Lancashire-based plastic injection moulding specialist MGS Technical Plastics has teamed up with artist Robyn Woolston to create a manufacturing masterpiece for the National Festival of Making.
The festival took place in Blackburn on May 6 and 7, and showcased the best of the town’s manufacturing industry – a sector which plays a vital role in the local economy, employing twice the national average of its population.
As an industry-leader in its field, MGS demonstrated to the local population how it serves a global market, designing, developing, manufacturing, assembling and distributing plastic parts for customers around the world for customers including Rentokil Initial, British Gas and Marks & Spencer.
Robyn Woolston worked with the company to create a unique work of art, celebrating the role of injection moulding.
She said: “Family histories run parallel with the evolution of manufacturing. As my father worked in plastic injection moulding his entire life, I connected with strong intergenerational narratives emerging through interviews with employees with similar histories, producing a film that not only draws on the personal reflections of employees, but evidence of Lancashire’s manufacturing histories through explorations along the Leeds and Liverpool Canal and investigations into local archives.”
To address the topic of unseen waste as a bi-product of industrial fabrication, every piece of plastic used within the work will be re-ground and re-used by the manufacturing team at a later date.
The artwork is created using the ‘sprue’, a piece of excess plastic removed from an injection moulded part, and ‘purge’, molten plastic forced from an injection moulding machine at the end of a colour run.
Robyn said “the installation works ambitiously in colour, form and scale to assist viewers’ comprehension of the nature and scale of the waste produced through industrial manufacturing, alongside revealing design, fabrication and moulding processes.”
Samantha Taylor, marketing manager at MGS Technical Plastics, said: “Blackburn’s Festival of Making is an excellent opportunity to shout about the town’s world-leading manufacturing base.
“We’re very excited to have this opportunity to promote the town and to share what we do. Many people don’t realise the massive range of items that they use every day which are injection moulded, and so this is also a great way to raise awareness of plastics in general.
“We want to engage with young people about manufacturing and help to inspire them to join our industry. And as a Blackburn manufacturer, we wanted our staff to get involved with a great community project and to tell our great story.”
MGS Technical Plastics has been based in Blackburn for nearly four years, following a £2m relocation from nearby Bolton, and has since invested hundreds of thousands in further developing its site, machinery and equipment.