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Breaking the mould to take plastics firm to next level

A Hull plastics company is staying true to its roots after forging a future on an industrial estate in the city. Jim Coldwell finds out more about the expanding firm
(Excerpt from Hull Daily Mail - Wednesday June 26 2013)

Advanced Plastics Ltd began life in a small industrial unit at Sutton Fields Industrial Estate more than 20 years ago. Two decades on and the firm employs about 90 people, many from surrounding areas in north Hull such as Kingswood, Bransholme and Orchard Park.

Since its foundation, the company has moved and expanded across Sutton Fields and has become a flagship firm on the estate after acquiring and renovated the former Greif/Van Leer factory.

Chris Pearson, director at Advanced Plastics, said he is proud of the company's association with Hull and, in particular Sutton Fields.

He said: "We completely stripped the building back to its frame and re-shelled it, placing particular emphasis on the external appearance of the building and the landscaping, conscious that it is one the first buildings you see when approaching Sutton Fields from the north west.

"We certainly feel we uplifted the initial impression of the estate when it is approached from this direction.

"As important as the appearance of the building was the energy efficiency, which in the building incorporating the highest levels of insulation and being fitted with the latest technology in energy-efficient lighting, heating and factory services".

In recognition of the company's ongoing actions to reduce its carbon footprint, it recently achieved ISO14001 certification.

Many of the staff at Advanced Plastics have climbed the ranks within the company from junior positions, something that Mr Pearson believes is key to the Company's success.

From its base in Bergen Way, it produces plastic components and assemblies for a range of sectors including packaging for retailer Marks & Spencer, car components for leading manufacturers Jaguar, Ford and Toyota, as well as components supplied to Hull companies Ideal Heating, Donaldson and Swift Leisure.

With Advanced Plastics' client base growing and orders flooding in, Mr Pearson says the future is bright for the firm.

He said: "We have grown at 15 per cent a year for the past five years and our growth forecast continues at a similar level for the foreseeable future.

"This comes as a result of us providing outstanding levels of technical innovation, customer service, product quality and competitive pricing, resulting in repeat
orders and customers forming strategic partnerships with us for the supply of all of their plastic injection moulding needs.

"We offer a full service, from product concept to mass production for small independent customers, through to major global blue chip clients.

The company says it is seeing an increasing number of UK customers favouring UK services over perceived lower-cost ones from outside the country.

It is tapping into that trend, having recently secured a contract to manufacture parts for a Norwich company that were previously imported from Malaysia.

With Advanced Plastics using manufacturing best practice techniques, Mr Pearson feels Advanced Plastics remains a step ahead of its competitors due to its high-quality manufacturing.

He said: "We work to world-class standards of manufacturing excellence, adopting many tools and techniques used by some of the best manufacturing companies in the world, such as Toyota.

"This will be endorsed later this year when we are scheduled to achieve the globally recognised automotive standard TS16949, which is only held by a handful of plastic injection molding companies in the UK.

Mr Pearson said the company is seeking larger volume clients for its plastic injection mouldings and associated He said: "We have available capacity the space and financial means to further expand.

"A recent £500,000 investment in a molding machine with 1500-tonne clamp force also means we can offer much larger components than we could make before."

The company also places particular emphasis on keeping its website fresh and up-to-date to drive business.

Advanced Plastics