Trade injection moulder First Press has overcome problems in its production process to celebrate its twentieth year in business this week with a £140,000 order.
The firm, which employs 19 people at its site in Moseley, Birmingham, manufactures a wide range of made to order plasticmoulded products for household products, vacuum cleaners and toys.
But it had to overcome an inherent quality issue to secure the new order with a British central heater manufacturer and continue its ten year relationship with them.
It used to dump seven out of every ten of its plastic clear lenses which are used in the boiler display panel of central heating systems.
But the problem, which involved a bubble forming in the plastic, has been resolved after managing director Zaid Aziz contacted Shirli Bailes of Telford-based polymer experts PTL.
Mr Aziz said: "We have always found ourselves in a position to react quickly to the needs of our customers. We did not want this situation to be any different.
"The clear plastic component - the LED warning light feature on the control panel of a central heating system - had developed an unacceptable void during the manufacturing process.
"We rapidly needed to find a solution."
Ms Bailes was confident that PTL had both the technology and the expertise to assist First Press and swiftly contacted Roy Pulley of the Manufacturing Advisory Service West Midlands to discuss the funding of a project to remedy the fault.
She said: "Our expertise in polymer materials meant that we were the ideal organisation to find a solution to their problem. We were also keen to impart valuable knowledge to the team at First Press not only to help them secure the outstanding order but to help them to overcome future technical polymer issues. "
MAS-WM agreed to fund the research and implementation project facilitated by PTL's technical advisor Darren Vater-Hutchison.
Mr Vater-Hutchison undertook mould flow analysis to eliminate the possibility of poor gate design and position. PTL then went onto conduct a two-day trial with the mould and material in an attempt to cure the void.
Mr Vater-Hutchison also spent time at First Press, working with the team to reconfigure the machines to achieve the required quality standard.
Mr Pulley said: " Through hands-on manufacturing support, First Press was able to improve its delivery performance with a consistent product that met the quality requirements of the customer."
Reduced cycle times meant that the products could now be supplied on time and more efficiently and reduce the scrap rate from 77 to less than five per cent, saving the firm £21,000 per year.
Mr Pulley said: "Not only did the project help safeguard jobs but it also resulted in a transfer of valuable knowledge to the team who have subsequently gone on to add value and make improvements to further products including a product with a similar recurring issue."
Mr Aziz said: "We are pleased to be celebrating our 20th year in business. Over the years we have grown from three people and six machines to 19 people and 15 high-tech machines.
"Staying in touch with our customers and acting quickly to their needs has been the key to our customer relations."