News

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.

1300T

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.

recycling

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 plastic 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.

0013

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 sales@omega-plastics.co.uk , 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 industry. As packaging changes and grows, so does the consumer – requiring packaging companies to alter their strategies and packaging itself.

packaging

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.

dave_gary

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!

Omega Set for 50% Increase in Turnover

Over the past eighteen months Omega has been through a substantial growth period and this year we are set for a 50% increase in turnover.

sales2

Following our merge with Signal Plastics and an ever-growing order book it is projected that our turnover will hit £8.5 million this year.

In order to service this we have made significant investment in our sales and marketing team over the past two years and our once two man team is now a team of six.

Now in his 18th month at Omega and heading up the sales team is our Technical Sales Director Norman Hoggett. Assisting our Business Development Managers, Norman manages all incoming sales enquiries and oversees customer relationships.

In total we now have three Business Development Managers across the company; Michael Winship – North Business Development Manager, Andy Smith – South Business Development Manager and Paul Walker – Automotive Business Development Manager.

Together they bring in business from across the UK and overseas supported by our marketing team Jonathan Galloway and Megan Carr.

“Looking ahead, the next 12 months promise to be an exciting time for the business. Our key priorities include further investment in people, plant and machinery as we work to establish Omega Plastics as the premier supplier in the prototype and production tooling and injection moulding industry throughout the UK.” – Norman Hoggett, Technical Sales Director

The Increase of Point of Care Testing

Over the years we have seen healthcare institutes become increasingly complex. Stressful environments, limited resources and constrained budgets are among many reasons as to why this is happening, and with a higher demand than ever for quality care, there are countless medical facilities adopting point or care testing (POCT).

medical_img

POCT is defined as medical diagnostic testing which takes place at or near the point of care. By implementing these new processes, healthcare professionals are able to bring the test conveniently and immediately to the patient allowing instant clinical management decisions to be made.

Advantages of using POCT are infinite. They include acceleration of patient decision making, improvement of efficiencies, reduction of potential errors and staff burdens and alleviation of pressure on lab technicians.

While POCT is no longer in its infancy, there are still a lot of developments taking place to broaden the amount of tests that are able to be carried out. Additionally there are also developments taking place to improve point of care testing devices.

In a previous news story we spoke about the developments of healthcare and medical devices and how, arguably, modern healthcare would be impossible without the versatility of today’s plastics.
Medical device manufacturing, including POCT devices, is something we have a lot of experience in.

Being one of our primary market sectors, we can offer a wide range of services to the medical industry including an ISO class 8 cleanroom.

You can read more about our experience with medical device manufacturing on our medical case study page. Alternatively why not take a look at our two minute services video.

Re-Shoring of Automotive Manufacturing

Over the past ten years the automotive industry has experienced its fair share of turbulence. With the economic crisis being a critical factor, 2008-10 was a struggle for many trades, and combined with a substantial price increase of automotive fuels, the automotive market definitely felt the pain.

automotive_manufacturing

In order to bounce back, we saw vast amount of car manufacturers reach out to China for their reduced automotive taxes and cheap labour. However in the past three years we have seen a considerable shift. Attractive taxation, regulation, labour flexibility and overall business environment seems to be have been the main drivers for the re-shoring of automotive manufacturing back to the UK.

The UK is currently the second largest producer of premium cars. Amplified and continuous opportunity saw 2015 bring a 10 year high for car manufacturing and 3.9% growth from the previous year. Moving forward, employment in the industry is set to remain rising alongside the forecasted vehicle output to reach 2 million by 2020 – beating the UK’s 1972 record of 1.92 million cars.

All of this affirms the UK’s place as a centre of excellence for manufacturing and the strength of the UK automotive industry.

Additionally, due to new government regulations and the more desired light weight car, many automotive manufacturers are now adopting metal replacement and a significant increase of plastic is now being used in cars and is set to continue. You can read more about that in a previous news story.

Why not read about our recent merge with Signal Plastics – a high volume automotive plastic injection moulding company. Alternatively, to learn more about our services why not check out our two minute services video.

Apprentices Help Omega Tool-up for Growth

Over the past five years we have been investing in an apprenticeship program in order to bolster our tool-making team. On top of that our sister company Signal Plastics have also been investing in production apprentices at their Washington site.

BOYS

18 year olds Luke McMorris and Justin Fairbairn, and Dan Gray, 19, are completing their studies and HNCs at Hartlepool and Northumberland Colleges respectively during their three-year apprenticeships, which will equip them with the skills and grounding needed to develop their careers here as skilled precision toolmakers of Omega Plastics.

Signal Plastics apprentices Adam Cook and Jordan Dale have already studied at colleges in South Shields and Gateshead and will complete their apprenticeships before pursuing careers in manufacturing as part of Signal Plastics, which is now part of the Omega Group.

The group was formed late 2015, providing services and technical expertise to automotive, medical, electronics and FMCG customers and as part of our commitment to invest in improving our skills base, our apprenticeship program will only grow from here.

LUKE

Our Group managing director Dave Crone said: “Luke, Dan, Justin, Jordan and Adam will gain important skills while they are with us as well as bringing new ideas, creativity and youthful enthusiasm to the workforce.

“Apprenticeships aren’t just for the larger companies. They are a cost-effective way for smaller, highly specialised firms like us to train the workforce to a high standard and make the business more competitive.”

The Future of Plastics in Automotive

Plastics in Automotive – a previous news story, spoke about how there has been a dramatic increase in the number of plastics used within car manufacturing. Due to new government regulations, car manufacturers are adopting new materials in order to make their cars lighter.

auto-parts

More recent research has found that by 2020 the use of plastics in automotive will increase by 75% meaning that the average car will incorporate 350kg of plastic, up from 200kg in 2014.

While the plastics industry have been working to replace a lot of metal used in car manufacturing, they are also well underway with replacing glass used in cars. In fact, almost every car today has polycarbonate headlights and rear lamps. The next target for plastic manufacturers is windows.

On top of this development many car manufacturers are now looking into ways they can make their vehicles more sustainable by using recyclable plastics. One company in particular who are putting this into action is Lexus.

Lexus aims to make 95% of their cars recyclable, hence the reason why they are exploring new and interesting materials including sweet potato, corn and sugarcane.

While there are different types of plastics with recyclable characteristics – including PET and bio-PET, Lexus are well-known for using PLA which is produced from the fermentation of corn starch. With the ability to be produced with 65% less energy than conventional plastics, Lexus utilise PLA, along with sweet potato starch, to manufacture the interior plastic in some of their models, including the Lexus RX.

So what does this mean for the future of automotive and plastic manufacturers? The opportunities seem to be endless. With the projected increase of plastic and the adoption of sustainable materials, who knows? Maybe one day we will be driving cars made out of the same things we can buy in our food shopping.

Automotive manufacturing is something that we, as the Omega Group, pride ourselves on. With the recent merge of Omega Plastics and Signal Plastics our moulding capabilities of 30-1300t now allow us to cater for high volume projects and heavy investment in an all-new 5-axis CNC machining centre has also increased our tooling abilities to cater for the automotive market. Additionally our plans to implement TS 16949 are well underway enabling us to better service our automotive customers.

To make an enquiry about a project you have please use our online enquiry form.