THREE billion envelopes a year will soon be streaming out of a Blackburn factory after a £500,000 investment in state-of-the-art machinery.
Heritage Envelopes, based in Davyfield Road, is stepping up production after securing its 15th envelope making machine.
The firm, which has a turnover of £24million, employs around 130 people and operates 24 hours a day.
It was set up 25 years ago by Tom Sears, who started the business with just one machine and six staff.
His son Mark has now taken the helm as CEO and said talks were taking place to turn the site into a European 'super-plant'.
He said: “Historically it was a family owned business after my father set it up in Darwen in 1986.
"Today our turnover is £24million and by end of 2013, it will exceed £30million.
"We sold it to the biggest group in Europe, Mayer-Kuvert, last October. They took over the GPV Group, which was our parent group.
"Most people understand the Mayer-Kuvert group is number one in Europe, they produce 24billion envelopes a year.
"We had the Davyfield site purpose built in 2000 which cost around £2million. We are now virtually full on that site. The next stage is to extend the site and we are in discussions with the local authorities.
"With the backing of the group and confidence of the management team, we hope to make Heritage a super-plant in Europe. The group is there to financially back us to do it."
Heritage Envelopes supply many of the envelopes processed through the postal system and supply big name stationery retailers including Office Depot.
Giant rolls of paper for the envelopes comes from Finland and the UK.
The company was one of the first in the industry to be certified by The Carbon Trust and attained ISO14001 for environmental management systems.
It also hold both FSC and PEFC certification, manufacturing envelopes using environmentally friendly papers ethically sourced from forest managed sources.
Mr Sears added: "There has been a reduction in envelope consumption in Europe over recent years.
"It has been down to the recession and companies cutting back or going out of business which has had an adverse effect.
"Royal Mail estimates the industry has been on decline five per cent a year.
"Even though its in decline, we have 10 to 12 per cent of the marketplace which still gives us big prospects to win work as the declining market is so big. By the end of 2013, we will be pushing production to three billion envelopes."
Mr Sears anticipates the firm will recruit 25 skilled workers over the next 12 months.
He added: "We have taken on young apprentices so we are making moves forward for the longevity of the business."