PlastikCity on Tour – Great Central Plastics

PlastikCity on Tour – Great Central Plastics

Our next stop was a small village outside of Daventry, Northamptonshire, to meet Kiron Phillips and his team at Great Central Plastics. With 24 years in the industry, this family-run manufacturer takes pride in the sustainable side of moulding, a theme we explored with Kiron in more detail in the latest edition of PlastikCity on Tour.

Great Central Plastics is a family-run injection moulding company operating from a 10,500 square-foot site in Woodford Halse, a small village around 10km south of Daventry in Northamptonshire.

Founded in 1998 by Bal and Tony Phillips and experienced toolmaker Darryl Brown, the company was historically known for moulding a range of promotional products and branded merchandise, including manufacturing iconic products such as McDonald’s Happy Meal toys.

In recent years, Great Central Plastics has moved into the automotive sector and built a strong reputation as a quality supplier of automotive components and assemblies. Automotive badges have been a particular success, with around 70% of the company’s current output being high-volume, tight-tolerance badge designs, which are subsequently painted or plated before they are shipped, destined to adorn the cars of major automakers the world over.

Like many other manufacturers, Great Central recently saw a shakeup in organisation and structure due to the challenging COVID pandemic. In 2021, Managing Director Tony, and Technical Director Darryl decided to seek early retirement, passing the reins to Bal, who now acts as Managing Director, supported by her sons, Kiron and Zan, and Darryl’s son, Phil – also a toolmaker. The company very much remains a family affair, with the second generation of the Phillips and Brown family continuing the company’s legacy.

The Great Central Plastics team remains a young one, but with Kiron, Zan and all growing up alongside the business, taking part-time roles in their youth and working throughout the factory over the years, before later returning to the company after university or industry placements, meaning that the team is not short on experience. Completing the management team is Rowan Wilson, an experienced Operations Manager who is considered the elder statesman of the gang, at a youthful 38!

We met with Kiron Phillips, Great Central’s Head of Sales & Marketing, to discuss what’s changed since the management restructure, and to discover the drivers behind the company’s pursuit of sustainable plastics manufacturing.

[Pictured above L to R, Jess Clarke & Will Clarke (PlastikCity) and Mila & Kiron Phillips (Great Central Plastics.)]

So readers can gain a better understanding of Great Central Plastics’ offerings, we asked Kiron to summarise the company’s key services and which target markets they serve:

Kiron: “Historically, we’ve been known as a promotional products moulder, recognised for our range of promotional products and branded merchandise, but this is no longer our main focus.

“Automotive work now makes up the majority of our projects. We mould automotive badges for leading car manufacturers worldwide, with all products available in a variety of finishes, including painting, chrome plating, resin decals and coloured inserts.”

Tool Storage
Joe, preparing for a tool change

“We also work in the drinks industry, providing eco-friendly options on items such as ice-cube trays and shot glasses moulded from other bio-materials, which we’re able to customise thanks to our on-site toolroom.”

During the site tour, Kiron was proud to discuss the company’s on-site toolroom, and explained that Great Central Plastics retains ownership of all injection mould tooling it uses. Kiron described how this means that the company was in complete control of its projects, allowing for timely tool edits or maintenance to happen on-site to avoid costly project delays and to increase the amount of customisation that can be offered to customers.

The toolroom is operated by Phil Brown, son of the previous toolmaker and owner Darryl. I think that Phil says it best himself on the company’s ‘About Us’ page when he says: “I came to GCP to give my Dad a hand. Little did I know I was his retirement plan!”

Whether he meant to end up here or not, it was great to see a young and passionate professional plying his trade, as pictured below.

Phil Toolroom
Toolmaker Phil Brown working away on a lathe machine.

Great Central’s mould shop consists of 13 injection moulding machines from a variety of manufacturers, including Boy, Wittmann Battenfeld and Arlex, ranging from 22 to 160T clamping force. All moulding machines are fitted with the latest ancillaries and automation, enabling fully automatic 24/7 production whenever necessary.

As well as the moulding area, the factory is equipped with a separate finishing and assembly area, accommodating processes such as pad printing, hot foil stamping and more.

It sounds like you’ve had an eventful few years! How has the business changed since the management restructure, and how have you been getting on in your new role?

Kiron: “Yes, it’s been a very busy couple of years! We’re a young team, but we’ve grown up alongside the business, so we’re very invested, motivated, and driven to make it a success.

“Throughout the years, I’ve worked in many different areas of the company, but my role as Head of Sales and Marketing means I’m now responsible for the day-to-day sales activity, for finding new business and deciding which routes and projects we take on, as well as promoting our company’s expertise to the market.

“I’m supported by Rowan, our Head of Ops, who has lots of experience in the industry and brings lots of technical expertise to the company. My brother Zan looks after the financials, and toolmaker Phil runs our toolroom. My Mum Bal was previously HR Director, now Managing Director, so she is the boss,  and oversees the general running of the business whilst we look after more day-to-day operations.

“Since the changes, I’ve taken on more responsibility, and I really want to push the company forward in a positive direction. Partly this has involved changing the sectors we’re focused on, as we made the decision to move away from promotional plastic products as our main focus a few years back, due to a variety of reasons, including concerns around plastic products and the environment, issues which are only becoming more and more apparent as time goes on.”

View from the balcony
The view from the mezzanine floor – The toolroom back left, the mould shop back right, and assembly & finishing area in the foreground.

So was it sustainability driving your change of focus? What initiatives have you introduced to support this?

Kiron: “Partially, yes. Sustainability for the preservation of the natural environment, but also sustainable business practice is about making sure our business model is robust and resilient and able to thrive for years to come. I’m aware that historically promotional products have made Great Central Plastics the company it is today, but the world is different now than 20 years ago.

“Today, we’re proud to offer our customers a wide range of eco-friendly materials to suit their project, including Styrolux, Terralene (bio-based from natural fibres), Terraprene (bio-based TPE), Bio-Flex (sugar-based PLA), and Gum-Tec (made from chewing gum waste).

“These materials can sometimes be difficult to process, but we’ve spent a lot of time and effort working on perfecting our processes, letting us reliably mould products from our eco range of materials. Some eco-materials are even food grade, so we have lots of options for customers, helped even further by the customisation and flexibility afforded to us with our on-site toolroom. This is something I’m really passionate about personally and will be a big area of focus for us moving forwards.

“As well as materials, we’ve looked at the energy consumption of the company, and as well as investing in modern, energy-efficient machinery, we installed solar panels on the roof of our factory back in 2013. The investment was almost £100,000 to cover our factory roof but serves as a clear indication of our commitment to the environment. We’re pleased to say that over one-third of the power required for our manufacturing operations is generated directly from our solar panels, helping to greatly reduce our carbon footprint.

“We also have an on-site reprocessing facility, letting us regrind our sprues, purges and scrap back into flake to reuse on further mouldings. This also lets us offer our customers products incorporating regrind or recycled material whilst keeping their costs under control.”

With this information in mind, we asked Kiron: What sets Great Central apart from its competitors?

Kiron: “I’d say two things; firstly, as a smaller family-run company, we’re approachable, flexible and can adapt to best fit our customers’ requirements. With our on-site toolroom and finishing area, we have the ability to take a project from start to finish, offering customers customisation and a diverse range of materials. Our facility is lean and efficient, meaning we can always offer first-class customer service and value for money.

“Secondly, our eco-friendly moulding. Whether your company is working to meet ESG frameworks, or you have sustainability as a core of your values, we can work in accordance with your criteria. We offer a wide range of eco-polymers, we’re centrally located in the country, and everything we offer is 100% UK-made, lowering your carbon footprint.”

Finally, we asked Kiron if Great Central Plastics has a company philosophy or mantra?

Kiron: “Eco-friendly, UK-made. Everything we do comes back to these two principles. We’re constantly looking at ways of reducing our carbon footprint, and that of our customers.

“We partner with local companies wherever possible and have forged some great relationships with manufacturers and suppliers in the Midlands and wider UK. If you’d like to discuss a project or a collaboration, please get in touch!”


Thank you to Kiron, Zan and Mila for your hospitality!


Look out for the next edition of ‘PlastikCity on Tour’ to learn more about our excellent UK-based partners.

There are now well over 260 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!


Great Central Plastics
+44 (0) 1327 264277

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