Our next stop was at extrusion, RIM and PU experts, Cellular Mouldings. We met with their M.D. Peter Matthews, who gave us a tour of their diverse facility and explained their unique ability to provide a solution for even the most technically demanding projects.
Trading since 1972, Cellular Mouldings Ltd started as a division of Parker Shoe in Kettering, initially concentrating on the production of moulded foam soles. The company quickly grew and diversified, the acquisition of Rim-Cast in 2003 adding RIM (Reaction Injection Moulding) capability, closely followed by substantial investment in extrusion and co-extrusion equipment in 2004. This expansion resulted in Cellular Mouldings operating from several isolated manufacturing units, so in 2010, all production was consolidated into a single, much larger facility in Corby.
The company now serves over 400 customers, offering a diverse range of moulding solutions to clients in sectors including healthcare, transport and leisure. Whether products are required in volumes involving single figures, or over 10,000 parts per annum, the company provides a ‘true’ trade moulding shop that is both adaptable and diverse.
During our tour of the facility, Peter showed us some examples of their work, and we were particularly surprised to see the large physical size and level of complexity that could be achieved at an economical price point. A good example would be an electronic housing for a radar system with numerous internal threaded inserts and a high gloss external finish.
We also witnessed In-Mould Paint being applied to the inside of an aluminium mould during the production of integral skin foam components. The paint chemically bonds to the surface of the component during the Polyurethane RIM process.
Peter Matthews, Managing Director of Cellular Mouldings, commented: “Very few people appreciate the diversity of specialities that come under the ‘umbrella’ of PU moulding. As well as rigid products, such as those produced using Structural Foams and the RIM process, we over items using Integral Skin Foams, Insulation Foams and Cushion foams.
“To be clear, we aren’t talking about cutting a shape out of an existing foam sheet, these processes all allow a ‘formed’ shape to be achieved through the injection of material into a mould. For example, we produce a lot of Integral Skin products for the healthcare sector that requires a softer core coupled with a tough outer skin impregnated with anti-microbial agents.”
We took the opportunity of this very informative site visit to gain a better understanding of when PU Moulding should be a consideration, as opposed to other better-known moulding processes. We asked Peter to clarify this for both ourselves and our readers:
“It isn’t just lower tooling costs when compared to processes like standard injection moulding that should be a consideration. For example, we can produce components without concerns about cosmetic defects such as sinking, or issues resulting from wide variations in wall thickness.
“We can manufacture bespoke items in relatively short production runs, and with a cost and level of finish that simply can’t be achieved using other processes. We like to be involved with a product’s development from day one, as we can provide much greater design flexibility than is achievable with other manufacturing methods.”
Cellular Mouldings is also an extrusion specialist, CM Extrusions operating four separate extrusion lines, with a fifth planned in 2020. All lines are capable of producing both Rigid, Flexible and Co-extruded profiles at extremely competitive prices. Peter added:
“We offer low volume production at high volume prices, as well as having the necessary capacity to produce high volume production runs when required. We specialise in producing bespoke profiles to our client’s exacting requirements, but also have a large number of seals and gaskets that can be supplied to order from our significant stock of profiles.”
Finally, we asked Peter if Cellular Mouldings had a particular message to pass on to our readers?
“If it’s a plastic component you need, but you can’t get it made for technical or economic reasons, then you should talk to us!”
Look out for the next edition of ‘PlastikCity on Tour’ to learn more about our excellent UK based partners.
There are now well over 200 active partners represented on the PlastikCity site, many of which offer highly specialised products or services to our sector.
During our everyday course of business, we’ll be making a point of visiting as many of these partners as we can and using the time to better understand what they offer the market. We’ll then showcase them through this ongoing series of articles.
Maybe you can benefit from their services!