Plastek UK has announced the successful culmination of a three year project with clients Unilever to create a radically different new actuator for their Sure brand of men’s deodorants.
This truly global project, initiated by Unilever in 2010, will soon see a radical new design of actuator on the popular range of Sure aerosol deodorants. Aiming to develop a solution which incorporated class-leading new functionality and stylish good looks with direct appeal to a masculine aesthetic, Unilever chose to work with the legendary Italian design gurus at Pininfarina. When it came to manufacturing and assembling the complex, five-component design, however, Unilever were confident in the skills of long-term manufacturing partners Plastek Group to join the development team.
Plastek UK has been involved throughout the last three years of product and tool development and redesign, but has played its key role in implementing the means by which the five individual components could be manufactured and assembled to the high quality requirements and exacting timescale of the total project. This has meant a significant investment by Plastek in new injection moulding machines from Ferromatik, including one with a turntable for cube technology to handle the most advanced high cavitation moulds.
Plastek has also installed highly advanced CMM measuring machinery, and high speed automated assembly equipment incorporating automatic camera-controlled quality inspection.
“This type of project is hugely demanding in terms of expertise, experience and scrupulous planning,” said Plastek UK General Manager Mick Shaw. “Yes, there has been a great investment in new equipment, but that would be worth nothing without the development of the measurement and standardisation protocols which allow our teams to produce these complex components to the required levels of accuracy in a completely consistent manner. That’s where the project succeeds or fails.”
“The two high speed assembly units will be producing multiple millions of actuators every month and the importance of this project to Unilever is mirrored by the enormous effort that has been made within Plastek UK to ensure a trouble-free implementation. Accordingly, we have been able to relocate existing machinery and deploy the new facilities without any interruption of supplies to other clients, and the new manufacturing cell employs sophisticated new material feeding systems from Colortronic and Motan, the latest two-shot cube moulding technology, and conveyor feeding of moulded parts to assembly to minimise labour and provide assured quality control. We’ve been delighted to carry out complex projects for our partners at Unilever on several occasions, but this has been one of the most involved and all-encompassing, and we are delighted to have pulled it off so successfully.”
The new actuators are now in full production and, besides the valuable on-shelf presence of their eye-catching good looks, feature a soft-touch, anti-slip button and a unique locking mechanism.