Barkley Plastics and MAN Group collaborate to produce new ‘reusable’ visors for frontline staff

The Manufacturing Assembly Network, which employs over 2000 people across 21 factories, has invested more than £30,000 into the design and manufacture of the manKIND Visor, an easy to assemble and reusable visor that is more comfortable than the current options available.
The collective took six weeks from initial concept and prototyping to create a bespoke tool at Barkley Plastics able to produce 500,000 units every year.

MANKind Visor on Birmingham TV

The first 20,000 are being donated to charitable causes, with South Warwickshire NHS Trust, Heartlands Hospital, Birmingham Children’s Hospital, New Cross Hospital in Wolverhampton, Support Staffordshire, a large amount care homes and the Pen Museum in Birmingham some of the first recipients to benefit.
Once this allocation has been finalised, the manKIND visor will then be sold directly to healthcare organisations, schools, retailers and businesses looking to safely return to work.
Central to the success of the manKIND visor was the development of the mould tool and this challenge was taken up by Birmingham-based Barkley Plastics.
It took 5 toolmakers, including a young engineer who had just completed his apprenticeship, three weeks to come up with a solution, with the most intricate part being the area that makes the adjustable strap.

The final tool will last for millions of parts and can produce between 8,000 and 12,000 units per week.

With nearly all 20,000 donated items ready for dispatch, Grove Design and pressings specialist Brandauer are now taking the manKIND visor commercial and making it available to NHS Trusts, the healthcare sector, retailers, leisure and manufacturers who can’t socially distance.
“We initially started 3D printing and distributing a few visors to help the NHS, but quickly realised we needed a more robust production method to keep up with demand,” explained Austin Owens, Founder of Grove Design and the driving force behind the project.
“This is when we approached other members in the MAN Group to look at options and came up with the plan to design and develop our own version, tapping into Barkley Plastics’ toolmaking and moulding expertise and the collective’s supply chain capability for sourcing the right materials and distribution.”

Matt Harwood, Business Development Manager at Barkley Plastics, went on to add:
“This is a fantastic effort from the MAN Group and shows what can be achieved in a short timeframe when manufacturers pool resources and expertise. The first 20,000 are being delivered now to frontline workers and this will hopefully go a long way to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and protect lives.
“The way our visor has been designed should also make wearing them for longer periods slightly easier and, we know from feedback received from medical professionals, this will be a very welcome feature.”

Rachel Williams, Associate Director of Operations at South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust, who received 10,000 visors added: “We are extremely grateful to the Manufacturing Assembly Network for using its skills and expertise to provide our frontline workers with manKIND visors that have helped protect themselves and our patients during the Coronavirus pandemic. It is very humbling to see how local organisations have come together to help the NHS at this difficult time.”

From just £1.87 per visor depending on minimum order quantity, it offers a high quality, comfortable and cost-effective option to protect frontline staff and can be purchased via www.mankindvisor.co.uk, through Brandauer’s eBay page and a growing number of distributors.

Barkley Plastics celebrates 55 years in Business – March 2020

A £250,000 investment in new presses and robots is proving to be a perfect ‘big’ birthday present for a leading plastic injection moulding and toolmaking specialist.

Barkley Plastics, which employs 120 people at its Highgate facility in Birmingham, is celebrating 55 years of business by increasing its capacity to help take on new orders it has won in interior parts and lighting for the automotive sector.

The latest installation takes its total capital machinery spend to over £800,000 in the last five years and highlights the firm’s desire to move into more cosmetic and technical products that require industry-leading processing accuracy.

It marks another step-change in what has been a colourful history for the manufacturer, who started life after founder John Barkley placed a job advert for four toolmakers in the Birmingham Evening Mail.

In the 55 years that followed, the company has evolved its offer to remain a strategic supplier to the automotive sector, whilst also building a strong reputation in the domestic products, construction, electrical and leisure sectors, not to mention producing 20,000 plastic baubles for the world’s largest chandelier – used at the Winter Olympics in Sochi.

“Things have never been quiet over the last 55 years, but I suppose that’s UK manufacturing for you,” explained Mark Harwood, Managing Director at Barkley Plastics.

“We’ve already tried to stay one step ahead of what the customer wants and this is reflected in the latest process that gives us additional capacity and production control to take on more automotive work. There will also be news of a groundbreaking development in injection moulding before the end of the year.”

Mark continued: “The £250,000 investment is a perfect birthday present for us and will immediately be put to use on supporting a new project that will see us manufacture a selection of small, high volume JLR parts that will go across its range of vehicles.

“There’s no getting away from the fact that the capital spend is vital, but our people continue to be crucial to our ongoing success. We’ve got more than ten people who have been with us for forty years and David Challinor, the son of one of the founding members, only retired from the toolroom at the end of the year having given us 48 years of service.”

Barkley Plastics, which is IATF16949 accredited, has one of the largest toolmaking facilities in the UK, producing high precision tools capable of delivering 50 million mouldings for distribution throughout the UK, Europe and across the world.

It can support its expanding client base with initial design and product development, right through to manufacture and assembly, with over 40 modern moulding presses – ranging from 5 to 650 tonne – able to produce the most intricate of components.

This is evident in the creation of a dedicated interior lighting assembly cell to mainly support a new project for the Nissan Juke, which has now gone into full production.

Technical Director Pete Tedd, who will take over as MD when Mark moves to the position of Chairman in April: “The increasing range of new electric and hybrid vehicles presents some exciting opportunities that suit our expertise, whilst work is being undertaken to increase our share of the construction, electronics, medical and retail sectors.”

“We’re predominantly a sub-contractor, but over the last few years have been looking to develop our own range of products, such as the Plasfloor floor tiles and an anti-static ESD option.”

He concluded: “This is an exciting year for Barkley Plastics and I’m looking forward to moving into the MD role next month. Succession planning is a priority for the business and we have been working hard to develop our senior management team, which will culminate in a number of new Directors being appointed in October to support our ambitious growth plans.”

BarkleyPlastics2 No Comments

Barkley Plastics 2017 investment and exhibition plans

Our 2017 investment plan

We are pleased to announce that Barkley Plastics’ first part of 2017 investment plan has arrived! Our brand new 500T Engel moulding machine with robot has been added to our press range and been commissioned, to help support the manufacture of new automotive interior components.

Exhibiting at Automechanika 2017

We will also be showcasing our abilities at Automechanika Birmingham this June, the UK’s leading exhibition for the automotive supply chain.

The event provides a one stop shop to meeting the who’s who of the industry, discovering new technologies and seeing a packed programme of seminars and live technical demonstrations from industry experts.

Come visit us on stand 6D141 on the 6-8th June. Find out more

500T Engel 2017

Barkley Plastics joins West Midlands showcase at Advanced Engineering UK 2015

  • Highgate-based Barkley Plastics partners with Drive West Midlands to raise profile of region’s automotive sector
  • 13,000 visitors and over 750 exhibitors expected at Birmingham’s NEC for UK’s largest annual engineering exhibition

Barkley Plastics, based in Highgate, is uniting with support programme Drive West Midlands to highlight the region’s automotive expertise at this week’s Advanced Engineering UK 2015 (4-5 November, NEC, Birmingham).

The plastic injection and toolmaking specialist will take part in a delegation – comprising private sector companies from the West Midlands’ six Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) – to showcase its services and cutting-edge technology to the wider engineering market.

Read more

Barkley Plastics install brand new 2015 Negri Bossi 650T Press

Barkley Plastics invest £500,000 on new equipment for mouldings for the new Land Rover Discovery Vehicle being launched 2016. The brand new Negri Bossi 650T has now arrived and is operational within the plant.  Capable of 2.5kg shot weight and parts that are a metre squared, it is the largest machine Barkley Plastics has ever had. For more information click here to get in touch.

To watch the video of its arrival and installation click here.