Injection moulder Pentagon Plastics is taking strides to improve its environmental impact and become a greener business overall through its organisational sustainability programme, which sees the team discuss continuous improvement initiatives and how they can be implemented.
In terms of sustainability in its manufacturing process, there are several considered areas when looking at new products; these can include cutting down waste by introducing direct hot tip feed systems or recycling waste back into production at controlled levels.
The design for manufacture (DFM) stage is where Pentagon will actively consider the suitability of recycled materials or biopolymers for production instead of specified virgin materials. However, given the nature of some of the medical mouldings produced at Pentagon, the risk of contamination is usually too high for consideration. Where the company is looking at moulding projects for equipment used within the medical environment and for products in other industry sectors, there are more environmentally friendly thermoplastic options available.
In the main, Pentagon finds that customers will approach them with a specified grade of thermoplastic suitable for their product which has been researched and sourced by their design team both environmentally and sustainability considerations. Pentagon still highlights alternatives should it believe that there would be a comparable and suitable suggestion for the products that meet the needs of its end-use. The regular use recycled polymers that the mould shop processes are recycled polypropylene, ABS and polycarbonate, which currently have a combined annual usage of around 6.5 tonnes per annum. Pentagon also looks at other elements such as the coring out of a product to reduce the volume of plastic used for product manufacture while ensuring the product will remain fit for purpose.
Pentagon adopts a conscientious approach to mould tool design with a keen focus on negating the need for waste plastics in processing. Optimal cavitation, utilisation of hot runner systems, minimising waste, improving yields, and optimising the process are all considerations.
Through a measured and documented trialling process, the moulding technicians ensure that all trial settings and their effects are recorded so as not to repeat processing errors causing excess waste at the development phase. Once optimum processing settings are achieved, all documentation is held against product records for reference. Should any processing issues manifest in future production runs, Pentagon ensures they are documented and process improvements are implemented.
When a customer product reaches the final production stages, Pentagon’s technicians deliver process optimisation to eliminate the production of waste product, supported by its expansive quality control processes means that regular patrol inspections ensure any substandard product is picked up at the earliest opportunity and any processing issues are rectified to minimise the production of waste product.
Having several experienced quality inspectors allows the company to operate a concise waste mitigation programme through quality control, continual monitoring, and reducing scrappage throughout the injection moulding process.
Scrap rates are monitored and recorded; where viable waste product is reground on-site and used to manufacture prizes for giveaways at company trade shows, including coasters or large paperclips. All other waste is disposed of appropriately according to specific regulations.
In broader terms of the business, Pentagon’s sustainability committee is also working on several other initiatives, including:
- Conscientious purchasing of new equipment and machinery
- Sustainable packaging options
- Installation of hand dryers
- Paperless process and print reduction
- Installation of mains water drinking machines
- Conscientious stationery and sundry supplies
- Supply partners with detailed sustainability and ethical commitments considered
As a UK manufacturer, Pentagon recognises its environmental responsibility, and that consideration needs to flow through all areas of the business to ensure that it is maximising its sustainability efforts.
If you are looking for a UK-based injection moulding supplier with a firm and proven commitment to the environment, contact Pentagon Plastics on 01403 264397 or email email@example.com. Alternatively, click here to read more news from Pentagon Plastics.