Dapol Continue To Invest In UK Production
Oct 09, 2021
Dapol Continue To Invest In UK Production
Whenever there is an issue with products arriving from the far east there are the inevitable cries of “bring production back to the UK”. It would therefore appear that there may be some of you out there that don’t know that Dapol already produces a wide range of products here in the UK and have done since the mid 1980’s. Just a tiny selection of the UK produced range is shown in the photograph below.
A tiny selection of UK produced Dapol products
Dapol UK Production
Dapol started to produce models and model kits in the UK back in the mid 1980’s at a site in Winsford before moving to Llangollen in 1994. The company remained in Llangollen until 2004 when Dapol moved just down the road to Chirk where we have continued to grow our manufacturing capabilities.
Sam & Carol hard at work on the moulding machines in the early 1990’s
The photographs above were take circa 1992. Sam (left) and Carol (right) are both still with the company. Sam is the now the factory production manager and Carol is our chief tampo printing operative. The blue and yellow machine that Sam is operating is still going strong and now produces OO gauge couplings and chassis components rather than Dalek exoskeletons. The machine that Carol can be seen operating was replaced by a Victor Taichung Vr2500NES-678 back in 2017.
“Victor” who is pictured below, with Ian sat at the work station putting wagon chassis together for the main production line to use at later date. Whilst Ian was not operating the machine when the photograph was taken he does provide a good idea of scale, victor is about the size of a small caravan and weighs in at just over 12MT (Metric Tonnes).
The Victor machine is capable of accepting the largest tools that Dapol has on its books at the moment and will be used extensively in the production of the Stroudley 4 wheel coaches when we take ownership of the tooling package from our tooling manufacturer.
The Stroudley coaches represent a step up in model complexity for our UK production team. There are approximately 100 individual components that have to be assembled on every model. These models will also be the first we produce in the UK with electronic components incorporated in them in a very long time.
The photographs below are images of our first attempts at construction using test shots produced on Dapol’s behalf by the tooling manufacturer and our first attempt at decoration can also be seen.
The undecorated model is an example of the most complicated version of the coaches and the decorated one is of simpler construction that we put together earlier to start learning the decoration process. The decoration of the mahogany livery coaches is extremely complicated, but we are very pleased with the results so far. We will keep you up to date on this project when we have more news.
Undecorated UK test assembly of a Stroudley 4 wheel coach
Decorated sample of a Stroudley 4 wheel coach to be produced in the UK
Continuing To Invest In UK Production
Dapol is continuing to invest in its UK production efforts with the acquisition of another new injection moulding machine. The first picture below shows the old machine being rather ignominiously dragged away to be recycled by a local specialist. The 140, as the team used to refer to it as, was a long serving piece of equipment but was increasingly found to lack the flexibility that we require.
The old moulding machine being removed from the factory for recycling
The new machine is a Negribossi Nvas 180T. It arrived at the Dapol factory on the back of a covered flatbed lorry which was greeted by our chief engineer Brian who is looking very pleased with his new machine in the first photograph below. He kept a close eye on proceedings throughout the installation process, which only took approximately 45 minutes from initially lifting it off the lorry to its final positioning in the factory. An extremely efficient job was done by the installation team.
Brian Dapol Chief Engineer looking very please with the new arrival
The installation is carefully monitored by Brian
The photograph below is of the machine in its final resting place in the factory. It then took a further couple of days to finalise all of the various commissioning processes that need to be carried out before the production team could put but the new machine into full use.
The new machine is in its final position and awaits the commissioning process to start
Julie can be seen producing one of our ever popular self-assembly kits in the photograph above. Debby, our chief fitter, has said that this machine offers far more flexability than the old 140 and is capable of efficiently running the smaller tools (as well as larger tools) that would be a waste of the Victors capabilities.
Julie moulding and packaging self-assembly kits produced on the new machine
Sticking with vehicle size analogies (for those that may be interested in such things) the Negribossi is about the size of a short wheel base van and weighs in at a fraction over 6MT. For those of you that wish to know, the numbers that are incorporated in the machine names refer to the amount of force that the tools can be shut with. 140 refers to a closing force of 140MT and 250 is therefore a closing force of 250MT. As a general rule of thumb the larger the tool you are running the higher the necessary closing force required for the injection process to take place.
What the future holds
There are several other exciting developments taking place in the background at Dapol that will further enhance our UK production capabilities. These include investments in both people and equipment. We look forward to bringing you more information about these projects when they come to fruition…… watch this space.