Wednesday, January 24, 2018

News: Awards success for OnePlastics apprentice


An apprentice at the state-of-the-art OnePlastics Rotherham facility has picked up a major industry apprenticeship award for his role in helping the UK's largest manufacturer of wheelie bins reduce the cost of its production processes by more than £135,000 a year.

MGB Plastics is part of the OnePlastics group and the Barbot Hall Industrial Estate facility produces around two million wheelie bins per year.

Oliver Marsh, a University of Sheffield AMRC Training Centre apprentice working at OnePlastics, was the clear winner in the plastic industry's equivalent of the Oscars – Polymer Apprentice of the Year Award, the official ceremony for which will be held in London next month.

Barnsley-born Oliver, said: "It's a privilege and an honour to get this award. Working at MGB has been brilliant; the company has given so much support and encouragement. My mentors at work have taught me how to use lean techniques and processes to drive improvements in productivity and performance."


Having recently invested more than £25m in advanced technology, including a further 2700 tonne Krauss Maffei injection moulding machine, the company was equally keen to invest in its human capital: training the next generation of polymer engineers who will maximise the impact of this investment in its three plants at Rotherham, Tamworth and Hull.

Gary Blanshard, technical manager at MGB Plastics, said: "We decided that the best way forward was to get someone on board who had no pre-conceived ideas of how things should be done. The only way to do this was to train them from scratch.

"We invited the AMRC Training Centre to visit us and discuss what they could offer in the way of apprenticeships. They then advertised for a Technical Apprentice and created a short list of candidates. After an extensive interviewing, Oliver was offered the position and began his apprenticeship with us.

"Having gained knowledge of CAD at the AMRC Training Centre, he has used this to great effect with us. He used CAD to model the fit of our lids, which some customers had identified as an issue, and found a mismatch between the hinge fixing pin and the bin mating hole. He redesigned the pin and improved the tolerances using CAD. Having tested a prototype and run moulding trails on the new hinge pin, he proved out the fit and function through assembly trials."

It is Oliver's work in improving the moulding process that has most impressed the company. By using the lean principles taught to him by his close mentors at the plant, the change-over process from one council crest to another has turned the operation "into the polymer equivalent of a Formula One pit stop – fast, efficient and very slick."

Bosses estimate that this improvement alone is saving the business in excess of £137,000 a year by getting the plate changes down to just 34 seconds from ten minutes.

The 21-year-old apprentice is now looking at how the firm's existing equipment might need to be uplifted to meet new standards for the industry. "If there is a productivity-critical issue, Oliver is in the mix," added Blanshard.

MGB Plastics website
AMRC Training Centre website

Images: UKSE


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