Manufacturing Bounces Back

Statistics released from the Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) have shown growth within Britain’s factories as figures grow to a 10-month high as opposed to a 41-month low recorded in July following the referendum.manufacturing

The recession in 2008 proved difficult for the manufacturing industry and is still in the process of catching up, however the latest figures offer hope for manufacturing along with a rise in employment within the industry.

In addition, with the plunge of the pound, exports have now become more attractive, however this raises concern for potential inflation as it raises the cost of imported materials for the UK.

Nevertheless, UK economists have stated how this new evidence provides optimism that the sector is getting over the initial shock of the referendum result.

Back in March we announced a projected 50% increase in turnover for this year following our merge with sister company Signal Plastics and with continuous growth we are still heading to hit this target.

The Importance of Plastic in Today’s Society

“The plastics industry is one of the major strengths of the UK manufacturing sector.” – David Hall, President British Plastics Federation.

In today’s society plastic is highly depended on by a number of industries, including aerospace and automotive. By some it may be argued that without plastic the developments made within these industries would not have been possible or at least profitable and with 170,000 people employed in the industry, accounting for 6.5% of all of those employed in the UK manufacturing sector, it is a problem for many that the plastics industry does not get the recognition it deserves.



The use of plastic within the UK is set to double over the next 20 years and by 2020 will be an industry worth in excess of $650bn.

In the UK today there are 6,200 companies that specialise in plastic, 5,200, in particular, in plastic product manufacturing, additionally the UK has one of the most highly productive plastic industries in Europe and yet throughout the UK the industry is victim to a huge skills shortage.

With pressures such as denied recognition, skills shortage and environmental sustainability, the British Plastics Federation (BPF) along with 40 companies in the plastic industry, have worked together to create an action plan, with the help of the government, to take the industry forward and continue its success.

Actions include amendments to the UK curriculum in order to ensure the presence of plastics/polymers and further investment in educating young people in order to fill the skills gap. As well as this they are encouraging organisations to get more involved in education and provide work placements and apprenticeships.

With regards to environmental sustainability, the BPF aim to continue the pressure on banning the landfilling of all recyclable and recoverable waste as well as further develop and implement the Plastics Industry Recycling Action Plan.

All of this combined with extra promotion and additional actions will increase the exposure of the plastics industry and improve its recognition as one of major strengths of the UK manufacturing sector.

The Growth of Plastic Injection Moulding

We have been talking about the popularity of plastic – a material that most industries today are adopting to develop new and existing products and has contributed to the growth of plastic injection moulding.


From car parts to medical devices, the diverse characteristics of plastic have enabled it to cater to a wide range of needs and today we are even seeing developments within the polymer market that are making plastics more environmentally friendly.

There are a various ways to manufacture plastic components, however, due to its rapid abilities and flexibility injection moulding is a favoured choice of manufacture by a number of industries.

Not only does injection moulding produce large numbers of identical components, it also manufactures them to a high quality and can do so using a wide range of materials.

With moulding capabilities ranging from 30-1300 tonnes across our three north east factories, Omega Plastics can produce high quality components weighing as little as 0.25 grams.

To make an enquiry about a project use our online enquiry form alternatively take a look at our promotional video.

UK Automotive Manufacturing Growth

We have recently been focusing on the growth and development of the automotive market within the UK looking at some statistics recently published through SMMT (Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders) and other publications providing us with some UK automotive industry updates.


2015 recorded turnover of £71.6bn in the UK automotive manufacturing industry adding £18.9bn in value to the UK economy and as developments in technology continue so will the growth of the UK automotive market. In fact latest research shows that there are 25,000 potential new jobs to be created in the automotive manufacturing industry to build connected and autonomous vehicles.

In addition automotive manufacturing remains a popular career choice for younger generations with over 74,000 young people beginning automotive engineering and manufacturing apprenticeships 2014/5.

There is currently 18 of the 20 biggest automotive suppliers with a UK base and 78,000 people employed in the industry, nevertheless research shows that there still remains £4bn worth of unfilled tier 1 supplier opportunities, proving that there is still plenty of room for growth within the UK supply chain.

Along with the growth of the automotive market, the UK have been adaptive to its needs and progress is being made within the supply chain, so much so that now 80% of components in a car can now be made in the UK. What’s more is, on average 41% of a British built car is now UK content, up from 36% in 2011.

All of this demonstrates great growth and potential in the automotive manufacturing market in the UK and as the market grows so do we.

With huge investments being made in all three of our factories and our recent ISO/TS 16949 quality accreditation, we are able provide the automotive market with an exceptional service and high quality plastic components.

Medical Devices and an Ageing Population

Between the years 2015 to 2020, research has shown that, in the UK, the number of people aged over 65 are expected to increase by 12%. What’s more is people over the age of 85 will increase by 18% and centenarians by 40%.


As the population lives longer, the economy will change and there will inevitably be an increase in demand for medical devices in the healthcare system. Prevalence of long term health conditions intensify with age, which according to a report in 2010, account for 70% of the total health and social care spending in England.

Along with increased demand on the healthcare system will come a challenge for medical companies to develop devices and services that meet the needs of the ageing population. Devices will need to get to market quickly and be more cost efficient as companies diverse their strategies for what is being described as a new user group.

The demand is to be expected across most of the medical industry; prosthetics, drug delivery systems, disposable products and device enclosures and will continue into the manufacturing industry.

In order to keep up with demand, processes such as injection moulding, CNC machining and additive manufacturing are being favoured in order to get products to market quickly.

Learn more about what we can do for medical companies and the medical devices we can create, or take a look at our medical case study page for further information.

Million Pound Investment Drives Growth

Supported by Let’s Grow North East, a £60m Regional Growth Fund programme operated by business services company the BE Group and Newcastle accountancy firm UNW LLP, we have received a £200,000 which has allowed us to drive huge investments through all three of our sites – Blyth, Hartlepool and Washington.


Our three sites complete the Omega Plastics Group, which was established in 2015 following the merger of Omega Plastics and Signal Plastics.

In the first stage of investment we have installed a 1,300 tonne plastic injection moulding machine complete with overhead robotic equipment at Signal Plastics’ facility in Washington. This £400,000 machine has enabled us to produce more and larger parts for the automotive sector, where we play a role of tier one and tier two to various car manufacturers.

Additionally, the instalment of the new machine has seen the creation of three specialist plant operators and has brought about benefits including energy efficiency.

Alan Franklin, managing director of Signal Plastics, said: “We’ve made this investment on the back of increased demand form the automotive industry. It’s a significant development in the growth of the business but we’ll see the rewards not just in terms of the extended product offer we can make to customers but also in making our process more cost effective by improving our energy efficiency.”

Andrew Frost, project adviser at the BE Group, said: “It’s very encouraging to see North East companies like Omega Plastics Group investing in new state of the art equipment which as well we driving growth is creating new, highly skilled jobs within the business. It’s great that Let’s Grow has been able to play a significant role in helping the company to achieve this.”

In April, we marked our 10th anniversary by being accredited with ISO/TS 16949:2009, the global quality standard for the automotive sector and confirmation that we remain on course to record a 50 percent increase in turnover this year to around £8.5m.

Environmental Impact of Injection Moulding

Plastic – a material used by everyone, every day.

If you take a look around chances are you are surrounded by plastic; computer frames, fire alarms, kitchen utensils, medical devices and the interior of your car.


While there are various methods to manufacture plastic products, plastic injection moulding is one of the primary approaches many companies choose to adopt, and with plastic proving to be many people’s material of choice, there is a lot of pressure to ensure that both consumer organisations and manufacturing companies are doing their best to care for the environment.

We often hear about the many negative aspects of plastic, from the pollution, to the worries about the non-biodegradable nature of the material. Although this has gained a significant amount of press coverage in recent times, the fact is, that due to its desirable characteristics, plastic remains a very useful material to us.

Nevertheless, as we move towards a more environmentally aware society, laws and regulations to target landfills and promote recycling both commercially and domestically are playing a vital part in how we are dealing with our plastic products and waste.

Additionally, there are other positive environmental aspects to plastics and plastic manufacturing that continue to have a progressive effect on our environment.

With a specific focus on the environmental impact of injection moulding – advancements in engineering means that injection moulding machinery now uses 20%-50% less energy compared to 10 years ago and energy consumption is also something that is of expressive importance.

Caused by the lightweight nature of plastics, many manufacturers are choosing polymers as an alternative to metal for their products, including vehicles and aircraft, as the shift in weight has a direct positive effect on fuel and energy savings.

Likewise, plastic today is also used in building materials and processes such as insulation and double glazing windows – all of which is helping to save and produce energy.

Plastic injection moulding is a vital process in manufacturing and due to recent developments in the market, is providing benefits not only for the UK economy but the environment.



Omega Achieve TS 16949 Accreditation

As we start the new financial year, Omega has more than one reason to celebrate. Not only are we celebrating our 10th year in business but we have also recently gained our automotive quality accreditation – ISO/TS 16949.


ISO/TS 16949 is the global standard for the automotive sector and since the company’s launch in 2006 we have experienced a significant growth in the sector.

Paul Anderson, our Group Quality Manager said:

“The automotive sector is hugely competitive throughout its supply chain and any business that has aspirations to succeed and grow within it has to consistently deliver the very highest standard. By securing this prestigious quality award in our 10th year of operation, The Omega Plastics Group has demonstrated it has the capability and experience to work alongside some of the biggest names in the industry.”

The process of securing the quality accreditation compromised of two full day audits which were conducted by LRQA, this was then followed by a four day inspection at two of our facilities – Hartlepool and Blyth.

“The auditor challenged all aspects of our business from how we receive raw materials to the dispatch of products to customers as well as closely scrutinising our internal processes such as purchasing, administration, training, measurement systems and quality control.”

As well as ISO/TS 16949 we also operate under ISO 9001 and we supply to a wide range of sectors – all of which are experiencing strong growth, in particular automotive, medical devices and FMCG.

Last month we announced a forecasted 50% increase in turnover this year.

Our Group Managing Director, Dave Crone commented:

“The business has grown exponentially since I launched it in Team Valley, Gateshead in 2006. Since then we have moved into additional and larger premises, creating more than 70 jobs and expanding our production capability. Our 2015 merger with Signal Plastics brought two successful and innovative businesses together, further strengthening our position in the market for prototype development, specialist tooling and plastic injection moulding. Achieving ISO/TS 16949:2009 provides a great springboard into our second decade.”

To learn more about what we offer to the automotive industry please contact us at , alternatively you can use our online enquiry page.

The Future of Packaging 2.0

While we have previously looked at developments and potential developments within the packaging trade, there continues to be further advancements throughout the product packaging industry. As packaging changes and grows, so does the consumer – requiring packaging companies to alter their strategies and packaging itself.


Millennials and Packaging

Born between the years of 1980-2000, millennials are due to take over the consumer market in the coming years.

Unlike generations before them, millennials are said to be more tech-savvy, they bring about social trends, are more likely to care about the state of the environment and when it comes to packaging they admit that it can be the ultimate decision-maker.

In the US it is estimated that millennials will spend approximately $65bn on consumer packaged goods over the next decade and with statistics like that packaging companies are having to re-think the way their product appeals to today’s new consumer.

Research has shown that when it comes to purchasing a product, millennials can experience a certain value of emotion towards its packaging which in turn affects their buying behaviour. Visuals of the packaging itself has proved important but today millennial consumers are also looking for convenience and are very aware of the environmental impact of their products.

Because of this we have seen a significant increase in the use of flexible packaging – non-rigid packaging structures used to package and protect products.

Flexible Packaging

Meeting the needs across all demographics and lifestyles, flexible packaging is proving extremely popular across all product ranges.

While growing at an annual rate of 3%, it is set to take over half of the food packaging market reaching 53.1% by 2018.

Not only is this eco-friendly packaging method winning the hearts of the environmentally aware, with the ageing population requiring lighter packs and easy openings, small households needing re-sealable packaging, and the younger generation wanting disposable and single use products – flexible packaging has the diverse properties to meet the needs of any consumer.

Moving forward the flexible packaging market has a projected market worth of $248bn by 2020 and has become the fastest growing packaging sector over a 10 year period.

Currently, rigid plastic holds the majority of the market share with 29.6% of packaging being manufactured from the inflexible polymer. However not far behind is flexible plastic with 26.1% market share.

All of this research provides us with an insight into what the future of packaging could possibly bring.

As highlighted throughout there is a significant desire for packaging to be more adaptable towards different lifestyles, all the while being environmentally friendly.

At Omega Plastics we have a lot of experience in the FMCG market and we have worked with a number of well-known brands including Unilever.

Offering design for manufacture services we are able to take your product right from the design concept through manufacturing and offer post mould operations and assembly.

To make an enquiry please use our online enquiry page, alternatively why not take a look at our 2 minute services video.

Omega Win Small Business Award!

After being short-listed from 20 companies down to the final 3, we were already more than happy with what we had achieved.


The North East Business Awards – Northumberland Region, was a black tie event and was hosted at the Marriott Hotel in Gosforth Park.

All in all there were 13 award categories all with 3 finalists in the running for the award. Winners on the night included Newcastle Building Society, Dawson and Sanderson and Cundall and we were up for the Small Business Award.

The companies we were up against were fantastic, both offering services of sustainability but when it came down to judging, Omega was chosen the winner due to our continuous investment in our customers, our facilities and our employees.

Through winning the regional award, we are now through to the final of the North East Business Awards which is being held at Hardwick Hall, Sedgefield on Thursday 21st April.

Fingers crossed!