Louth plastics giant Luxus has helped to bring a lighter touch to transit packaging innovator Loadhog’s product design team thanks to a recent apprentice ‘job swap’ experience.
Luxus Academy apprentice Robert Silvester, 23, had the opportunity to input into the thermoplastic materials selection required for a ‘live’ product design project as part of his placement with the company’s client and partner Loadhog, of Sheffield.
Robert said: “Metal replacement has increasingly become a key requirement for our clients as they aim to bring both lightweight and cost saving benefits to their products by exploring polymer alternatives.
“So I was really pleased as part of my week’s ‘job swap’ experience to be responsible for this essential part of their design project.
“I was tasked with specifying engineered thermoplastic materials to replace the dye cast metal currently being used to deliver a much lighter product with the same strength and stiffness you would expect from metal – so helping to really drive innovation through materials science.
“It was also great to see the ‘bigger’ picture - at Luxus for example we test our sustainable compounds to meet ISO standards.
“While at Loadhog they take this on to the next stage by testing their injection moulded prototypes for resistance by physically breaking them to help fill gaps in their product knowledge.”
As an apprentice with the Luxus Academy Robert has spent the last year experiencing different challenges right across the business from work as a technician in the laboratory to providing support in purchasing and stores – but this was the first time he could extend his knowledge of how the materials Luxus engineers are designed and moulded into the finished product.
The next stage of the ‘job swap’ is for Luxus to arrange for a Loadhog apprentice to benefit from a similar experience by gaining a better understanding of how its thermoplastics with a high recycled content are sourced and formulated at its in-house Technical Centre to meet client specifications.
Peter Atterby, managing director at Luxus, said: “We’re pleased that Robert has benefitted from the swap with our partner, Loadhog.
“The ‘swap’ brings a greater depth to their understanding of all the elements of viable materials development from a customers’ perspective and provides ample opportunity for the transfer of skills between our companies. So we’re very much looking forward to supporting Loadhog’s apprentices in the coming months too.”
Rob Deakin, Loadhog’s manufacturing manager, said: “The strength of the partnership between supplier and customer is always the key to delivering results.
“Loadhog’s continued push for new and innovative solutions naturally questions all our suppliers’ capabilities.
“The exchange program gives a very clear definition of these capabilities and allows both Loadhog and Luxus to understand each other’s boundaries in achieving its goals. Moving forward and working together will benefit both our businesses and give further foundation to our already strong relationship.”