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Take a look inside Gloucester's amazing 'green' coffin factory

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Written by: Aled Thomas | Posted 06 November 2017 6:28

Take a look inside Gloucester's amazing 'green' coffin factory

I didn’t know what to expect before I was shown through the door at LifeArt’s factory on the edge of Gloucester?

What would a place where they make coffins be like?

Full of wood I guess, and sawing and banging.

Well, shows you how wrong you can be.

LifeArt’s coffins, which they say take 70 per cent fewer emissions to make than a standard particle board coffin, and which also produce much less pollution when cremated, are constructed from scratch in one large, orderly and surprisingly quiet room. 

The staff in their orange polo shirts and hi-visibility vests look all efficiency and seem very proficient whether using their state of the art machinery or assembling and checking the coffins at the end of the room.

And what machinery they have. 

A wood effect, or any other pattern, can be created by the printer
A wood effect, or any other pattern, can be created by the printer

The first step in the process is the printing- and the amazing printer in the factory can print scans of real timber, or any other design.

It can even print with resin giving 3D textured effects.

Simon Rothwell, chief executive of Life Art Coffins and its sister company Flexmort said: “This is the future of coffins. I think more and more people will want something with a more personal design, and we can do that as we’re printing.”

The printed outer layer is glued to the tops, bottom and sides of the coffin made of a sort of corrugated cardboard and a harder layer of compressed spruce wood off-cuts and shavings.

Those components are then put together to from the conventional coffin shape, but in a casket which weighs about 8 kilograms, compared to more than 30 for a conventional particle board coffin.

 
Claire Mansfield folds the cover onto the main structure of a coffin lid
Claire Mansfield folds the cover onto the main structure of a coffin lid

Simon said: “Funeral directors want to be able to offer a greener, more environmentally-friendly coffin. Out start-up customer is Mid-counties Co-operative and we supply about 75 per cent of the coffins they use. It’s very important for them to offer a green option that doesn’t cost an enormous sum.

 
Christopher Jurszo, Simon Rothwell and Scott Devlin with the finished product
Christopher Jurszo, Simon Rothwell and Scott Devlin with the finished product

“Other funeral directors want our product as well. The coffins are so much lighter that one person can move them easily, rather than it taking two.”

Simon said in six month the factory had grown to employ 20 people and added: “It’s good we’re bringing jobs to Gloucester – and this is just the start, we are only going to get better."

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