Irish Plastics Manufacturer Delivers Quality to Customers with DELMIAWORKS

Plastics processor Trend Technologies recently implemented DELMIAWORKS’ real-time ERP software. Provided by Proximity, DELMIAWORKS has given Trend the tool it needs to manage its operation more efficiently and effectively, eliminating the need for spreadsheets and manual processes.

Located in Mullingar, County Westmeath in Ireland, Trend Technologies provides world-class precision injection moulding services to the medical, automotive, industrial and IT sectors. Part of a global company headquartered in Chino, California, the Mullingar operation is just one of ten manufacturing facilities across eight countries.

Mullingar represents Trend Technologies European headquarters and the global centre of excellence for precision injection moulding. Operating from a 75,000 sq ft state-of-the-art manufacturing facility, the Mullingar plant boasts a Class 10,000 (ISO 7) cleanroom and in-house metrology laboratory amongst its capabilities.

Trend supplies components and assemblies through various Tier 1 manufacturers for leading automotive brands, including Jaguar Land Rover, Triumph, Volvo, Renault, BMW, Saab, Ford, Fiat and Honda.

Specialists in medical device plastics, Trend manufactures wound care products, diagnostic laboratory consumables, ventilator housings, surgical handles and stent delivery systems to various medical device brands, including Acelity, ARC Devices and Cook Medical. They also supply inkjet cartridges to Hewlett Packard.

Business changes put a strain on back-office systems

Donal Lawlor, Trend’s Managing Director, a qualified management accountant, joined Trend in 1988 and has overseen a significant shift in the business from exclusively supplying to the IT market to diversifying into the automotive, industrial and medical device sectors.

He said: “We’ve gone from purely supplying customers requiring high production volumes from a low number of products to more and more higher-value complex product parts for both new and existing customers.

We are now manufacturing a greater variety of products across more sectors using more and more moulds. For one customer, for instance, we have over 200 moulds.”

Trend’s existing back-office systems were struggling to cope with the demands of increases in part count and the resulting production volume and complexity.

Donal continued: “We were relying on Scala accounting software and a complex system of Excel spreadsheets to manage the business. Our spreadsheets were used for everything from keeping track of production materials to manufacturing costs. Nothing was in real-time and could only be relied on for information purposes.

Once a month, we had to take a physical inventory and literally count everything in the facility. It was becoming increasingly clear that it was not feasible to continue managing the business in such a way.”

Managing the entire manufacturing operation

Having had a recommendation from a supplier, Trend evaluated DELMIAWORKS’ expertise in plastics manufacturing and decided to implement the ERP system, including the warehouse management module and DELMIAWORKS’ real-time Production Monitoring in 2007 installed on their own dedicated servers.

Using some external project management and support, Trend went live with the new software in early 2008.

Carmel Martin, Trend’s IT Systems Administrator, added: “DELMIAWORKS worked pretty much from the start. We made sure that all the infrastructure, policies, data and procedures were in place before going live. We also ran the old system in parallel for the first few months but never needed to touch it.

Since the initial installation, we’ve added the quality management module and implemented EDI to serve the needs of our largest automotive customer. We are now adding the forecasting module to the DELMIAWORKS mix and planning for the implementation of the project management module so we can manage the manufacturing of moulds more effectively.

Since implementing DELMIAWORKS, we have access to real-time and accurate information. Quite simply, our manufacturing and production could not run without DELMIAWORKS.”

Delivering quality to customers

One of the areas in the business that has seen the most benefit has been quality management. Based on consistently delivering to exacting product requirements, Trend quite rightly boasts about having world-class quality management systems in place.

Fully integrated from initial part design through to tool approval and finished product delivery, DELMIAWORKS’ quality management system ensures that all products meet exacting dimensional, functional and cosmetic requirements, while Trend’s manufacturing operations strictly adhere to current good manufacturing practice (cGMP) and good documentation practice (GDocP) and regulatory standards.

Holding the ISO 9001:2008 and ISO 13485:2012 standards, Trend is also certified to meet the requirements of the Medical Devices Directive 93/42/EEC. Their quality management system covers component approval (including APQP and PPAP), process and product validation (IQ/OQ/PQ), in-process monitoring (SPC) and process improvement programmes.

Throughout the system, the emphasis is on delivering and improving customer satisfaction, driven by Trend’s continuous improvement philosophy.

Stephen Lynam, Project Manager at Trend, commented: “We’ve had some very good feedback from customers when they come in to conduct their own quality audits. Customers have been impressed with DELMIAWORKS’ ease of use and the speed at which they can access all the information they require.

We’ve found that the document management and control has been particularly good.

Adding greater value for the customer

Trend currently operates with 45 moulding machine ranging from 25 to 650 tonnes – and all the moulding machines are fitted with robotic take out systems and other product-handling equipment. Trend now has over 1,000 active BOMs managed through the DELMIAWORKS software with between 600 and 700 moulds.

Donal concluded: “Over the past three to four years, we’ve worked on adding considerable engineering value to our offerings. We firmly believe that we can meet any injection moulding challenge thrown at us by our customers. We’re currently in the process of adding another cleanroom facility to boost our medical device production capacity.

“Our customers really value the consultative approach we take to every project and this is a strategy we will be continuing into the future.

“We aim to deliver more added value services to new and existing customers, with DELMIAWORKS’ software being an integral part of the business, helping to manage and control the processes efficiently and effectively.”

NB: At the time of implementation, DELMIAWORKS was known as IQMS. Proximity is a certified IQMS / DELMIAWORKS reseller and provides IQMS implementation services across the UK, Ireland and Europe.

You can learn more about  DELMIAWORKS ERP software & real-time production monitoring systems here.

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