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Sustainability

Tatra Rotalac undergoes huge factory transformation

Overview:

Tatra Rotalac was formed in August 2016 through the merger of Tatra Plastics Manufacturing and Rotalac Plastics.

The company specialises in the manufacture of plastic extrusions and injection moulding, supplying products to customers in a wide range of sectors globally.

The challenge:

Specialist plastics manufacturer, Tatra Rotalac, is going through a significant transformation of its factory in Manchester that is pushing energy efficiency to its limits and creating jobs in the process.

Tatra Rotalac manufactures a wide range of goods from roller shutters to specialist plastic mouldings and extrusions.

It has been experiencing strong growth since the Manchester site was acquired by an AIM-listed plc in 2016 and the integration of its sister company, Tatra Plastics Manufacturing.

As part of its transformation, production capacity has been transferred from a sister site in Halifax and warehouse space is being increased by 50 per cent.

The relocating and installing of new machinery has had a significant knock-on effect to the site’s energy demand, meaning that measures needed to be taken to increase energy efficiency, wherever possible, to stay within local network electricity capacity constraints.

By making the right investments, Tatra Rotalac aims to considerably reduce the energy intensity of its Manchester operations, enabling it to focus on plans to develop further products in a number of its key market sectors. In the process, its actions will also translate into cost savings on the bottom line and a lower carbon footprint.

 

The solution:

To help manage this complex process and identify the most suitable measures, the company has been receiving support from one of the Hub’s capital projects specialists, Paul Cooper.

As Paul explains: “One of Tatra Rotalac’s first actions was to upgrade and replace its old air compressors with more efficient variable speed drive systems.

The company also urgently needed to double the lighting levels in the factory, which risked more energy load on the system, particularly given that the factory operates through the night.”

To maximise efficiency, the company used the Hub’s Low Carbon Network − the online home for low carbon and environmental goods and services in Greater Manchester − to find a supplier of high efficiency LEDs that could match their needs.

Wigan-based Perfect Sense Energy was brought in to design a bespoke lighting system that has reduced annual energy costs by over £10,000, as well as creating a much better working environment for employees. The upgrade is projected to pay for itself in 18 months.

Paul adds: “The next action was to upgrade its warm air heating to a more efficient system, which will save a further £2,000 a year.”

Andrew Wall, managing director at Tatra Rotalac, said: “Thanks to the support we have a far greater understanding of our ability to meet increased production demands going forward.

“It’s also enabled us to overcome infrastructure barriers that prevented us from pushing forward with our plans to develop and bring to market new and innovative products.

“The subsequent increased capacity with potential for new products to be delivered has given us the confidence to recruit twelve new fulltime employees, with more on the horizon.

“The support we’ve received has been integral to this success, and we look forward to continuing our work together on this ongoing transformation of our business.”

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