Barkley Plastics has been renowned for its automotive expertise in manufacturing everything from under bonnet components to cosmetic parts such as light guides.
It has started to diversify into other sectors to manufacture items such as orthopaedic items for the medical sector in the UK, China and the Dominican Republic, supplying products for underwater boat lighting and a tooling project to develop battery technology for agriculture and off-road vehicles.
The firm employs 96 people working three daily shifts and produces over 20 million components annually.
The business won a new contract to produce brake light components for the Nissan Qashqai and needed a production line dedicated to this piece of work in a busy factory.
Barkley Plastics is part of the Manufacturing Assembly Network (MAN) and heard about West Midlands Made Smarter through a presentation at one of its meetings.
Matt contacted Martyn Mangan, Made Smarter’s Digital Transformation Specialist for Worcestershire, Greater Birmingham and Solihull who came along to one of the largest toolmaking facilities in the UK along with Ioan Lutas from WMG at the University of Warwick, Made Smarter strategic partner.
Matt said: “We’ve always been keen on embracing technology, starting our digital journey some years ago with our Enterprise Resource Planning system so that we can see our on-time data, and it encouraged us to keep continuing investing in technology.
“We have been keeping our eyes out for technology which would make us work more efficiently and through our research, we wanted to invest in a six-axis cobot and have been looking into it for over a year.
“We have worked with WMG before on several projects over the past ten years so it was great to hear their recommendations through the digital roadmap.”
Loan Lutas said: “I appreciate Barkley Plastics is a forward-thinking company because they already had several robots in place in different parts of their factory.
“This collaborative robot will help to quicken up their processes in producing parts for the Nissan Qashqai and I wish every business would be open to digital transformation.”