Barplas Limited

barplas-manufacturing

Early in May 1994 , my father and I were sat in the conservatory at his home.  We were bouncing ideas off each other, and one such idea was to manufacture Plastic Containers. Over the course of a weekend I studied the project, created a business plan, analyzed it, and when we next met we discussed the plan and decided to proceed.

We bought 1.5 Acres of land in August 1994, started ground preparation in September, and finished construction of the 30,000 Sq. Ft. building by the 5th of January 1995. We waited a few months for the injection moulding to arrive from Sandretto in Italy, and airfreighted in the printing machinery from the USA. The first container rolled off the end of the production line in August 1995. The “Barplas” team consisted of me and my girlfriend, my dad, my mum, John Ellis an engineer, and Martin. That’s it.

I designed the first generation of Barplas Plastic containers, and by a combination of good luck, good design, and good engineering, our products gave our clients added value, and were market leaders.

Within 18 months of starting up, major competitors such as the Plastics division of Metal Box, Lawson Mardon, Lintainers, Thurgar Bolle, HK Plastics, and others went out of business. This trend continued until only three companies remained worldwide, ourselves included in our field. Manufacturing cylindrical parallel sided containers was not something that everyone could do.
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By the early 2000’s we had world class customers and made a world class product. We enjoyed at 10% share of the UK market share, and had made tens of millions of containers and products for tens of millions of customers all over the world.

Being Eco-sensitive I wasn’t comfortable with disposing of any of our plastic waste by-products. By 2000 this was becoming a storage headache, and I put my mind to solving it. My solution was to design an innovative, Paint Roller Tray, and all the waste plastic we would ever produce from that day on would be granulated and made into Black Plastic Roller Trays.rollertraytxt

Good design breeds success, within two months of starting manufacture of the Roller Trays, we had about half of the whole UK market, and we were making so many that we commenced buying everyone elses waste plastic too. Word got around and we were honored with a visit from the Lord Mayor of Bradford John Stanley King, who came to have a look at at revolutionary manufacturing techniques.

Asked about competition from China, and their cheap labour costs, my response was that we had massively greater output, no labour (fully automated with robots), and our product was made at effectively zero raw material cost. Heck, if we weren’t making Black tray’s as we’d be having to pay someone to take our waste away.

I love designing stuff. The ability to do useful and creative stuff is exciting. But I took it to the next level, I came up with idea’s, designed products and built factories to make them.  I call it “Joined Up Thinking”, and  I created another company, Imago developments ltd, and starting a whole new chapter in my life.

In 2006, Barplas was sold to RPC Packaging a major Public packaging manufacturer. They possibly entertained the idea of closing the company down and moving production over to one of their other existing sites. Instead when they realised just how efficient the operation was they did an about turn, and Barplas continues to manufacture containers and will do so for years to come at the site were we founded it.