Acrylic sheet manufacturer invests £30m in new facility, safeguards 250 jobs

A leading manufacturer of acrylic sheets and composites is to invest more than £30m in a cutting-edge production plant and research and development centre, safeguarding at least 250 jobs in the process.

Perspex International Ltd will create the new facility at its existing Chapels Park site in Darwen, Lancashire.

The investment by Perspex International’s Swiss owners, 3A Composites, will help make the production of the firm’s world-famous clear and coloured acrylic sheets energy-efficient and environmentally friendly.

Speaking to the Lancashire Telegraph, Bryan Welch said, Operations Director at Perspex International, said: “Everyone here is delighted at this investment in excess of £30m. We are talking about cutting-edge technology.

“This will secure the future of the 250 staff at our three plants at Chapels Park, Orchard Mill in Darwen and Walker Park in Blackburn.

“The new investment is good for the company, good for Darwen, good for our workforce and good for the planet.”

Construction of the production plant, as well as new offices and the R&D centre, will commence in 2022 and is due to be completed by December 2023.

Perspex International manufactures its acrylic sheets under the brand names PERSPEX for clear and colourful sheets and ASTERITE for sanitaryware sheets.

The new production facility will significantly improve the firm’s water and energy consumption and enable the manufacture of sheets from 100 per cent recycled materials to meet the demand for sustainable products. It will also help expand the range of products Perspex produces at its Chapels Park location.

Perspex International has a history of manufacturing Perspex that goes back to 1940 when the firm was part of British chemical giant Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI). Strong yet lightweight, Perspex acrylic was used for Spitfire cockpits.

In more recent times, Perspex International was owned by INEOS Acrylics and Lucite International before being acquired in 2019 by 3A Composites in, an independent division of Swiss-based Schweiter Technologies AG.

Mr Welch added: “Investing into a future-oriented production site marks a further milestone in the history of the well-known Perspex brand. The building of the new plant is part of an extensive investment programme within the 3A Composites Group.”