Duracell’s long-term commitment to its Aarschot production plant
by Frank Imbescheid, Duracell EIMEA Communications
Duracell is a global consumer battery company and the leading manufacturer of high performance alkaline batteries while also offering speciality cells and rechargeables. Duracell has been responsible for many industry firsts, including the first alkaline AA and AAA batteries – the very type of battery being produced with pride in Aarschot for almost five decades.
Since the launch of the brand in 1965, the Duracell Bunny and the ‘Copper Top’ labelling have become synonymous with batteries. And it was specifically the Aarschot AA and AAA alkaline batteries that played an important role in transforming Duracell into the global consumer icon it is today, known for its commitment to quality, reliability and innovation.
How the Bunny came to Belgium
The year 1965 not only marked the launch of the Duracell brand but also Duracell’s humble beginning of exploring a new promising market with millions of people in need of reliable batteries to power their transistor radio or pocket camera: Europe. But in order to reliably provide 250 million consumers with powerful long-lasting batteries, a dedicated production plant on the continent was required. After careful consideration and checking hundreds of options, Aarschot in Belgium soon became the preferred choice for several reasons: its central location in Europe, its proximity to Brussels’ international transport infrastructure and the welcoming mindset of the Aarschot city council concerning workers, land, the power supply and local taxes.
Aarschot – Duracell’s Production Plant Today
After only 10 months of construction, the Duracell Aarschot plant started production of batteries on October 20, 1967 with 143 employees. Needless to say, 2017 will be filled with lots of activities and celebrations around this 50th anniversary. Today, billions of batteries later, the plant has grown from being a smaller operation covering a total surface of 3,500m² into an international high-tech production facility spreading over 42,000m² where about 500 employees produce Duracell’s superior AA and AAA alkaline batteries for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Only 10 kilometers away in the Pack and Distribution Center in Heist-op-den-Berg, another 250 employees make sure that the Duracell batteries are being properly packed and shipped to the respective markets in time.
Consistent Quality needs Expertise and Attention to Details
With an average seniority of more than 20 years, the Aarschot staff does not only bring a wealth of experience to their workplace but also jointly sets the high standards for Duracell product quality. The plant consistently exceeds the ISO 9000 quality requirements, specifies and uses only the highest quality of raw materials and applies rigorous testing and inspection of performance and energy usage. Each single Duracell battery is quality checked before leaving the plant to ensure maximum performance. This is potentially one of the reasons why on average 63 Duracell products are being sold every second to satisfied consumers around the world.