Midas Pattern Company Helps Sutcliffe Work, Rest and Play

  • Client required solution for the hollow play equipment design
  • The design also included the addition of soft interior foam
  • Midas supplied advanced rotational moulding tooling

A Yorkshire-based playground equipment manufacturer, Sutcliffe Play, alongside artists, Snug & Outdoor, has developed a product called Snug, a radical new approach to play which changes the psychology of the playground. The equipment, which consists of a family of large-scale, modular play elements can be used separately or together, giving children the opportunity to explore and learn in a fun, dynamic and exciting playscape.

Manufacturers Sutcliffe Play needed to use innovative tooling and moulding techniques to bring the newly designed concept to life and required the help of an industry expert to make the plans a reality. “Snug was totally new to us and comprised features that we simply didn’t know how to manufacture,” admits Andrew Lane, Production Director.

Once engaged in initial discussions with the team at Midas, Andrew was impressed by our ability and willingness to take an active and progressive role within the project. We worked with the client in an open and honest manner to ensure they received the product they wanted, at a desirable price and within the agreed timeframe.

At Midas, as well as specialising in reaction injection moulding, we have the expertise to produce rotational moulding tools. Rotational moulding is a specific process used for developing hollow moulds. The process includes heating, melting, shaping and cooling the polymer while it’s inside the mould, eliminating the need for external pressure.

Once inside the oven, the powder-charged mould is rotated around two axes to tumble the powder. The speed of rotation is relatively slow, less than 20 rpm, and as the mould becomes hotter the powder melts and sticks to the inner walls, gradually building up an even coating over the entire surface. When the polymer has been consolidated to the desired level, the mould is cooled either by air, water or a combination of both, allowing the polymer to solidify to the desired shape.

In addition to the hollow mouldings, Sutcliffe Play also wanted to fill the mould with soft interior foam. We had to overcome many technical hurdles to execute the idea, however, we are accustomed to finding solutions to every challenge we are presented with and soon had a working system in place.

After completing all trials and initial batches, the tooling and foam machine were transferred to Sutcliffe Play’s own premises, while we continued to provide ongoing support. Together, Midas and Sutcliffe Play were able to bring a radically new concept in play equipment to market with resounding success.

“I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say we would not have got Snug to market in the timeframe we wanted without Midas,” says Mr. Lane. The relationship throughout was open and honest, and all the better for it.”

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