Thursday, June 20, 2024

Unilever Australia invests $9.5 million in facility to produce Australia-first laundry capsule

Unilever is the first manufacturer in Australia to produce laundry capsules at its North Rocks facility, according to the company. To support production of this complex format, Unilever has invested $9.5 million (AUD) to modernise the Western Sydney-based facility, making it one of only three Unilever factories in the world currently making laundry capsules.

The multi-million investment has supported the installation of new state-of-the-art processing and packaging machinery, complimenting previous investments in technology at the plant, including cobots and laser guided vehicles (LGVs). Nine new full-time employees have been employed to support the expanded operations and over 20 local businesses are supplying the raw materials and packaging required to make the capsules.

Unilever’s factory director at North Rocks, Andrew Devlin says recent times have reinforced how important a strong, sovereign manufacturing industry is for Australia.

“Unilever has been operating in North Rocks for more than 50 years. With unprecedented supply chain pressures, investing in our local facilities and people has never been more important to ensure we remain future-fit and capable of delivering some of Australia’s favourite laundry brands – Omo and Surf – which are used by over three million households across the country,” Mr Devlin said.

“With new technology and processes, comes the need for new skills. We’ve worked hard as a team to build future fit capabilities so we can lead innovation locally and ensure Australians have access to the best products on the market.”

Unilever Australia and New Zealand Head of Homecare Lorna Ash says while laundry might be a chore or an afterthought for many, it’s a growing category with huge potential.

“Homecare products now account for nearly $700 million sales per year in Australia. While laundry capsules are a relatively new format in Australia, demand is growing rapidly at 57 per cent in the last year*. On-shoring production has given us flexibility to tailor the capsules to suit Australian preferences, driving further adoption and future-proofing our legacy in Australia for years to come,” Ms Ash said.

­­The new capsule format is growing in popularity because it “achieves a more powerful wash by combining different enzymes which previously could not be combined in liquid or powder formats. They’re also hassle-free to use – they can be tossed straight in the washing machine with no need for measuring or mess.”

Capsules are also sustainable. “They’re the most concentrated laundry format available, using 80% less water in production and weighing a quarter of a typical 2 litre laundry liquid bottle, making them more efficient to transport. The capsules are in a biodegradable film which dissolves faster and can be used in in a cold, quick wash, helping to save the water and electricity needed to run the washing machine. The capsule packaging is made with mono-material PE material which provides future opportunities for recycling.”

“This is all part of our Clean Future strategy to fundamentally change the way our cleaning and laundry products are created, manufactured and packaged, ensuring they are kinder to the planet and more convenient, while still delivering the same unbeatable results,” Ms Ash said.

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