Plastic injection moulding specialist MGS Technical Plastics has invested a five-figure sum in a new system which will allow it to more closely monitor its production facilities to improve efficiency and reduce costs.
MGS has installed Thingtrax at its Blackburn, Lancashire, site to monitor machines and processes around the clock.
Utilising the Internet of Things to oversee and report on productivity, downtime and processes, MGS employees can log in via any computer, smartphone or tablet to view up-to-the-minute information.
The data helps identify which machines are due maintenance, and when production schedules allow for work to be carried out. Reports can also locate inefficiencies to be corrected, and help plan projects to make the best use of the factory’s resources.
The tool is more commonly used by engineering firms much larger than MGS, and the investment is a key part of the company’s long-term goal to reach £10m annual turnover.
Judson Smythe, Technical Director at MGS, said: “Not many companies our size employ monitoring systems this advanced, but we have big ambitions and this exciting new piece of technology will help us achieve our goals.
“The key benefit will be a more seamless production process and eliminating unplanned downtown. As well as reducing day-to-day costs, it will make us more efficient and improve our ability to deliver projects for customers in shorter time frames.
Judson added: “ThingTrax is a new and exciting start-up that is disrupting the machine monitoring market and we’re excited to have their tools in our hands.”
MGS Technical Plastics has invested £530,000 in its biggest machine to date.
The KraussMaffei KM900 is a dual platen machine with a 900 tonne capacity, allowing the Blackburn-based plastic injection moulding specialist to work with bigger parts than ever before.
The new purchase is scheduled for delivery in August. It replaces MGS’s 800 tonne model, bringing increased capacity, efficiency and quality levels. The KM900 is more efficient than previous equipment, with a short dry cycle time of just 2.3 seconds.
It is the latest investment in the company’s bid to reach £10m annual turnover. Following a multimillion relocation to its current headquarters in the last decade, the firm has invested almost £2m more on property, machinery, staff and training.
Mark Boardman, quality manager, said: “We chose the KM900 as the next piece of our continuous improvement strategy as it will immediately assist our delivery of a large-scale project we are currently undertaking for a tier one automotive supplier.
“This addition to our factory gives us extra capacity and a shorter turnaround. The KM900 is ideal for our needs as it helps meet critical lead time challenges, and it also gives us the ability to manufacture larger parts than before.”
The new 49kW solar panel unit will help power the company’s facilities, reducing its carbon footprint as well as saving money on energy bills. While the solar panels represent a sizeable investment, the company expects them to pay for themselves within six years making the purchase a sound business decision, too. The system can also be upgraded, meaning MGS can easily add capacity in the future.
The five-figure purchase is the latest in a long line of initiatives the specialist moulding firm has introduced to become kinder to the environment. MGS has switched 97 per cent of its lighting to low-energy bulbs many of which are activated by motion sensors, dramatically reducing its energy use. Recent machinery purchases – of which the company has spent more than £1m in recent years – have also seen older, less efficient equipment replaced in favour of greener alternatives. The new machines, for example, have servo drive motors which means the pump only runs when required, unlike previous models which the pump runs continuously. This can result in energy savings of around 40%.
MGS has also implemented a recycling policy to ensure sprue is diverted from landfill wherever possible. Manufacturing director Neil Garrity added: “It is important to take care of the environment around us for the local community and for future generations. “We are dedicated in reducing our carbon footprint through lower energy use, recycling and more efficient working practices.”
We have invested £400,000 in new machinery and robotic equipment following a growth in demand.
MGS Technical Plastics, has purchased two new moulding machines from Sumitomo Demag – a D210 model which increases capacity for lower tonnage work and a D420 model which allows more options for their customers’ mid-range work.
In addition, our company has invested in four new Sepro robots to help operate the machines and improve shopfloor efficiencies, bringing the total investment to £400,000.
“As our business grows we invest to meet demand. We started out with a lot of smaller moulding work but we are increasingly being asked to undertake projects that have larger parts. The purchase of these machines means we are better equipped to meet our customers’ requirements,” commented Neil Garrity, MGS Manufacturing Director.
“As well as extra capacity and more flexible working, the new machinery increases our automation, which means we can work more efficiently and meet the ever increasing demands from our customers.”
MGS has already begun its next phase of investment, increasing the size of its premises before investing in a material feed system for the machines, which will go in the extension.
Garrity added: “In line with our growth strategy we’ve invested to improve efficiencies and provide our customers with a service that’s beyond their expectations. We’re investing in the business and we’re all really proud of what we are building here.”
Our half year results show that we’re well on the way to our £10m growth target.
With planning permission for further expansion submitted for approval and proposals to create more jobs, we could reach our goal even sooner than hoped.
The accounts, which cover trading for six months to the end of September 2015, put MGS Technical Plastics on course for £4m turnover this year. This closely tracks our plan to expand to an annual turnover in excess of £10m within five years.
To meet these ambitious targets, we have invested heavily in recent years. With support from Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council and Regenerate Pennine Lancashire, we’ve recently completed a £2m move to our purpose-built premises.
Since then, we’ve spent more than £10m on new machines and specialist engineering equipment. Headcount is up to 40 and we plan to recruit 15 more within two years.
Our managing director, John Sturgess said: “It’s an incredibly exciting time for our company, with unprecedented levels of investment being rewarded with sharp increases in sales. Our target of £10m turnover seemed a lofty ambition when we first made the commitment, but we’ve made great progress and all indicators are that we are actually ahead of expectations.”
John said the main growth areas were the automotive sector, returning customers and reshoring – where skilled manufacturing work is brought back home to Britain.
“Over the last 12 months we have seen an increasing number of customers bring business to our home market rather than reach out to overseas suppliers,” he said. “They now appreciate that we can provide better quality, quicker turnaround, lower transport costs and more convenient stockholding levels.
“Our customers are reassured that we’re ‘just down the road’ so they can talk to us personally and review modifications and improvements quicker than ever before.”