The aim was to create a major resource for the plastics sector, one place to find everything you needed. From time to time, we need to review how we are doing, so for the purposes of this Blog, I have looked at things from the perspective of a new start company looking to develop an idea for a new `widget’ that just happens to be most easily manufactured in plastic.
Stage One, from Idea to Launch. We do an Internet search on `plastic parts’ and come across a site called PlastikCity. There is a section for Product Design and Development and we are pleased to find five decent companies offering their services. We choose one, and soon have a really well designed product and some mock-ups. We go back to the site, this time to a section for Prototype and Rapid Tooling Services, and soon have some samples to show around.
Stage Two, Ramping Up. Our aluminium tooling won’t cope for long with our enquiry levels, so we decide to invest in production tooling. Again, PlastikCity gets us quotes from a number of top suppliers, and we’re soon ‘cutting metal’. Numbers aren’t that high initially, so we use the site to find a Low Volume Injection Moulding company. They use the site to obtain a Mould Filling Simulation for the twin impression tool being made, and see that their 100 tonne machine will do the job.
Six months on and the tool needs to run long hours, so is moved to a Trade Moulder we found on the site.
Stage Three, our own production facility. We have some experience now, so decide to lay down some additional tooling while we set up our own moulding facility. We buy two used machines through the site, as well as find a specialist removal and installation company. We use one of the listed specialists to fill the machines with suitable oil and filter their complete hydraulic circuits. We also get quotes for replacement screws and barrels, just in case we run into difficulties later.
Through the site, we obtain our ancillaries and mould shop consumables, clamps, hot runner controllers and so on. We advertise for and employ a process technician and send him to one of the listed training facilities for a refresher course (and receive a discount by using the site). The tools are moved to the new facility, but cycle times are longer than expected. We use PlastikCity to find a troubleshooting and process optimisation specialist, and are soon back on track. Production ramps up, and we use the site to make sure we get the best price for the Polymer and Masterbatch we are using more and more of.
This was only an exercise, but the reality was that I only scratched the surface of what the site now offers. If you are looking for a tool that gives you access to the best that our sector has to offer, then PlastikCity is a now an invaluable resource.