How Devon-based Hymind has invested for growth with automation.
Hymid Multi-Shot is one of only a handful of UK manufacturers to offer two-shot plastic injection moulding services.
The specialist process enables production of moulded components made from two materials with enhanced design features such as display windows, seals and buttons. Over the last few years Hymid has worked hard to build it reputation and capability in two-shot plastic injection moulding and this has necessitated significant infrastructure investment.
First steps in automation
In September 2012 Hymid relocated to new 18,000m² premises in Torquay providing it with the capacity to implement a phased introduction of the automated systems that would enhance its competitiveness. Three months later, Hymid ordered two new Arburg machines with robotic arms and automative capability.
At the beginning of 2013 the company took delivery of a shot electric machine which was a departure from the usual hydraulic machine but which provides greater energy efficiency, and also a bigger traditional hydraulic two-shot machine.
The impact of the introduction of the first two machines has been a significant increase in process efficiency, moving full operator jobs into fully automative and a rise in productivity of 30% on some lines.
Hymid’s staff has embraced the new equipment as an opportunity to develop individual skills through new training programmes in areas such as automation and quality inspection. Indeed the automated systems have facilitated the introduction of a medical products line which in turn has resulted in a new dimension for the team.
Colin Spencer Halsey, CEO of Hymid, comments, “Since the introduction of automation, we have increased our staff training budget and will continue to invest in this area.”
Hymid plans to increase automation in 2014. The next progression is likely to be the ‘picking and packing’ area, although initially the company needs to balance this with quality control procedures.
The most important audience is of course the customer base and once again there has been a good response with a number of positive reports on the quality of the product. On one complex product the company has achieved 98.5% yield and overall rejected parts are running at 0.4% of total production.
The company found the implementation of it automation investments to be efficient and very quick. Arburg, the machine supplier provided onsite training and a number of the staff have attended technology days in Germany. Hymid sees its challenge now as fully understanding the capability of the equipment and the extent of what the technology can achieve.
Colin Spencer Halsey adds, “I believe that automation is the only way forward for manufacturers looking to increase competitiveness. It has added significant value to our business, helping us to reduce costs and allowing us to produce more for less. In terms of the security of the business going forward while we are on course to grow the business turnover to £2.8m by the end of the current year, the progressive automation will support our longer term objective to double the business to a £5m by 2018.”