So Lets Recap !
Good evening Ladies & Gents, great to see from yesterday’s post that you are equally excited as we are about the new production line 😊. Looking back over the last 18 month we started our upgrades with our Drying, Conveying & Colouring Equipment, this alone was a massive step forward. Overhauling a largely manual process that required a large amount of lifting and physical work to just get the material through colouring and into the drying stage. When this equipment arrived, it allowed for us to plan for the next stage of development “The Production Line”. With the front end now sorted with the new equipment this allowed more time to start looking at production and see what major improvements could be done.
Our goal was to have line two up and running and outputting PETG for Christmas however that quickly passed us by with the demand for PLA continuing to rise and out stripping any free time we had. Then came January and the 2nd lock down, we came back to work after the festive period shut down to an overwhelming number of orders, the amazing work our small team had done on the previous months had been wiped out overnight. It wasn’t until the end of Feb that we could start testing with our 2nd line again. Compounding this was a UK shortage of Cardboard, at one stage we totally ran out of our new box’s and card sheet and had to revert back to an older spec from a previous supplier for a number of weeks. In some way the 2nd lock down was more challenging than the first. Mainly because the expectation was a return to some normality, but most industries were really struggling at this stage and everything was stretched.
So Testing the 2nd line how did it go? Good but it became clear that our production method was not suitable to produce PETG. We currently spool the days production of filament on to large master spool, these master spool runs for just over 45 mins before they need to be swapped out for an empty spool. Once full they are placed in the dispatcher to check both the filament for errors and brake down into our 1KG spools. One major issue was just keeping it dry, as at the very least it would be around 2 hours possibly a number of days just waiting or being processed. We spend 4 hours drying the material, but all this is undone within 15 minute if left in the open environment. This time caused us issues, and we took the painful decision to delay its release once again.
Before we knew it Easter had come and gone, we still didn’t have a solution to keep the PETG dry! The decision had been made for us really, we are going to take everything we have learned and have a custom production line made for us! Next stage was to find a manufacture and set to work on our “Filament Bucket List”. Over the next few month’s we did a lot of planning, back on forth with multiple manufactures as we pinned down what we needed from the production line in terms of output and features. Finally, in May we signed on the dotted line and the build of our very own bespoke production line started! Working closely with the manufacture has allowed us to have a production line that will bring our filament in-line with some of the best filament in the world with features which are becoming mandatory these days
Thank you for your time :-) and sorry about the length !