Ardagh Group has opened a £15 million furnace at its Irvine plant in Scotland, UK.

The new facility was officially opened by Scotland’s First Minister, Rt Hon Nicola Sturgeon MSP. The investment, supported by a grant from Scottish Enterprise’s Aid for Environmental Protection Scheme, secures the future of the 225-strong workforce.

The new furnace will enable the plant to produce bottles primarily for the Scottish drinks industry.

The flint furnace has been designed to increase production flexibility and uses environmentally efficient end-fired technology, together with the latest inspection equipment.

Graeme Shepherd, Director of Operations, Irvine, Ardagh Glass, UK, said: “The Irvine plant is well regarded within the Ardagh Group for the quality of its output, the calibre of our management and workforce and the professionalism of our customer service, supported by on-going investment in technology and systems.”

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “I am delighted to visit Ardagh Glass to officially open their new furnace. This is evidence of the company’s continued investment in its Irvine site, which is something to be commended.

“I also welcome the news that Ardagh Glass has made a commitment to the Scottish Business Pledge, making them one of first companies in the spirits supply chain to do so.”

The Irvine facility is part of a £500 million investment by Ardagh in the glass business over the past five years to ensure the efficient design, production and delivery of products. The Irvine plant began production in 1920 as Portland Glass.

Pictured: Graeme Shepherd, Director of Operations, Irvine, Ardagh Group, Glass, UK with (centre) Ross Aiston, Batch and Furnace Manager, Ardagh Group, Glass, Irvine and First Minister Rt Hon Nicola Sturgeon.