US chocolate manufacturer Hershey has opened a $300m chocolate manufacturing facility in Hershey, Pennsylvania, US, as part of its plan to modernise manufacturing capabilities and ensure cost competitiveness.
The 340,000ft² facility will manufacture Hershey's bars, Hershey's Kisses chocolates, Hershey's syrup and Rolo Candies, among other products.
It features modern manufacturing technology and proprietary candy manufacturing equipment; advanced, automated chocolate syrup production lines; and automated lines that can produce more than 70 million Hershey's Kisses chocolates per day.
The new facility, known as West Hershey, features a fresh almond roasting unit as well as stainless-steel corn syrup and fresh milk silos, with the capacity to hold fresh ingredients.
It is equipped with advanced information technology systems such as automated, real-time diagnostics systems that keep the plant operational 24 hours a day.
Hershey noted that the facility has injected $70m into the Pennsylvania economy and is expected to contribute more than $1bn to the economy over the next five years through supplier contracts, payroll and related spending.
The workforce of the plant include 700 employees who have shifted from the original Hershey plant on East Chocolate Avenue - the company's oldest facility, which was established in 1905 and was closed in April 2012.
Work on the new plant began in September 2010 and was completed earlier in 2012.
The company said that it was a Zero Waste to Landfill (ZWL) construction project and the plant will continue to function as a ZWL facility.
This project is part of Hershey's Project Next Century - a programme aimed at modernising and upgrading the company's global supply chain and ensuring a competitive cost structure.
The new facility is one of the company's eight manufacturing sites in the US - its other plants are located in Hazleton, Lancaster and Hershey in Pennsylvania; Stuarts Draft, Virginia; Memphis, Tennessee; Robinson, Illinois; and Ashland, Oregon.