Tag Archives: Plastics

Best Places to Work in the UK Plastics Industry Announced at PDM Event

Best Places to Work in the UK Plastics Industry
Announced at PDM Event

15 June 2016 – Organisers of the Plastics Design & Moulding Event (PDM Event) taking place at the Telford International Centre today have announced The Best Places to Work in the UK Plastics Industry in a scheme run by PRW magazine.

Plastribution, the Ashby-de-la-Zouch-based materials distributor, has been named as the overall winner in PRW’s inaugural Best Places to Work in the UK Plastics Industry programme.

Four other winning companies were named as Knutsford-based compounder and distributor Albis UK; Cannock-based toolmaking and processing group Goodfish; Plastic Card Services, a plastic card manufacturer based in Macclesfield, and Tamworth-based ancillaries supplier Summit Systems.

The process which arrived at the winning firms was managed for PRW by Best Companies Group (BCG), a US-based independent workplace research group which specialises in identifying and recognising highly regarded employers in the UK and North America.

Eligible companies had to have at least 15 employees working in the UK and derive at least 50% of their business from plastic-related activities, including injection moulding, extrusion, blow moulding, thermoforming or rotational moulding; plastics recycling, compounding or distribution; mould making, and other equipment supply services.

Firms registered for free to take part in the programme, filling out an employer questionnaire which accounted for 25% of a company’s overall evaluation.

Staff at registering companies then filled out an employee engagement and satisfaction survey, designed to evaluate their workplace experience and organisational structure.

The two sets of combined data were then used by BCG analysts to determine the strengths and opportunities in each company.

Speaking about the awards, BCG’s Andrew O’Kelly said that the survey found that “an incredible 86%” of staff working for the winning firms could be deemed ‘engaged employees’, versus an average score of 35%.

“Your workers believe in your company’s mission, they believe that their work really matters and, most importantly, they believe that they are being treated fairly and with respect. That is a pretty amazing accomplishment,” he said.

PRW editor Hamish Champ said: “We would like to congratulate the five winning firms, all of whom can take a great deal of satisfaction from knowing that their staff, who filled in the questionnaires anonymously, clearly derive a great deal of satisfaction from both their job and their working environment.

“We were also delighted to have worked with Best Companies Group to assess which firms in the UK plastics industry are deemed to be the best ones to work for.”


Media Contact:
Doug Bentall or Anna Dunbar
Iona Communications
Tel: 01892 512481
Email: anna@ionacommunications.com or doug@ionacommunications.com

For more information:
Yvonne Nartey

Crain Communications
Tel: 020 8253 9602
Email: ynartey@crain.com

Website: www.pdmevent.com
Twitter: @PDM_Event
Linked In Group: http://linkd.in/1wShiMM

PDM Event enjoys the support of all the major plastics and moulding associations including Composites UK, Institute of Engineering Designers (IED), Society of Plastics Engineers UK & Ireland (SPE), Rubber & Plastics Research Association (RAPRA), BPF, the Gauge & Toolmakers Association (GTMA), IOM3, Polymer Training and Innovation Centre and the Polymer Machinery Manufacturers and Distributors Association (PMMDA), Polymer Society, RECOUP, LARAC and WRAP.



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70 Most Influential People in The UK Plastics Industry Unveiled at PDM Event

70 Most Influential People in The UK Plastics Industry Unveiled at PDM Event

Nine Women Break Through “Plastic Ceiling”

The 70 Most Influential People in the UK Plastics Industry were unveiled today at the Plastics Design & Moulding Event (PDM Event) taking place at the Telford International Centre today and tomorrow (14-15th June).

The list of 70 top influencers includes representatives from across the plastics industry from machinery and materials sectors and distribution through to processing, with many of those named on the list actually present at the event. It also includes high-profile national figures such as the Prime Minister, David Cameron; George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and Mark Carney, the governor of the Bank of England.

David Cameron 2016
David Cameron

Of the 70, nine women have broken through the “plastic ceiling” including Jane Bickerstaffe, director of packaging industry organisation of Incpen, Julia Moore, the long-serving chief executive of the Gauge and Toolmakers Association (GTMA), Karen Drinkwater, director of JSC Rotational Moulding and Professor Marianne Gilbert, of the PVC Centre, Loughborough University.

Jane Bickersfield 2016 Julia Moore 2012  Karen Drinkwater JSC 2016
Jane Bickerstaffe, Julia Moore and Karen Drinkwater

Buyers for the large companies who use plastic in their products figure prominently including representatives of Britain’s biggest automotive manufacturers Jaguar Land Rover, Ford Europe, General Motors, Honda UK, Nissan Europe and Toyota UK. Prominent product designer and entrepreneur James Dyson also makes the list.

Packaging experts from some of Britain’s biggest retailers feature including Paul Earnshaw, packaging management director at Tesco; Kevin Vyse, packaging technologist and innovation lead at Marks & Spencer and Jane Skelton, head of packaging at Sainsbury’s.

Among the many advocates of the plastics industry in the UK perhaps the most prominent is Philip Law, director-general of the British Plastics Federation. As awareness grows of the impact of plastics in the marine environment, Samantha Fanshawe, chief executive of the Marine Conservation Society is also included.

The list was drawn up using the results of a readers’ poll in PRW, trade magazine for the UK polymer industry, and the findings of a specially-convened panel of PRW staff and long-standing industry figures. It comprises individuals of UK citizenship or working in the UK and has been ordered alphabetically, not by degree of influence.

For the full list visit http://www.prw.com/article/20160614/PRW/160619939/prw-unveils-its-most-influential-people-in-the-uk-plastics-industry


Media Contact and Photos:
Doug Bentall or Anna Dunbar
Iona Communications
Tel: 01892 512481
Email: anna@ionacommunications.com or doug@ionacommunications.com

For more information:
Yvonne Nartey
Crain Communications
Tel: 020 8253 9602
Email: ynartey@crain.com

Website: http://www.pdmevent.com
Twitter: @PDM_Event
Linked In Group: http://linkd.in/1wShiMM

PDM Event enjoys the support of all the major plastics and moulding associations including Composites UK, Institute of Engineering Designers (IED), Society of Plastics Engineers UK & Ireland (SPE), Rubber & Plastics Research Association (RAPRA), BPF, the Gauge & Toolmakers Association (GTMA), IOM3, Polymer Training and Innovation Centre and the Polymer Machinery Manufacturers and Distributors Association (PMMDA), Polymer Society, RECOUP, LARAC and WRAP.

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Got a plastics problem? Bring it to the surgery!

The Plastics Consultancy Network (PCN) will again be attending the PDM Event as part of the “Ask the Consultant” plastics surgery service to all PDM Event visitors on stand E007.

“Ask the Consultant” provides all visitors to PDM Event with free access to the knowledge of PCN experts. The industry often forgets that many designers and users know that they want to use plastics but really don’t know where to start.

“Ask the Consultant” provides quick access to leading consultants for free no obligation information.

Here are some examples of problems brought to the surgery in past years:

Case 1:

A visitor had a viable plan to market a plastic pallet for the food industry. The Plastics Surgery was able to recommend a material (polypropylene) and provide an indicative cost for the injection mould (+/- £100,000) and the likely production costs for the product based on estimated material content. Design ideas to reduce complexity and make moulding easier were also discussed with the visitor and potential suppliers recommended for both tooling and production. The visitor was then able to update their business plan with a better knowledge of the fixed and variable costs.

Case 2:

A visitor was interested in entering the medical products market with an innovative device and surveying the possibilities. The Plastics Surgery was able to outline the quality requirements of the market, the time-scales for achieving approval and the potential materials for production. The visitor then decided to use sub-contractors rather than try to set up internal moulding capability.

Case 3:

A visitor was interested in producing a part by extrusion and needed assistance with the design. The length of the part and the market volumes meant that extrusion was not actually the best process and injection moulding was recommended. The change of process meant that the visitor could also modify the design to include more features for the end user and increase the value of the product to the market.

Case 4:

A visitor was having moulding problems with an over-moulded product (material compatibility) the Plastics Surgery was able to identify the issues with over moulding and the materials and recommend a more suitable grade of material for the base component.

Case 5:

A visitor was interested in reducing energy costs and wanted ideas of the best place to start. After a short discussion, the Plastics Surgery provided advice on the most profitable areas for investment and the likely pay-back for the investments.

Case 6:

A visitor to the Plastics Surgery was looking to recycle ink jet cartridges but did not know where to start. The Plastics Surgery gave guidance on contacts for recycling and the potential issues in recycling of cartridges.

Case 7:

A visitor to the Plastics Surgery had developed an innovative joining method for flat pack assembly of wood or other materials which involving a clip moulded from Acetal which could rigidly hold the two pieces together. The joint should withstand up to 100 times of joining and parting. There were looking for 2 things a) a more cost effective material and b) a best way to obtain a fire resistant product. The Plastics Surgery provided advice on suitable materials and the properties needed.

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Sprint Tool and Die Grows up with PDM Event

Sprint Tool and Die, Telford’s precision toolmakers, has proudly supported PDM since its inception and has seen significant growth following exposure at PDM.


The company, which is based in Telford, Shropshire, was set up in 1989 by enterprising founder Ian Amos, who aspired to create a business catering to the niche market he identified – to produce high quality affordable plastic injection mould tools delivered on time. The result was Sprint Tool and Die, which has gone from strength to strength, being awarded Toolmaker of the Year 2013 and 2014 at the Plastics Industry Awards.

For high-end moulding companies requiring British tooling, Sprint Tool and Die provides an excellent turnkey service producing intricate tools, prototyping & pre-hardened tools, insert mould tools, overmoulded tools, twin shot tooling and unscrewing tools. Facilities are also available for tool trials (for verification purposes), and online project management can also be offered if required; a system which enables customers to track the progress of their projects.

“Here at Sprint Tool and Die we manufacture and service tools for all types of industries, including caps and closures, medical and automotive industries”, explains Ian. “We develop everything in-house and are particularly proud of the quality of our tools, which are also reasonably priced. It’s this level of excellency – alongside our determination to provide great customer service – which really sets us apart from our competitors.”


The well-established toolmaking company is now one of the UK’s most respected. As well as having national coverage, it is ISO 9001 accredited, holds membership under the UKTA and has been awarded World Class Toolmaker status by the GTMA. In addition, the team have also scooped a number of coveted industry-specific awards, such as the Plastic Industry Awards Supplier Partnership Toolmaker of the Year 2013, which was presented for its close working relationship with a leading UK OEM, a liaison overseeing the development of a concept designed to drastically reduced wastage and speed up cycle times. A year later they were selected as the winner again for their project devised to combat the problem of delicate components becoming damaged.

“Our award-winning status has enabled us to enjoy an international reputation in the industry,” says Ian. “Serving customers all over the UK and globally meant it was necessary for us to upsize, hence our recent relocation to a bigger property in Telford, adjacent to the motorway.



“Our involvement with the PDM exhibition has gone hand in hand with our expansion within Telford. We will again be exhibiting at PDM 2016. Our design staff will be available to discuss potential projects with new visitors and look forward to the opportunity to showcase some of our expertise as Telford’s precision toolmakers supplying high quality British tooling.”

You can visit Sprint Tool and Die on stand A012 at PDM Event this year.

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Plastics Moulders Vie for Glory in Quick Mould Change Competition at PDM Event

Plastics moulders from across the country are set to compete for honours at the Quick Mould Change Competition taking place at this year’s PDM Event at the Telford International Centre on 14 and 15 June 2016. Teams will have 60 minutes to change a mould correctly, safely and as quickly as possible on an Engel machine. Judges from plastic moulding training and technology consultancy RJG Technologies will oversee the competition.


Plastics moulding companies are invited to enter a team of two technicians for the competition. Entrants will compete to be the fastest to complete the tool change under the judges’ scrutiny to ensure safe working methods. The final installation will be inspected to ensure correct installation including mould operation, set up of water pipes, clamp positioning and torque settings. Judges will also check that the tool is demounted correctly and the work area left tidy.

The two winners of the challenge will receive a trophy to take back to their company and a £200 Amazon voucher each.

“Fast tool change in production can increase both injection mould availability and safety levels during mould changeover,” says Richard Brown, managing director of competition sponsor RJG Technologies. “The Quick Mould Change Competition at the PDM Event 2016 is a great opportunity for mould technicians to prove their skills against the clock to find the fastest and safest tool change team within the industry. Anthony Goff of RJG Technologies will be using his vast experience to evaluate technique and adherence to safe practices to find the eventual winner.”

“Engel UK is delighted to be supporting the PDM Quick Mould Competition by providing one of our machines for moulders to use at the show,” adds Graeme Herlihy, managing director, of competition sponsor Engel UK. “Our tie-bar-less design will certainly make it easier for competitors to carry out a mould change quickly, safely and accurately. It will also be an effective showcase for our flexible, cost effective and highly energy efficient machines.”

For more information on the competition and entry details visit: http://www.pdmevent.com/pdm2016/quick-mould-change

Register now for free entry to the PDM Event exhibition and conference at www.pdmevent.com

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Plastics Recycling at PDM Event: UK Opportunities and Challenges in Plastics Recycling

The Plastics Recycling exhibition and conference taking place at the Telford International Centre on 14 and 15 June 2016, offers a unique opportunity to survey the opportunities and challenges for plastics recycling in the UK. As in previous years Plastics Recycling forms part of the larger PDM Event, which covers all aspects of plastics design and moulding. You can now register for free entry at www.pdmevent.com

Axion Polymers Axpoly recycled polymer LR

BMW Mini air vents, which use Axion Polymer’s Axpoly recycled polymer derived from automotive feedstocks. Axion Polymers will be exhibiting on stand D020 at Plastics Recycling, part of PDM Event.

The two- day PRE conference features speakers from Tesco, WRAP, Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee (LARAC) and BPF Recycling Group as well as academics, policy and compliance experts, and specialists from the packaging and design industries.

Companies exhibiting at PRE will showcase the latest technology developed to keep costs low, reduce material contamination and save energy during production. Among industry leading names exhibiting are: ARTEC Machinery, Axion Recycling, Biffa Polymers, Blue Sky Plastics, BPI Recycled Products, Cofit, Erema, Gamma Meccanica, Gneuss Kunststofftechnik, LARAC, Manifattura Russo Filippo, Netzsch Instruments, Plasgran, Plastic Recycling Van Werven, Tecnova and Tivaco.

PRE conference highlights include:

  • Ian Sorensen, Group Head of Consumables and Waste & Recycling Procurement at Tesco reveals how the retailer has closed the plastic recycling loop by offering single-use carry bags made from its own plastic waste.
  • Mike Baxter of the BPF Recycling Group asks if there a future for recycling waste plastics in the UK
  • Claire Shrewsbury, Packaging Programme Manager at WRAP focuses on improving sorting and developing end markets.
  • Andrew Bird, chair of LARAC looks at the Courtauld Commitment 2025 and how it will affect plastics recycling
  • Stuart Forster, CEO of RECOUP speaks on finding and developing new markets for recycled plastic material.
  • Stuart Hayward-Higham, Technical Development Director of Sita explores the latest trends in plastic packaging.
  • Stuart Kershaw, Trading Sales Manager at Viridor Waste Management asks if designers have a role to play in making Pots Tubs and Trays more widely recycled.
  • Keith Freegard, Director, Axion Recycling outlines how can we overcome the difficulty of keeping plastics recovery facilities viable and sustainable in the current economic environment.
  • Mike Baxter, External Affairs Director at Bpi.recycled products covers Oxo-biodegradables and the early impact of the plastic bag charge.

A conference session is also planned on how to increase the recycled plastic content in cars.

Register now for free exhibition and conference entry for Plastics Recycling and the PDM Event on www.pdmevent.com



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How do I achieve successful injection moulded parts?

PDM Event exhibitor – Plunkett Associates – shares some valuable advice…. you can also speak to them on Stand D023 at the show this year.


Part Design is the key to success and our top tip is “KEEP IT SIMPLE”.
In order for designs to be fully optimised for injection moulding, key points to consider are:

1) Function and quantities
• Understand the function of the part and how it will be used. This will help determine potential weak zones or areas requiring additional strength.
• What are the interfaces, both between moulded parts and with associated hardware such as pcb’s? Moulding tolerances will need to be allowed for.
• Quantities will determine the type of tooling required and can have a bearing on tool material.

2) Material Choice
• Will depend on the function and aesthetics of the part (as above).
• Thermoplastics flow differently under heat and pressure, especially if fillers are involved, therefore certain combinations of geometry and feature size may not be possible.
• Consider using fillers, this could be for strength (eg glass fibres), impact resistance or aesthetics.
• Colour is usually added to the thermoplastic before moulding. This can be as a masterbatch, or compounded, depending on the quantities concerned. Different colours can highlight different issues within the moulding.  An alternative is that the part can be painted at a later stage.
• Cost may be a deciding factor – the cheaper resins are those that are more common, for example, acetal (POM), acrylic (PMMA), Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), High-density polyethylene (HDPE), Polycarbonate (PC), Polycarbonate/ABS (PC/ABS), Polypropylene (PP), Polystyrene (PS).


3) Wall thickness
• Keep wall thickness’s constant where possible.
• If design limitations mean it is impossible to have uniform wall thicknesses, then transition between different thicknesses should be as gradual as possible.
• Ribs can be used to increase the bending stiffness of a part whilst keeping wall thickness at a minimum. Rib thickness must be less than the wall thickness to avoid sinkage issues.
• Maximum wall thicknesses are material dependent and can vary dramatically so it’s worth checking. Ideally we are looking around the 2mm-4mm range, however 0.6mm-6mm is possible.
• If thicker walls are a must, there are alternative ways to do this, e.g. foaming.

4) Draft
• To ensure the part comes out of the mould smoothly, all surfaces in the line of draw need to be drafted (or tapered). This allows the mould tool to open and the part surface to move away from the mould wall quickly and not be dragged across it.
• Lack of draft will result in the moulded surface showing cosmetic flaws (drag marks) and potentially cause the part to grip the core so tightly ejection is impossible. The addition of textures increases the need for draft to avoid scuffing the texture. Draft angles need to be considered within the design of the part from an early stage.

5) Sharp corners
• Sharp corners should be avoided to prevent part failure.  Rounded corners are much easier for the material to flow around allowing the mould to fill evenly and minimise any internal stresses. The cooling process is also more regular, reducing the risk of fragile corners in the end product.
• The radius of corners must be considered as the stress concentration factor varies with radius for a given thickness. We recommend that the inside radius is a minimum of 1 x the thickness.

6) Solid Areas
• Core out large solid areas to leave a standard wall thickness where possible to avoid sink. Sink occurs when hot material that is too thick in the mould cools and contracts inwards, causing the centre to ‘sink.’
• Gussets and ribs can be added into a design to help reduce warping where solid areas have been removed.

7) Injection and ejection points
• The injection and ejection points must be considered to avoid marks and blemishes on cosmetic surfaces or critical features.

8) Undercuts
• Tools open linearly and as a result undercuts need to be released by side actions, which in turn add to tool cost. Minimising undercuts through clever design will not only simplify the tooling but will frequently improve cosmetics, as each side action will leave a witness on the part.

9) Finish
• Consider the texture of the part – a coarser finish may help hide minor imperfections such as knit lines but will require more draft.
• Is lettering required on the finished part?
• Correct placement of lettering can avoid introducing additional side actions.

10) Costs
• To manufacture a tool is a non-recurring cost and is incurred before a single part is produced. It is unlikely that any type of injection tooling is going to cost less than £1000 and for complex tools there is no upper limit.
• As a general rule, the higher the number of parts being produced, the lower the piece part cost. However, with differing tool techniques, low volume injection moulding can be commercially viable for quantities as low as 50 parts depending on the geometry and size.
• Parts can be combined in a single tool, often referred to as a 1+1, (ie 2 geometries in a single tool) if materials and colours are the same, resulting in a cost saving.

Plunkett Associates are well known as specialists in low volume injection moulding. Optimising design data is all part of the service alongside support and advice to get the best solution possible for clients for their parts. You can visit them at PDM Event this year on Stand D023.


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