Blog : Industry 4.0 and personalised paint production comes to Dulux Australia.

Dulux Industry 4.0 Factory

DuluxGroup required end-to-end automation at their new Greenfield site in Melbourne—the latest in world-class paint-making technology.

Prefer to read offline? Download the case study here

Dulux Industry 4.0 Case Study

After the Brisbane floods in 2011, DuluxGroup decided to relocate the majority of its water-based manufacturing from the existing factory at Rocklea in Brisbane to Mickleham, Victoria.

Located in Merrifield Business Park in Melbourne’s north, the AUD$165M new manufacturing facility is 22,600m2 in size—around the size of the Melbourne Cricket Ground playing area-—and is the largest coatings factory in Australia and New Zealand.

It is intended that Merrifield will provide the Dulux paint business for decades to come.

DuluxGroup wanted to produce more advanced paint products using evolving technology in resins with even greater levels of quality and consistency. They were looking for a solution to help them to step into the next generation of paint technology and innovation.

The results are proof of Foodmach’s ability to apply its experience and design principles to any industry.

The Challenge

Paint manufacture is traditionally labour-intensive. There were approximately 75,000 touches of raw materials per annum at the old Rocklea site.

In addition, paint is batch-made rather than continuously produced, so there are 150 recipes (and growing) to be accommodated involving 150+ raw materials and up to 1200 SKUs (individual products). The new high-volume plant needed to package product in varying sized steel and plastic containers ranging from 1L-15L.

Foodmach’s role at Merrifield included:

  • filling line integration
  • design and manufacture of depalletising, conveying and robotic orientation systems
  • development of a line control system to link all Foodmach and OEM equipment.

The Solution

A highly-automated plant with state of the art control systems, designed to meet future growth expectations for years to come. 

The new factory has 5 fully-automated filling and production lines: three high-velocity and a blend and tint plant with two smaller lines. It has a total capacity of 50M–70M litres (spring capacity) per year.

The plant is operated by 60 staff on two shifts over five days—newly-appointed staff with no specialisation or paint manufacturing expertise.

Foodmach supplied all the depalletising, conveying systems, robotic orientation, AGV and laser coding/labelling systems, integrating our equipment with equipment purchased from international OEMs, and provided an over-arching line control system able to handle all the challenges of batch paint production, now and into the future.

Kevin Worrell, Project Director of DuluxGroup: ‘This is considered currently one of the top five Industry 4.0 batch plants in the world at the moment… we couldn’t achieve what we needed to achieve if we didn’t go down that (Industry 4.0) path.’ 

‘We think that we’ve got the best solution that we possibly could have got, for the best price, for our new facility.’



200 different raw materials are used, with the vast majority automatically added. Raw material ‘touches’ are reduced from 40,000 plus at the old plant to 1,000 at the new site.


Minimum batch sizes are 1/50th (0.02%) of the old plant’s requirements, allowing production down to a single pallet load.

The plant runs 1400 SKUs from 300-400 recipes. Operators can add new SKUs within minutes without needing assistance from engineering.


The interlocking and checks along the line ensure the right product is in the right can on the right pallet.


Production time per batch has reduced by 7/8ths (87.5%). This is driven by the high levels of automation of the Foodmach packaging lines and the fast changeover philosophies applied.

These benefits combine to provide more line production uptime, cost reduction, product quality improvement and waste minimisation through correct batch sizing and 100% filling accuracy.

Energy Efficiency

The plant is 25% more energy efficient than expected for the design, achieved within three months of commencing operation. The use of the latest low energy drives on the filling lines is a contributing factor. 


The high levels of automation have significantly reduced operator exposure to hazardous activities and materials.

The entire operation meets Australian and International safety standards.

Supply Chain Digitisation

The flexibility and reliability of the plant has allowed Dulux to link it directly to their supply chain. Rather than having to forecast demand months in advance and build significant stock, Dulux can

produce quickly to customers orders, avoiding stock outs and reduce working capital.


Kevin Worrell: ‘We had no idea what we were looking for in a solution. All we knew is that we needed to allow for the future. And it was a long, drawn out process of developing what we needed; what we could take from the past—which we knew wasn’t suitable—but adapt to the future.’

‘I think that we had an opportunity to really start with blank palette. It takes a brave organisation to first of all be able to jump in and do that, and I mean both at a client side and a supplier side, because the risks are extraordinary. So there was a level of trust that had to be formulated between all the different team players.’ 

The DuluxGroup planning team took their inspiration from the food and dairy industry, and considered how they could adapt current best practice to their operations. They invited key FMCG/dairy integration suppliers to tender on their project.

Technical Sales Manager for Foodmach: ‘The Merrifield project took many years of collaboration—they first contacted us in August 2011.’ 

‘Working with a range of suppliers in a cohesive team saw the first of the lines realised in the latter half of 2017 with the remainder fully installed in early 2018.’

‘It was six-year sales process with nine in-depth quotes.’   

Foodmach was awarded the role of integration supplier for the project on the basis of:

  • quick response times and flexibility
  • good staff numbers
  • local support and presence in main cities
  • good references
  • FMCG material movement experience
  • successful completion of multiple large projects
  • factory relocation/reintegration experience
  • end-to-end in-house manufacturing, mechanical, engineering, electrical, programming and safety skills

Kevin Worrell: 'We’d looked overseas, but we couldn’t come up with the solution in the market for what Foodmach has given us.’

Industry 4.0

Foodmach specialises in systems integration, and has nurtured deep in-house expertise in information-driven manufacturing, be it IoT, IIoT, M2M or Industry 4.0, using industry standards such as OMAC PackML.

This enables the delivery of turnkey installations to uniformly high standards with optimal efficiency. Our projects are optimised for Industry 4.0 connectivity.

Kevin Worrell: ‘… to be able to integrate with overseas equipment, and combine all that together to make a whole line work as one is really quite remarkable, given the different programming methods, all sorts of different things… (it has) been a fantastic outcome.’

'Industry 4.0 is the future. Foodmach are right at the cutting edge... a great partner to take you on that journey.’ Kevin Worrell, Dulux

Return on Investment

'It’s hard to justify as an investment when you’re doing it up front,” Kevin explains, “but now we’re doing it, we’re seeing advantages… getting it right first time, no wrong batches going through, all this sort of stuff... little things that we’ve got so much control over now.’

‘Savings—savings in waste we didn’t even know we had. Savings in right metrics of filling that we didn’t know we didn’t have.’

‘It’s allowed us to eliminate a lot of physical labour, it’s allowed us to give metrics feedback data—data mining that allows us to improve on our recipes... what we’re mining out of our recipes now is allowing us to refine them to get more accurate, giving our customers a better product... it will allow our quality control focus to shift. Instead of being at the back end looking after what we’ve manufactured, it’ll be at the front end, looking at raw materials coming into the plant.'

Key Perfomance Indicators

Kevin Worrell: ‘The best key metric and KPI for this project is that we did it on time and budget... the flexibility of the plant… 150+ raw materials that are handled without manual intervention... 300 recipes we can change if we need to. The filling lines can handle about 1200 SKUs… just consider...we’ve got 15L containers metal, we’ve got 15L containers plastic, we’ve got 1L containers, and we’ve got everything in between. That’s what this can do. And that’s pretty damn good.’


The Dulux brand’s core purpose is to help customers ‘Imagine a better place’.

Kevin Worrell: ‘Dulux put together an app for smart phones, where you take a photograph of a wall, then a photograph of a colour and it paints the wall in that colour… we imagined you could take it to the next step and just press a button on your phone, which places the order for the right amount of paint. It goes straight into the plant schedule, which manufactures it (whatever time, day or night), it’s palletised up and it’s delivered to your home or to the nearest hardware store.’

‘Well, that’s all in the future—and our marketers can sort out the apps—but our plant is now capable of doing that. Industry 4.0 does open up all these possibilities that we never saw before.’


About Dulux

The Dulux name is synonymous with quality and innovation.

Its heritage in Australia dates back to 1918. Dulux is consistently voted one of the most trusted brands in Australia overall—across any product category.

DuluxGroup’s brand portfolio includes Dulux, Selleys, Yates, Cabot’s, British Paints and Berger. The Group’s focus is innovation and new product development.

Interested in knowing what's involved in getting your factory up to speed with Industry 4.0?

Just ask us