Ardagh Group to convert beverage cans from steel to aluminium

By Jenny Eagle

- Last updated on GMT

Ardagh Group to convert cans from steel to aluminium. Picture: Ardagh.
Ardagh Group to convert cans from steel to aluminium. Picture: Ardagh.

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Ardagh Group will convert its beverage can production in Rugby, UK, from steel to aluminium next year.

The project, in response to partnership agreements with some of the most well-established beverage brands in the world, will start in Q4 2017 and expects to be completed in Q1 2018.

Continued operations

Oliver Graham, CEO, Ardagh Metal Beverage, said processing machinery within the plant is currently being optimized in conjunction with its plant in Wrexham and other locations across Europe to continue operations during the plant’s downtime.

Ardagh continues to have one plant in Weissenthurm, Germany, that still produces steel cans.

He said the investment signals a clear intent from Ardagh Group in the continued development of its recently acquired beverage​ can business.

Ardagh Group announced it will expand into the beverage can market by acquiring ‘certain metal manufacturing assets and support locations’ from Ball Corporation and Rexam for $3.42bn last year.

The company acquired 10 beverage can manufacturing plants and two end plants in Europe, seven beverage can manufacturing plants and one end plant in the US, two beverage can manufacturing plants in Brazil and innovation and support functions in Germany, the UK, Switzerland and the US.

Circular economy

We look at this conversion as a key move in furthering Ardagh’s overall footprint and are confident it will be welcomed by our customers, the Rugby plant and our other key stakeholders​,” said Graham.

The Rugby UK plant was first established in 1989 as a two-line aluminium plant. In 1996, the plant was converted to steel to support customer needs at that time. 

Metal is a permanent material meaning it can be infinitely recycled without loss of quality. 

Graham added, it has the strongest recycling rates of all packaging materials in Europe, contributing to the fundamental principles of a circular economy.

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