Transportation can be an expensive, but necessary part of COGs (cost of goods sold) for any business, and in competitive industries like food manufacturing and agriculture, logistics wastage can be the beginning of the end. So how can businesses reduce their logistics costs and improve their supply chain efficiency?

Focus on freight density
Freight density is the measurement of a shipment relative to its size. The higher the density, the lower your freight classification and the cost (per kilogram to transport) can be. Consider it a measure of how efficiently space is being used in transportation, relative to weight. The bigger and lighter it is, the more expensive it is to transport.

Choosing a nested storage option like A Plus Plastics’ Lock and Save Produce Bins or A Plus Plastic’s Heavy Duty Collapsible Bulk Pallet Bin means that when empty, containers can be nested into each other or collapsed avoiding the transportation of empty void or air, lowering your freight class (and allowing you to fit more into every trip). Lock and Save Produce Bins have been designed to save up to 30% in logistics wastage which can have a serious impact on the bottom line in both the short and long term.

Ship more, less often
Depending on your storage capabilities onsite, ordering bigger and holding higher stock on hand may be more cost effective than a higher volume of smaller orders with freight costs attached to each one. Logistics costs can bloat quickly to accommodate convenience so consider consolidating your orders (this can be particularly effective when your business is located outside of major metro regions).

Reshore procurement
Businesses procuring offshore have been exposed to supply chain disruptions and increased logistics costs post-pandemic. Offshore procurement has its own challenges and limitations that can exacerbate international freight costs related  lumpy logistics and mixed containers. Local manufacturers and suppliers are often as cost competitive as international suppliers and without the added costs related to international freight, can save your business significantly.

Centralise procurement
Think you’re saving by shopping with multiple suppliers? Maybe not. A centralised approach to product procurement may offer its own cost savings outside of logistics and transportation, but as a start, buying from a single supplier means one set of transportation costs. Choosing a supplier that can dispatch across Australia becomes particularly important when your business has multiple locations or is spread across more than one state.

Reducing transportation costs can facilitate serious reinvestment into other areas of your business or add some valued fat to your business’s bottom line. Focusing on freight density, optimizing your transportation model and reviewing your procurement strategy with fewer, local suppliers can save your business in transportation costs over the long term.

A Plus Plastics provides a wide range of rigid plastic containers for industries including agriculture, food manufacturing, materials handling and supply chain logistics. Proudly Australian owned with Australian made products, the A Plus Plastics range has both HACCP food grade and recycled Reprolene™ options available. For more information on how you can save on transportation costs when buying A Plus Plastics products, contact our team.

Plastic has earned a bad name over the years, with the very word conjuring images of empty plastic bottles, single use cutlery or plastic rubbish in general. On the manufacturing front however, plastics recycling and the use of recycled plastic as a raw material, has surged in recent years. As conversations around global sustainability continue, the need for businesses and individuals to take localised action to reduce their carbon footprint is now non-negotiable. As consumers we expect it, and as businesses, must proactively innovate to integrate sustainability practices into our operations.

Recycled plastic is becoming known as a material worth using, particularly in applications where strength, materials reactivity and design longevity are critical success factors in product manufacturing.

Why use recycled plastic?

From an operational perspective, the utilisation of recycled plastic means reduced energy consumption, lower operating costs and lower greenhouse gas emissions. Blue sky thinking would suggest that the benefits of using recycled plastic as a steppingstone towards adoption of a circular economic model mean preservation and integration with our natural environment, not domination.

Worthy of an article all of its own, the circular economic model aims to eliminate waste and adopt the continual reuse of resources.

“A circular economy is an industrial system that is restorative or regenerative by intention and design. It replaces the end-of-life concept with restoration, shifts towards the use of renewable energy, eliminates the use of toxic chemicals, which impair reuse and return to the biosphere, and aims for the elimination of waste through the superior design of materials, products, systems, and business models. ”
The World Economic Forum

Giving plastic a second life

Reprolene™, Holloway Group’s own proprietary blend of high impact recycled polypropylene, creates industrial strength containers for packaging, materials handling, supply chain and logistics markets, modular underground water tanks, water management systems and permeable surface stabilisation pavers that are non-harmful to the environment, plants or humans but strong enough to support heavy mining machinery. Recycled Reprolene™ offers the same structural integrity, weight tolerance and anti-contaminant properties of virgin polypropylene without the same environmental impact generated by manufacturing processes.

In fact, energy consumption in manufacturing plastic can be reduced by 71%* when using recycled plastic and with Australia’s primary emission source of greenhouse gases derived from energy production, reducing energy consumption becomes a larger issue than simply saving on operating overheads.

* Source: https://www.recyclingtoday.com/article/apr-life-cycle-impact-assessment-recycled-pet-hdpe-pp/

What can recycled PP plastic be used for?

Depending on the intended application, the use of recycled plastics in commercial settings are endless. Often used in the manufacturing of products outside of food contact or production (think communication pits, wheelie bins, irrigation pipes, air conditioning ducts, void fill and more) Holloway Group uses Reprolene™ extensively in products that service agricultural, equine, commercial, residential, civil and mining industries. To find out more about the use of Reprolene™ in Holloway Group Products visit the links below:

A Plus Plastics Enviro Range

Ausdrain Stormwater Management Solutions

Geohex™

Other links

https://theconversation.com/plastics-could-help-build-a-sustainable-future-heres-how-133585

https://www.azocleantech.com/article.aspx?ArticleID=240

https://www.recyclingtoday.com/article/apr-life-cycle-impact-assessment-recycled-pet-hdpe-pp/

Matt Holloway: Leading from the manufacturing floor

A Plus Plastics is a great example of a family-owned and run Australian manufacturing business that has adapted with the changing landscape in Australian manufacturing.

Our Managing Director, Matt Holloway, followed in his father’s footsteps and now leads A Plus Plastics into its next era. His dad John started the original business under a different name in the 1970s, and after John sold the company then bought it back in the early noughties, Matt joined the family business in 2005.

 

Matt started on the factory floor as a Die Setter, before moving into an Injection Moulding Technician position. Taking this hands-on experience from the production floor, he then moved into a business development role. It is in this role where he uncovered a deep passion for the business side of the injection moulding and manufacturing industry.

This passion led to a leadership opportunity, and in 2009 Matt accepted the Managing Director role at A Plus Plastics. Over the last decade as Managing Director, Matt has focused on driving the business forward for sustained success.

“While I was learning on the shop floor, I headed to TAFE to complete my Diploma in Polymer Processing,” Matt explains. “So I got a trade, effectively, in polymer processing. From there I went into BDM in sales, and then simultaneously through that period I completed a business degree.

“When I became MD, the business was very exposed to contract moulding, which means we didn’t have a lot of our own products. We had some existing lines, but I really identified that we had a lot of risk exposure to manufacturing other people’s parts. Instead of manufacturing our own products and selling them, we were getting people’s dyes in here and acting as a service to them.”

Product diversification to reduce business risk

To address this exposure to contract moulding, and the possibility of A Plus Plastics’ clients moving to offshore manufacturing or to other local competitors, Matt and his management team repositioned the business to focus on growing its suite of owned products and developing and capitalising on market opportunities.

“The management team identified that we needed to put all our working capital into developing our own lines, which I went and did for the company. Now with a big sales team around the country, we sell our products through a distribution network,” says Matt.

It was during this period of diversification that A Plus Plastics’ innovative GEOHEX erosion control system was developed.

“Our first design didn’t quite cut it, but we really believed in it,” Matt recounts. “And we nailed it with GEOHEX Series II. It became a huge success for us once we perfected the design.”

Reimaging what a manufacturing business can be

The same innovative philosophy has now been applied across the rest of A Plus Plastics’ injection moulding business. So much so that Matt now describes the business as, “a marketing company that makes things”, rather than a, “contract moulding service that makes stuff”.

“The plastic injection moulding industry has changed enormously since my father started the business in the 1970s,” he reflects. “I’m really proud to have led the team into this new era, because there are so many gloom and doom stories about Australian manufacturing.

“Australian manufacturing businesses are continually going into voluntary administration. Take the car industry as an example. We once had a thriving Australian automotive manufacturing sector, and that’s all gone overseas. I believe that we can manufacture successfully in Australia and that companies like A Plus Plastics can continue to not just survive but thrive.”

About A Plus Plastics

A Plus Plastics’ manufacturing capabilities extend from the production of small and complex plastic components right through to large materials handling products. A leader in the plastics industry in the design and manufacture of rigid plastic containers for packaging, materials handling, supply chain, and logistics markets, along with design and production of plastic ground stabilisation solutions.

“One of the biggest challenges for the Australian manufacturing sector is the cost of labour. In short, labour costs in Australia are much higher than many of the countries which we compete against in the plastic injection moulding industry,” says A Plus Plastics’ Managing Director Matt Holloway.

“When I started in my role at A Plus in the early noughties, we had very little automation, and while that worked back in the 80s and 90s, it definitely isn’t sustainable in the 21st Century,” he added.

A Plus Plastics has embraced automation and has invested in a fleet of robots for its production line, including six 3-axis robots and four 6-axis robots that are effectively making the manufacturing cells far more automatic.

 

Plastic injection moulders around the world

Automation has become a key tool for injection moulders all around the world when looking to maximise their capacity and productivity while keeping overheads manageable. Price competition is fierce amongst injection moulders, particularly those operating in Asia, where the cost of labour is considerably lower.

In order to remain in business, it’s important for injection moulders to maximise their margins, and automation has proven to be one of the most effective ways of doing this.

The role of robots

For many years, automation has played a key role in the most repetitive and rote parts of the injection moulding process: removing ejected parts from the mould, picking and placing pieces on conveyor belts or other conduits to the next step in the process, and so on. This type of automation is extremely useful for speeding up repetitive processes. It also has the added benefit of removing the more repetitive and boring tasks from A Plus workers.

A wide range of robots with varying capabilities can be used for automation on injection moulding machines. 3-axis robots are used for horizontal plastic injection moulding machines and high-speed processes, whereas 6-axis robots are flexible in both horizontal and vertical injection moulding machines, allowing a larger work envelope.

One of the main types of secondary robotic injection moulding is insert loading. Within the cycle time, robots can insert metal or plastic parts into the machine for the moulding process. They can then unload the machine, take the moulded part and insert it into another machine for the over-moulding process.

During the over-moulding process, two materials are merged to form one cohesive component. Not only can the robot remove the part from the injection moulding machine, but it can perform secondary applications as well. For example, while the injection moulding machine is working, the robot can take advantage of its valuable free time by performing trimming, de-gating, or other secondary processes. This leads to further increases in efficiency and output.

The future of injection moulding

The future of injection moulding will certainly involve increased use of automation, but it will also always involve people as well. Neither are going anywhere in the increasingly competitive market.

“While robots are really important for making our processes more efficient at A Plus Plastics, we still need people. We cannot run our facility with robots alone. They are very much a support technology to our people. We also understand our obligations to the Australian manufacturing sector and know that human labour is a key part of that,” says Matt.

Looking ahead to 2020 and beyond, Matt remains positive regarding the future of the plastic injection moulding industry in Australia.

“It remains the best way to produce many components, driving advances in distribution, warehousing, consumer technology, medicine, defence equipment and beyond,” he opines.

“The ability of an injection moulding facility to meet requirements for those applications and industries will, in many cases, play a major role in their success or failure. In-house automation or contract manufacturers with extensive automation capabilities will be necessary tools for almost all manufacturers and entrepreneurs.”

Want more?

Watch our robot technology in progress creating our GEOHEX™ Erosion Control System in our factory in Sydney’s southwest: http://bit.ly/35S91RT

Relocating or moving offices is never an easy – or joyful – experience. Aside from the general chaos associated with moving offices, one of the most stressful parts of moving is relocating all the documents that your business has kept stored away over the years.

While businesses today can convert many physical documents and records into digital formats, some areas of your business, such as accounting, accounts payable and purchase orders, still require both digital and physical records to be kept.

As most of these documents need to be kept for around seven years, it’s vital that they are stored in a safe manner that guarantees their longevity. This is where A Plus Plastics’ range of Relocation Crates can help you. Available in 68L and 34L capacity versions, our Relocation Crates are ideal for storage and transportation of all your important documents. So, what is it that makes them suitable for your needs?

Durable and crushproof

  • Double wall design: Adds additional strength to the overall structure, especially when under heavy loads. It also protects the corners of the crate, which can be an issue with other storage boxes.
  • Rib system: This specialised system is incorporated into the interlocking lid, which ensures that weight pressing down from above is evenly distributed, reducing crushing damage while in storage or being transported.
  • Water resistant: Made from commercial grade polypropylene, your documents will be protected from inclement weather conditions that would otherwise see them destroyed.

User friendly and efficient

  • Lightweight: These crates are easier to handle and make short work of packing and moving.
  • Compatibility: A Plus Plastics Relocation Crates are equipped with hang rails for suspension files, and these crates are also compatible with standard, legal and specialty files, along with lever arch files and books.

WHS friendly

  • A Plus Plastics Relocation Crates are designed to reduce strain when lifting. With ergonomically designed handles for easy grip, and rounded edges to reduce the risk of injury, they can also be equipped with an optional Skate for easily moving multiple crates at the one time.

Storage

  • Our range of Relocation Crates provide for optimal storage whether full or empty. With previously mentioned features, they can be easily and safely stacked one on top of one another for space-saving storage. They can also ‘nest’ (stacked inside each other) in a corner, taking up very little space.

Environmentally friendly

  • A Plus Plastics Relocation Crates produce minimal greenhouse gas emissions during manufacture, and our production processes use less energy and produces less waste than cardboard.
  • A Plus Plastics Relocation Crates have on average a 10-year lifespan and can be recycled at the end of their life.

Our Relocation Crates have been engineered to withstand the rigours of storage and transportation in order to protect your important documents. To find out more about our range, contact us on (02) 9603 2088 or fill out our online enquiry form.

If not properly cared for, items you have in storage or transportation can easily be damaged. In some cases, even the slightest jolt or knock can damage a part or piece of equipment. And you may not know that it is damaged until you try to use it, which can then have drastic effects on your work schedule.

This is why – especially if you deal in heavy machinery – that it is important that you take extra care in how you store and transport items. While accidents will happen, there are steps you can take to minimise the potential damage that can occur. One such way to help minimise damage is through investing in heavy duty transport and storage bins such as A Plus Plastics’ APHD Bulk Pak bins.

Made from high-density polyethylene (HDPE), making it extremely tough and durable, this storage or transportation bin was engineered to efficiently move, store and ship automotive, appliance and transportation components. The bin also easily collapses for the return journey, saving you money and space on shipping costs.

When we say this product has been engineered for ease of storage and transportation, we really do mean that it was engineered. Some key features of our APHD Bulk Pak bins include:

  • Rounded legs – for easy forklift handling and hand truck entry.
  • Safe stacking – the tops and bottoms of the bins have been designed to interlock with each other, providing safe and stable stacking.
  • Access doors – the bins come with two in-built fold-down doors, giving you easy access to your stored goods.
  • Ventilated walls – allows greater air-circulation for food products.
  • Forklift friendly – there is forklift access on all four sides of the bin for ease of moving.
  • 100% recyclable – A Plus Plastics refuses to contribute plastic waste to the environment. At the end of its service life, our APHD Bulk Pak bins are 100% fully recyclable.
  • Optional lid – provides an extra element of protection for parts or produce during transportation. The lid reduces the possibility of dust or dirt contamination while in transit.

The APHD Bulk Pak bin by A Plus Plastics has been specifically engineered to make storing, moving and transporting as easy as possible. With a 1,100kg load capacity, our APHD Bulk Pak bins are ideal for all types of components and products. Even at max capacity, their durability and design enable them to be stacked three high (3.3 tonnes), which helps save on storage space.

When it comes to ease of moving, the APHD Bilk Pak Bins are ideal for any warehouse environment. With forklift access from all four sides – unlike standard pallets – there is no need to concern yourself with how the bin is placed into storage. Just dump it and run. This helps increase warehouse efficiency, especially during busy periods.

Also, with its round legs and access doors, loading our APHD Bulk Pak Bins onto a truck is easier than ever before. The round legs ensure the bins won’t get stuck on edges or raised areas of the truck bed, while the access doors allow for quick and easy inspection of goods.

If you are looking to optimise your supply chain, as well as ensure that your goods remain safe and secure, call us on (02) 9603 2088 or fill out our online enquiry form.

When it comes to our jobs, we are always looking for ways to make it easier and more efficient. Sometimes there is nothing more satisfying than having everything you need within reach or easily locatable.
What if you could make that happened every day? Well, with the A Plus Plastics range of Tech Bins you can. At A Plus Plastics we understand the importance of being able to locate the part or equipment you need at a glance. Regardless of the industry you work in, everyone has time constraints, and our small parts Tech Bins, available in six bold and easy to identify colours, can help give you back the time you need.
Manufactured with 20% Talc for improved strength, our Tech Bins are suitable for even the hardiest industries such as manufacturing and automotive. Available in blue, red, green, yellow, black and clear, A Plus Plastics’ Tech Bins make it quick and easy to set up a system that will allow you and your staff to quickly and efficiently identify the correct group of parts or equipment. And with label holders on the front of our bins, you will be able to find the exact item you need with minimal fuss.
For an entire storage system overhaul, combine our divider and louvre systems for complete control over how you store your parts and equipment. These additional pieces will help you categorise and segment your parts and equipment.
Our range of Tech Bins are also ideal for businesses on the go. Today’s economy no longer relies on having a bricks and mortar premises to operate, more and more we are seeing roaming ‘mobile’ services that come to customers’ residences or places of business. Services such as mobile automotive repairs are the perfect example. Whether it’s one vehicle – or a fleet – the vans or trucks need to be fitted out in order to stock a wide variety of parts to carry out repairs. Also, when you’re on the road, time is of the essence, which makes our coloured Tech Bins ideal for arranging parts and being able to locate what you need in a hurry.

For further information regarding our products, or to place an order, please contact us on (02) 9603 2088, or fill out our online enquiry form.

One of the many benefits of CNC Machining is that you can update your product design as often and as quickly as you need by uploading, adjusting, and updating it as you need it to be adjusted. With CNC Machining, updating your designs are no longer held up by outdated machinery or long complicated processes.

CNC Machining is used by some of the largest companies in the world, specifically companies that are known for their innovativeness. Many small component manufacturers employ the use of CNC Machining because of its ease of programming to create small parts as well as being able to easily update product design.

For more information regarding how you can use CNC Machining in your business, or for your new innovation, contact A Plus Plastics on 9603 2088.

Achieving large scale production can be difficult, but it needn’t be when you opt for CNC Machining. With the potential to run 24/7, you’ll be achieving the production scale that you require in no time.

Computer Numerical Control (CNC) Machining and Milling utilises machine automation to deliver precise manufacturing commands to produce your product. The advantage lies in the ability for CNC Machines and Mills to produce accurate and precise creations for a wide range of complex designs repeatedly, something that’s just not possible via manual machining. In fact, this method of production is the primary choice for industries from agriculture and horticulture right through to automotive and aeronautical.

At A Plus Plastics, we offer the CAD/CAM facilities to concept your design and prototypes in conjunction with our CNC Machining and Milling services to bring your ideas to life. Our complete approach allows us to pick up inefficiencies in the design to ensure that once you’re ready for large scale manufacture, you’re producing the best product you can.

Achieving large scale production needn’t be tedious when you opt for CNC Machining and Milling. Contact A Plus Plastics on 02 9603 2088.

A Plus Plastics is proud to have been nominated as a regional finalist in the 2016 Macarthur Business Awards.

The Awards celebrate and recognise business excellence in the Macarthur region.

The company has been nominated in the Excellence in Innovation category for its GEOHEX® erosion control system.

The 100% Australian-made product has found a niche in a broad range of applications and demand continues to grow.

A Plus Plastics Managing Director, Matthew Holloway explained “there were some existing products in the market but we saw an opportunity to apply our custom moulding experience and expertise to deliver a better solution”.

“Being nominated as a finalist in these awards means a lot to us because there are a lot of great company’s doing exciting things in the region”.

Winners of the Macarthur Business Awards will be announced at the Macarthur Business Awards on Friday 2 September at The Cube, Campbelltown.