for top housebuilders and high-profile social housing and commercial projects, producing thousands of concrete roof tiles and accessories tiles every week used on roofs across the country.

The major milestone is the installation of new state of the art Skako Concrete ‘High Silo’ batching plant, complete with AM2250 planetary mixer to facilitate increased concrete roof tile production.

The firm employs 150 over three sites, two in Burton and one in Lochmaben (Scotland) and the company is already the leading independent supplier of concrete derivatives for the UK pitched roofing market.

This £18.5 expansion will help Russell Roof Tiles meet increasing demand for its products to meet the UK’s housing needs and includes a new factory and line.  Construction started in 2023 with the new facilities completed, and product output starting later this year.  The current site will continue to manufacture whilst the major project takes place.

The investment will deliver more manufacturing lines and a new 1600 sq m building which will house a state-of-the-art curing chamber (only the second of its type in the country) for the concrete tiles.  

A new High Silo is being installed and will have increased efficiencies as well as sustainable benefits such as a water reclamation and refiltering system, which allows for recycling of all wash water, including using wash water from the factory.  This will reduce the firm’s use of fresh water, and significantly reduce waste. 

Russell Roof Tiles has been actively seeking ways to reduce its environmental impact, including investing in more energy-efficient equipment, optimising its production processes, and sourcing more sustainable materials as part of its Net Zero pledge,  to ensure the company becomes carbon neutral by 2040, 10 years ahead of the Government’s timeline.

The new batching plant replaces Russell Roof Tiles old and inefficient 1990’s plant and concrete mixer and was designed to meet increased production demand as well as allow for further capacity increases in the future.  The much larger volume system will be able to handle the sand, cement, and pigment needed to feed a new mixing plant and in-turn roof tile production line. 

Bruce Laidlaw, Operations Director at Russell Roof Tiles said: “It is important that we continue to focus on efficiencies and sustainability across this major project, looking at market leading environmental options throughout the new facility. For example, this type of mixer is up to 20 per cent more energy efficient than alternatives available.

He added “Other energy efficiencies include using gravity to feed sand into the mixer below.  Over time this saves a huge amount of energy moving sand.  The Skako Concrete solution of holding such amount of sand above the mixer has allowed for the footprint to be compressed and thus install the full equipment within a much smaller area.”

Gareth Hulcup, SKAKO Concrete Sales Manager for the UK and Irish markets said: “The installation of the new batching plant has been the culmination of many months of meticulous planning by all stakeholders to ensure seamless integration of the new plant on site.

“We would like to thank Russell Roof Tiles for the opportunity to provide our solutions for the redevelopment of the site at Burton and contribute to their Net Zero pledge”.

The whole project is a multi-national co-ordination of supply partners from Sweden, Denmark, Germany and British suppliers and is funded by the business and will create approx. 25-30 skilled and semi-skilled jobs in engineering and maintenance.