Plastics manufacturer scores £1m worth of new contracts

Posted on 29 Mar 2016 by Victoria Fitzgerald

Birmingham plastic injection moulding specialist, Barkley Plastics is benefitting from the UK automotive boom after landing more than £1m of new contracts.

Barkley Plastics – a member of the Midlands Assembly Network – has announced new work including interior parts and light guides for several major automotive OEMs and a rapidly expanding supercar manufacturer.

Barkley Plastics' toolmaker, Malcolm Hands finishing up a mould tool ready for first off trials.
Barkley Plastics’ toolmaker, Malcolm Hands finishing up a mould tool ready for first off trials.

It comes after a hugely successful twelve months that has seen the firm take on 15 new staff, exceed sales targets and invest more than £500,000 on a new EDM machine; a 650 tonne injection mould press; a 420 tonne press, and new cranes in preparation for handling bigger tools.

This has given it the capacity to produce larger components and to manufacture more than 50 million mouldings every year for automotive clients and customers involved in construction, electronics, medical and retail.

Barkley Plastics’ business development manager, Matt Harwood explained: “We have always been a trusted supplier to the Tier 1s and car makers, and that is what the business has been built on…having said that, the last eighteen months has been some of our most successful in this arena.

“Investment in the domestic auto sector has gone through the roof and we have certainly benefitted from being located close to a number of major plants. There is also a willingness to buy parts from the UK, with many of the orders we’ve secured won back from overseas.”

Harwood added: “When things are in the ascendancy it’s a good time to build on your strengths and we have invested significantly in a new Negri Bossi press, a new assembly line and recruiting more tool makers and apprentices.

Long-serving members of staff at the firm: (l-r) Ratubahen Patel; Jasbinder Kaur; and Kurpal Bhogal; seen here checking and packing a vent for a mini.
Long-serving members of staff at Barkley Plastics – L to R: Ratubahen Patel, Jasbinder Kaur & Kurpal Bhogal; seen here checking and packing a vent for the BMW mini.

“In fact, our in-house toolroom – fairly rare for a company of our size – is one of our real selling points. We offer a lifetime guarantee on tools made in house, but to cope with the tooling demand we also now have a Barkley Asia Tooling department, which project manages large suites of tools that we put out to the Far East.

“This approach provides customers with the comfort of knowing that their project is being handled by a firm with 50 years’ experience.”

Employing 115 people at its Highgate factory, Barkley Plastics offers a host of manufacturing solutions including injection moulding, gas injection moulding, two shot moulding and the recently introduced in-weld mould capability.

In addition to the automotive contracts, the firm’s team of designers, engineering and production specialists are responsible for delivering parts to leading retailers, household product manufacturers and large medical and electronics processors.

The company’s own brand – ‘Plasfloor’ – has also become a leader in industrial PVC flooring, bringing in £500,000 of revenue since its introduction.

Barkley Plastics (action 2)
Toolmaker Vicar Atkins, who has been with Barkleys Plastics for 35 years, setting up a plate ready for milling.

Harwood continued: “Our involvement in the Midlands Assembly Network (MAN), a group of nine sub-contract manufacturers, has been hugely beneficial.

“Being able to share best practice with like-minded firms is great and we’ve been able to pool resources to make more competitive purchasing decisions.

“However, the biggest advantage has been the collaboration that has brought in new contracts. An example being the parts we produce and the assembly service we provide for Loqski (a portable locking device for skiers).

“We’re about to launch an exciting new group as part of MAN, which we believe could lead to more than £2m of additional orders.”

The Midlands Assembly Network

MANprovides expertise in automation; casting; CNC machining; control systems; design; forgings; high volume precision pressings; PCB manufacture; prototyping; sheet metal fabrication, and stamping.

In addition to Barkley Plastics, it features member companies Alucast; Brandauer; Grove Design; KimberMills International; Mec Com; Muller England; PP Electrical Systems, and SMT Developments.