Bay firm expecting this year to break all records
A TORBAY company is expecting 2012 to be its best year yet.
Hymid, a specialist plastic injection moulders and tool makers, has just moved out of Brixham and expanded into a long-empty industrial unit in Torquay.
The company's turnover last year was up almost six per cent and it is expecting this year to break its records.
The business requires traditional engineering as well as cutting edge computing and production skills, all of which are in big demand.
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Hymid's unique selling point is it can inject two different materials into a moulding, which is being used to great effect for a new case for the Raspberry Pi case.
It is one of the few companies in the country to use this technique.
Some of the original founders of the company had a background working with companies such as Sifam when they specialised in this area.
Sifam actually created the building in Old Woods Hill for injection moulding operations before moving out of that unit.
Hymid technical sales director Andy Tettmar said: "That's why it is so perfect for us. Five of our six machines are capable of two shot moulding, which probably gives us the biggest capability in the UK for trade service.
"Torbay is still a bit of a centre for such moulding operations."
The beauty of the Hymid operation is that items can be mass produced quickly.
The company was chosen by Exeter-based ModMyPi to make cases for the new 'basic' computer the Raspberry Pi developed to encourage children to learn computing and programming.
One of its biggest production items is the casing for an electronic Thermapen sold worldwide.
It produces some 20,000 a year in a range of different colours.
Andy explained: "This is the best-selling digital thermometer in the world.
"Our customer has a massive product range of which this is the biggest selling and have just been awarded the Queen's Award for export. We make four parts here for the thermometer. It is waterproof, easy to use and looks good."
Medical work is a lucrative field to be in, but is demanding in terms of cleanliness and traceability, he said.
"That has forced us to up our game. Rather than just transfer the machines from Brixham, we have also upgraded our benches for example and much of the anciliary equipment.
"We also have two new machines on the way and together it represents an investment of £250,000."
Another product is the case for a gas detection system which people can use in confined spaces and has to be waterproof and is impact resistant.
The area in which Hymid operate hasn't really felt the impact of the recession, said Andy.
"This will be our busiest ever year. We have a couple of new clients, new tooling projects and a big new project with a new product line.
"At the same time existing customers are doing well such as the Thermapen. This is why we have ordered new machines and there's a possibility in future of new jobs if things develop the way we hope they will."
The moulds used are designed by Hymid but produced in China.
"We work very closely with them to ensure we are in control throughout and we send someone to China to make sure the moulds work right before we get them.
"If you are making a million items from that mould, how can you guarantee quality control without spending a lot of time in China? It makes more sense to get the manufacturing done in the UK.
"We see ourselves very much as a British manufacturer. British manufacturing has had a hard time in the past few years, but it feels like it is being appreciated again.
"Our customers want that piece of mind. They can come in and see us quickly and easily. We can go and see the customer easily too."
In the first few months, the staff are rattling around the Sifam building a bit.
But they are already dedicating one area to more clean work to help attract more future medical business.
In another area, they are granulating their scrap material for re-use where possible.
When they first took the building they expected to sub-let the extension area, but they have been so busy they have made it their mould workshop used by their three fully skilled toolmakers and three company apprentices who can carry out repairs or modifcations to the moulds.
Andy said: "We have a lot of room for growth here. I think Torbay is the right place to be. You occasionally get people saying we are a long way to travel, others are keen to visit on a Friday afternoon and have a weekend here.
"The bypass will make it a lot easier for transport. Deliveries go out most days but it is better here than it was at Brixham.
"Hymid previously had its sales office at the Vantage Point Innovation Centre in Paignton and its production in Rae Barn Road, Brixham.