Innovation Page


Innovation by Design

With over 40 years experience we have mastered the art of innovative plastic manufacturing and invested in the latest state of the art technology ensuring that we continue to deliver on our promise of quality and consistency. Our Dandenong factory is well equipped with over 100 injection moulding machines, Grinders, and Robots, all operated with advanced technology software. Our integrated software platforms provided us with intelligent solutions, effective and timely outcomes. Our team is capable of bringing your products from conception to realization!

Custom Moulding - Case Study for product R & D

Former Pot: P63SSQ
Here’s a case study of how a recently introduced tool developed and how the process took shape from the Grower, to GCP, through to our Tool Maker.
[Category: Horticulture (greenlife) Packaging].

Developing an item specific to the needs of the grower/re-seller/breeder, could cover numerous factors. It could involve a customer wanting to make their systems more efficient in a commercial sense, assisting in streamlining a grower’s production steps through adding a tray or similar. It could be to maximise growth with a new design for minimising wasted area for growing, giving more pots per square metre. It could be any number of reasons.

One of the best tips with thinking about customising your own product would be to ‘Always start with the end in mind and keep this in your thinking’. It keeps you focused on why you are doing this, what benefits it will give and how it will help the business overall.

ID Problems

  • Slow cycle time
  • Didn’t fit trays suitably
  • No Taglock. Only a slit
  • Process

  • Assess volumes
  • Drawings are made to clarify size & encapsulate ideas
  • Development:

  • Models made to suit
  • Labels fitted to assess
  • Flatter base means more sturdy in the tray
  • Customer

  • Confirmation of Tool development - YES/NO
  • 3D Testing

  • Assessed for tray fit - empty & with plants
  • Label locks tested
  • Drainage ticked off

  • ID Problems & Development Process

    It develops from a need from the customer as mentioned. It could involve an improvement to a current design in the market, to changing the shape totally to make it a part of a bigger system in the production nursery or retail outlet. Growers think about how to become more efficient every day. It could be at the potting area, the growing area, the dispatch area or the retail area. It would have to be the most front of mind thinking going on each and every day and with this in mind, the correct pots and associated trays can be the driver to help streamline the process. From here we can identify the shape and other configurations to suit. We talk about the estimated numbers required. This usually would be on an annual basis, but can be over any time frame to suit the customer. This would be the basis for any payback by a customer who would want to own the relevant tooling.

    The Tooling

    This is built only after all other factors have been taken into account. Size, diameter, drainage configuration, taglocks, will it fit into a tray system, how will they stack for transport, etc. Then the process of commissioning a tool can occur. You want to make sure all your question are answered before we commence this process. The process from commissioning a tool to the tool being ready for production depends on the size of the product. Generally speaking we are at around 12 to 16 weeks plus time for die trials. A smaller single cavity product can be 12 weeks. An intricate multi cavity tool could be 24 weeks. After an initial soft die trial, the moulded product is inspected. Based on the customers’ expectations and feedback from the die trail, at this point small adjustments can be made to suit the final intended design. If this occurs, we make these adjustments and conduct a final die trial for you. Once all approved, we have the tool hardened which takes approximately 1 to 2 weeks. We are then ready for production.

    3D Testing

    Once the customer has a thought bubble, we would sit with you in our tool room and make a sketch or even better, have a CAD (2D and 3D computer-aided design software) drawing made up. Then we can chat about the shape, what works in your business, what is required with taglocks, base drainage, overall shape, in fact all the areas the customer feels would be an improvement to the current system. Once a technical CAD drawing is prepared, a 3 dimensional model is made to scale. It is produced as a 3D plastic model and is built from tiny layers of a plastic called Polyamide (SLS). This is an exceptionally versatile, slightly flexible but brittle material. It can resist a small degree of impact but is mainly rigid. The surface has a sandy, granular look and is slightly porous and it can make a design become tangible in an inexpensive way. The 3D model now comes to life. It shows you exactly what you would expect from a manufactured product so you can really have a sense and feel of how the item would fit in with your growing or retail systems, growing trays, etc. How it will fit in with the modern potting machine, pot dispensers, conveyors and pot forks if they are used.

    The Cost of Tool Development

    Any tool development project would first need to show a potential Return for the Investment: Scenario 1: The customer identifies an item specific to their operation which is of no use outside their business. In this case, the tool can be purchased outright or paid back over an agreed timeframe. Scenario 2: Several customers have an idea that could be used in the relevant industry to improve other business efficiencies, etc. In this case GCP would assess the market size and consider developing the tool for the sale to the whole customer base.

    The Decision

    So if you have an idea and want to explore all the options with a custom moulded product for your business, it may take more than one design to be drawn up and possibly have a 3D model printed to help in making a decision. But, if you are looking for efficiencies, streamlining your production with a different shaped pot and/or carry tray to even giving your product more prominence on the retail shelf with better spacing, a custom mould could be the answer to all your questions.

    The Result of Custom Design

    You end up with a product that covers all your criteria. It can add value to your business, in possibly more than one area. The market may determine what’s ‘The Norm’ for the industry, but sometimes it’s One grower who sees an opportunity, starts with the end in mind, and can provide the new way forward.