Why High-Quality Machinery can Prove Less Expensive – Dave Crone of Omega Plastics

Omega Plastics Group Owner – Dave Crone
Omega Plastics Group Owner – Dave Crone

Specialising in custom, multiple-use plastic injection mouldings and rapid tooling for the automotive, healthcare and FMCG industries, Omega Plastics Group has always enjoyed continued growth since its acquisition in 2005 by Chris Thompson and Dave Crone. The purchase in 2015 of high volume, plastic injection moulding specialist, Signal Plastics, further contributed to the growth of the group.

In December 2016, the Group relocated Signal Plastics to a larger 42,700 sq ft factory unit in Bentall Business Park, Washington and invested over £1 million in new injection moulding equipment.

Additional contracts with new and existing customers, including a recent £3 million contract with an OEM specialising in domestic and commercial heating, has led the company to make a strategic decision to merge its two Omega Plastics sites in Blyth and Hartlepool into one, significantly larger 45,000 sq ft facility.

Omega has always invested in the best equipment available for a particular application, whether CNC milling or injection moulding.  We asked the company Chairman, Dave Crone, why this is the case?

“We are of course, fully aware that there is a myriad of equipment suppliers to choose from, especially now that import tariffs imposed in the States have shifted the focus of Chinese manufacturers to Europe.  Our expansion has required significant expenditure on new toolmaking, injection moulding and ancillary equipment, so we could have easily justified a move to cheaper OEM’s.”

“In some cases, we have had comments from staff members about a particular job being simple to run, so not needing all the ‘bells and whistles’.  They do, of course, have a point, but in my experience, the more costly brands are often less expensive in the long run.  Even when the time comes to replace the equipment, residual values are many times higher, making a significant contribution to our deposit.”

“Despite having the extra space at our new Team Valley site, we need to make sure we get the most out of every square foot of our production facility.  In the case of our mould shop, manufacturers such as Negri Bossi offer superior tie bar spacings and mould height when compared to ‘cost-driven’ machines of similar tonnage.  You would often need to buy a ‘size up’ in order to get a similar specification, increasing the machine’s footprint, as well as narrowing the price differential”

“We also see that a continual R&D programme is a priority with European and Japanese brands, as they need to keep a ‘step ahead’ of less expensive competitors.  In my experience their equipment has superior levels of control and accuracy, and generally, produce more product for less energy”.

“Continuity of supply is a major concern for our customers, so it follows that our equipment must have minimal downtime.  Even the most expensive and well-engineered equipment can suffer a breakdown, so knowing that we are dealing with a genuine UK based subsidiary, rather than an agency is essential.  We also know that all spare components for all machine models can’t practically or economically be held in the UK, so a rapid transit time from the OEM’s primary site is also a factor we consider”

“Finally, we have to think about how we present ourselves to our current and potential customers.  We openly claim that Omega Plastics Group is one of the countries most advanced and technically competent toolmakers and plastic injection moulding companies.  When a customer visits either of our sites, they can see that we have both the people and infrastructure to back this up.”