In this case study, Total Precision Ltd, plastic injection moulders specialising in insert and over moulding, take the opportunity to design and manufacture a ‘door jig’ for a major automotive company.
Total Precision Ltd is a plastic injection moulding and metal stamping company based in Ilkeston, Derbyshire. They specialise in insert moulding and over moulding and have a diverse customer base that covers a range of sectors from automotive and rail to consumer electronics.
With a healthy sales turnover and a team of dedicated, long-standing employees, Andy Tomlinson and Jez Tanner, Directors of Total Precision, were very satisfied with the performance of the business. Despite this, they were hungry for a new challenge. Via a contact at a major automotive manufacturer, they were offered the opportunity to design and supply a special ‘door jig’ used to hold a car door in position through the paint shop and into the manufacturing line.
The existing component was causing the manufacturer problems. The door, along with the jig, would be sprayed with paint, but when the door was opened and closed the paint from the jig was flaking away, leading to a costly rework.
The new door jig had to be made from a flexible material that the paint would stick to and not flake, while also being able to withstand the oven temperature for the curing step of the process.
Relishing the challenge, Total Precision knew they could manufacture the product, but they didn’t have the design capability in-house. Andy said: “We worked with WMG’s SME Group three or four years ago, helping us resolve a cracking issue with plastics moulding, so I knew they had specialist expertise in that area. When this new project came along, we turned to WMG for design support and to understand the type of plastics we needed to withstand the temperature and paint adhesion requirements.”
Working closely with our Computer-Aided Design (CAD) experts, Total Precision was able to completely redesign the part. The new jig was made from plastic with a textured surface that could flex and bend without the paint flaking off.
Kylash Makenji, Innovation Manager in our SME Group, said: “Working with Total Precision on this project was satisfying because we were able to ensure that not only was the part more effective, but the optimised design was 20% lighter, meaning savings in manufacturing and material costs.”
“We 3D printed prototypes of the part, which allowed the team at Total Precision to demonstrate the mechanism on vehicles at the customers’ factory and make adjustments there and then.”
Andy comments: “The customer was very impressed. Having physical prototypes, they can touch and feel rather than look at a drawing was really effective, and helped us show them that we were the right partner to supply this part for them.”
Weedon PSC is now working with WMG to deliver a two-year project which will implement the recommendations and could lead to £5m of new business.
Total Precision secured the contract to supply more than half a million units a year for the next three years to the customers’ UK manufacturing base.
They have just finalised the last set of samples, which have gone through testing with no paint flaking. The tooling is being shipped to them, and once it’s installed, they will be able to start making the part.
Andy reflects: “We are a small to medium-sized business, and having this contract has helped to protect jobs for our staff. The best thing about working with WMG was the unique and easy access to resources, skilled people and equipment that we couldn’t have got elsewhere.”
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