A LEADING toilet roll manufacturer has completed a two-year £5m investment plan increasing production by 30 per cent.

Star Tissue UK, based on the newly named Waterfall Street and off Staincliffe Street in Mill Hill Blackburn, unveiled a new 70,000 square foot warehouse this month. The warehouse, which saw a large area of the complex rebuilt and renovated, will mean the site has expanded to more than 160,000 square feet.

The company also announced their new production line, which cost more than £2.5m and will produce 800 rolls a minute, will be up and running by November. The company said the investment plan began back in 2018 and will mean production increases to 2,000 toilet rolls a minute.

The company was established by the late Allah Ditta who started to sell toilet rolls to market traders in the 1980s, which grew to become a multi-million pound business now run by his sons, Abid Ditta, Sajid Saifullah, and Khalid Saifullah.

Khalid Saifullah, managing director said: “Installation of the machine was delayed due to the lockdown and we hope to be up and running earlier.

“This was a very large investment and we have been working with the machine manufacturers in Serbia and Italy for two years. That relationship is so strong that it actually led to the Italian company purchasing the Serbian company so they are now working as one business.

“We have been analysing every aspect of the machine with them, from unwinding the paper, to making the toilet rolls, to packaging them and palletizing them.

“This new machine will allow us to make 800 toilet rolls a minute more than we do already, so it is adding to our capacity by about 30 per cent. It also offers some innovative packaging opportunities, including going plastic free, so we can offer more environmentally sustainable packaging for our customers who require that.

“We are already looking at further automation in our warehouse and logistics operation, so we can dispatch products to customers a lot faster. This includes automated guided vehicles for example, and shuttles, and supplying real-time information to customers.”

The company specialises in the production of hygiene paper products for the food, leisure, hospitality, office, industry and medical sectors. 

As well as toilet rolls they manufacture medical rolls, roll towels, wiping rolls, centrefeed rolls and other specialised cleaning system products.  Their products are mainly used in businesses across UK and Ireland so the lockdown impacted them adversely as most of these sectors were locked down. 

The company had seen a slight surge in demand when schools, offices and businesses reopened. But this was short-lived as the UK heads towards more restrictions.

A former chairman of the Blackburn Hive, Khalid says he is proud of how businesses big and small in Blackburn continue to innovate and adapt in what are testing times.

He said: “Blackburn has changed remarkably in the past 20 years and we have some wonderful entrepreneurs that are helping to create jobs and sustain growth. It is not easy. But I have great belief that we will come through this together if maintain this level of innovation.

“We would like to thank local companies Lancashire Steel Buildings, Wade Contractors, Electec, Ward Dynamics and Alert Fire Security in assisting us in completing the project.”