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Plasticraft keeps manufacturing alive and kicking
Monday, 06 October 2008 00:00

Finishing visited Plasticraft in Coventry, and found a company confident in its abilities and the future

In the past couple of decades many have said that manufacturing in the UK has died, and driving up to Coventry to see Plasticraft and seeing the remains of the Ryton car plant, it may be difficult to argue that manufacturing is still alive and kicking. But it seems what the UK has done is what Plasticraft has done and become a specialist provider of machinery, using craftsmanship and expertise that is rarely found beyond these shores.

 

Plasticraft is part of the Norman Hay Group of surface treatment companies, and specialises in process plant technology. The company has been manufacturing electroplating and surface treatment equipment for over 45 years from small manual plant to large automatic plant costing well into seven figures. The company specialises in these large turnkey installations (which would be great to tell you about, however most of its clients are in the aerospace industry and work behind a wall of silence), and supplies everything from the transportation system through to the water treatment system at the other end. Will Green, sales director at the company explains, “80 per cent of our sales go into the UK and we always have a number of jobs on the go. We are a market focused company and most of our business is with the aerospace industry. We get much of our business through recommendation and also because of our ability to supply machinery that complies with all regulations. At any time we have three types of jobs on: the small orders up to around £10,000 which we would have a lot of; mid-size up to £150,000, where we would have half a dozen or so on the go; and the large orders, which can be worth over a £1,000,000. At present we have four of these orders going through. We fabricate all of the parts, do all of the steelworks and even make the plastic tanks at our sister factory in Cannock, so our customers have complete traceability and we know that we are supplying a quality product.”

The company has 70 people working in the engineering department, with the designers and engineers working closely together on each bespoke project. However, once the plating line has left the factory the work does not stop there. Plasticraft installs all of its units, and also has a growing service function. “Customers do not want to employ their own service people any more and they also do not want to deal with the chemicals that are used in the plating processes, so more and more we are being asked to provide that service,” continued Will. “After sales support is important to Plasticraft and our customers rely on us for continuous, safe operation.”

The plating lines also have a long life and engineers on the road often find machines that were installed in one plant, turning up in another. Indeed, Will says that he knows of plants that were installed in Birmingham and ended up in Brazil.

Plasticraft has also had to make its lines more user friendly as there is often a skills shortage in some of the places where they are installed, and it has done this by automating as much as possible. As Will says, “Automation is process driven to make sure that parts come out the same every time, at the correct quality. We use computers to remove the human element, and this also helps with logging and complying with regulations such as NADCAP.”

So we have a dynamic, manufacturing company in the West Midlands. A lot of people say they don’t exist, but the ones like Plasticraft that know its market and have adapted and specialised will continue to survive and thrive.

T: +44 (0)24 7625 3099
W: Plasticraft

 
 

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