The factory was constructed on a greenfield site and is designed to operate a 24 hour, 7-day a week continuous shift system.
The site is approximately 75 acres in size of which approximately 15 acres are under one roof. The main production building is subdivided into a number of distinct areas including; administration, offices, canteen, woodchip handling, chip wash, screen, refining and drying, resin storage, forming and pressing, saw line, board handling, HVHA (High Velocity, Hot Air) ovens, finishing, and storage. The Heat Energy Plant (HEP), which burns bark and fibre to heat oil for use in process equipment, is located beside the main production building. There are also several ancillary buildings located around the site including a security/weighbridge office and a pump house.
Plant facilities include electrostatic precipitator (ESP), settlement ponds (x2), emergency holding tank, fire ponds (containing fire–fighting water), wastewater treatment plant, LPG tanks/bunds, transformers and an ESB substation.
The waste-water treatment plant incorporates a membrane bioreactor system.
The plant is located along the River Shannon at Derryoughter, near Carrick-on-Shannon. The area in which it is situated is rural and attracts a lot of tourists so environmental considerations were to the fore in the design.
The Planning Authority’s decision to grant planning permission was appealed by both local and national groups. Following some refinement of the building design and a formal Oral Hearing, planning permission was granted by An Bord Pleanala.
With over 75,000 of soil moved to convert a drumlin site into a “bowl” and circa 57,000m² of floor under roof, the sheer scale of the development is impressive. Long clear spans were required over key pieces of plant and equipment.