Work starts on £35m Ulster Carpets plan

Chairman of Ulster Carpet Mills, Mr Edward Wilson, operates the digger to cut the first sod for the construction of a new Dye house. Also included are from left, Peter McGuckin, architecht, Robert Mackey contractor, Norman Wilson and Raymond McKeown, Dyehouse Project Team, Billy McCombe, site foreman and Colin Hyndes, Dyehouse Project Team. INPT37-205.

Chairman of Ulster Carpet Mills, Mr Edward Wilson, operates the digger to cut the first sod for the construction of a new Dye house. Also included are from left, Peter McGuckin, architecht, Robert Mackey contractor, Norman Wilson and Raymond McKeown, Dyehouse Project Team, Billy McCombe, site foreman and Colin Hyndes, Dyehouse Project Team. INPT37-205.

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Work has begun on the construction of a new dyehouse and energy centre at Ulster Carpets, part of a £35 million modernisation plan for the Garvaghy Road site.

On Tuesday, chairman Edward Wilson oversaw the breaking of ground for the building’s foundations.

The dyehouse and energy centre, which alone will cost around £10 million, is due for completion at the end of 2016.

Ulster Carpets are a leading worldwide supplier of Axminster and Wilton carpets and the new, state-of–the-art dyeing technology will improve the company’s capacity by more than 20 per cent.

It will also increase the efficiency of the process, providing faster response times and maximising control.

With its own dedicated steam production plant and advanced heat recovery system, the centre will be able to match supply to demand, leading to a significant reduction in the environmental impact of the process.

Said Mr Wilson, “This is the first phase of a major regeneration of all our operation facilities in Portadown. I am delighted to take the first step of this very exciting period of the company’s ongoing development.”

Future phases will include the adoption of new weaving and finishing technology to meet the demands of growth.

Managing director Nick Coburn said, “This investment programme signifies yet another considerable commitment to continued Northern Ireland manufacturing as the company grows and progresses.

“Here at Ulster Carpets we have seen sustained demand for our products around the world and also expansion into new export markets.

“To keep up with this demand, we recently boosted our permanent employment level, underpinning our commitment to the local community.”

Last year the firm celebrated its 75th anniversary.