adds value to counter low labour cost competition"
featured in British Plastics &
Rubber February 2004
As production of plastic mouldings moves evermore towards
lower cost manufacturing bases, UK moulding companies are looking to add value to their
product. The trend has grown significantly in the last decade, and is now at the heart of
automobile manufacture, and is growing in other industries supplying technically complex
products. This ranges from the addition of small mechanisms such as hinges and locks,
plastic fluid handling components such as pipes and tanks, electrical assemblies, through
to large moulded modules such as bumpers and cockpit assemblies.
In most of these cases, the moulding represents physically
the bulk of the supply, but the company significantly adds value by assembling the
mechanism with pins, springs, wires and fastenings, or, in the case of modules, assembles
electrical wiring, instruments, lamps, sensors and trim parts. The benefit to the OEM is
that assemblies can be efficiently put together and fully tested off line, fitting simply
and effectively into the supply chain.
Systems to facilitate this value addition have been built
by TQC for more than 25 years, covering automated assembly of inserts, fastening devices,
electrical parts and other sub assemblies into mouldings. These have included robotic,
indexing, rotary and pallet based assembly systems for plastic moulded assemblies, often
involving some form of function, electrical or leak test. These have included both fully
and semi automated systems.
Although it might seem logical to fully automate any
system, says the company, it is often better to go semi automatic, particularly where
dextrous handling or complex visual inspection is necessary. Much of what TQC supply to
the automotive industry falls into this category, particularly when assembling large
modules with a large number of individual build variations.
TQCs range of assembly machines uses bar coded or
downloaded build information to determine the make up of each individual module, and
checks for presence and function as each part is assembled to the moulding. Correct build
is assured, as the system does not release the assembly if any part is missing or does not
For more stories similar to this please visit the British
Plastics & Rubber website at www.polymer-age.co.uk.