GX Group, an Usk-based technology and innovation company specialising in product design and development, is relying on MRIM™ production moulding services from Midas Pattern Company to provide attractive polyurethane covers for a new generation of market-leading monitoring, logging and management systems used in the tankered liquids industry. The move has not only improved the aesthetics of the covers, which were made previously from sheet metal, but has lowered production costs by 20%.
GX Group, which employs 30 people, uses a multidisciplinary and holistic approach delivered through its subsidiaries – GX Design Engineers, GX Systems and GX Environmental – to produce products that stand the test of time.
“In essence we take ideas and turn them into viable commercial solutions – everything from a baby’s cup to an electric vehicle,” explains the company’s Design Director, Gary Ross. “We try to be flexible by offering our services to everyone from a one-man band to blue chip multi-nationals.”
The company’s product design development company, GX Design Engineers uses pioneering technology that includes product refinement and value engineering, while GX Systems creates bespoke software for industrial control systems. These systems are also used extensively by GX Environmental to offer customers its own range of products, such as the QL800 device for the real time monitoring, logging and management of tankered liquids like clean water or sludge.
Having acquired the company (IEA) that previously manufactured the forerunner of QL800, GX Group set about redesigning the instrument. The aim was not only to make it more modern and attractive in appearance, but to reduce its production costs through the use of less expensive materials, reducing manufacturing/assembly time and to simplify its maintenance requirements.
“The units were previously sheet metal which, although robust, was expensive due to the welding requirements,” says Gary. “Furthermore, with sheet metal you don’t get any of the attractive curvature that comes for free with moulding. As a result, we decided to redesign the product to include a moulded front cover. We have used Midas extensively in the past with great success and it was deemed that MRIM™ would again provide the optimum solution in terms of weight, durability, aesthetics and cost.”
MRIM™ is the name given to Midas’ unique composite resin tooling system which is used to produce high quality polyurethane mouldings. Guaranteed for up to 5000 parts, the most complex of mould tools can be produced, including square faces, undercuts, metal inserts and collapsible cores. MRIM™, which can produce both thick and thin sections, is suitable for parts measuring up to 2.5 x 1.0 x 0.5m.
“I think the fact that we are keen to use Midas for our own products, says a lot,” states Gary. “Midas are very good at taking our 3D CAD files and discussing them in a sensible and intelligent way, offering suggestions regarding draft angles and insert positions. The quality control function at Midas is also impressive, which is important for parts such as covers, which are customer-facing.”
The volumes for the new QL800 are in the region of tens rather than hundreds per annum, which again makes for an ideal fit with MRIM™ with its low tooling costs and short lead-times.
Midas Pattern also paints the moulded covers, which measure 900 mm high by 560 mm wide by 150 mm deep, to meet the requirements of GX Group. In fact, because some of the units are being used in the Middle East, Midas had to select paint that could withstand high solar conditions without degrading. The covers also have to provide a high IP rating to prevent the ingress of contaminants such as dust, sand and water, while offering simple access to the interior of the device for maintenance purposes.
“Midas has been making the covers for the QL800 for about five years and we’ve had no issues whatsoever,” says Gary. “The parts look great and meet all of the necessary mechanical functions. In short, I think this project reflects GX Group’s attitude to design and has placed the product in an advantageous market position.”
On behalf of: Midas Pattern Co. Ltd., 22 Shuttleworth Road, Bedford MK41 0RX tel. +44(0)1234 358394, fax +44 (0)1234 358321, Contact: Rachel Collier, Technical Sales Manager, email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.midas-pattern.co.uk
GX Group, The May field, USK, Monmouthshire, NP15 1SY. Tel: 01291 673437, email: email@example.com www.gxgroup.com