Achieving Process Carbon Neutrality and Investing in our Manufacturing Future
Midas Pattern Company are leading the charge on responsible and sustainable polyurethane RIM moulding manufacture and it’s fair to say the Bedford based company have a lot to shout about at the moment. With two nominations for Energy and Sustainable manufacturing awards, the installation of their own solar farm and confirmation that they have fulfilled scope 1 & 2 requirements for carbon emissions, they can justifiably be proud.
With climate change rising fast on the agenda for both consumers and legislators, Midas have given themselves and their customers a head start on the competition. The reduction of carbon content in the manufacturing process and thus supply chain underlines their commitment to a long-term sustainable business and will no doubt help secure their manufacturing future.
Using its unique, low cost composite mould tools, Midas provides both prototype and production solutions to customers looking for flame-retardant polyurethane mouldings. Primarily suited to the development of high value, innovative scientific equipment, an aspect that saw the company step up and support numerous coronavirus projects, they also manufacture solar panels and housings for EV charging stations. The mould tools are produced completely in-house at their Bedfordshire site from master patterns machined by the company’s extensive CNC facility.
Process Carbon Neutrality
The path to process carbon neutrality at Midas has been a focused journey, taking just 14 months from inception to completion and one that has required significant effort and investment. An impressive achievement in the depths of a global pandemic and in a year already set to be a significant year for the company as they celebrate 30 years in business. A momentous achievement for any UK manufacturing company and one that went hand in hand with a burning desire to actively address climate change and reduce environmental impact.
From their own investigations the team were beginning to see a changing trend in consumer behaviour. Research was indicating that two thirds of consumers thought more positively about brands that could demonstrate a neutral or reducing carbon foot print and when you consider up to 75% of the CO2 within a product is generated by the supply chain, Midas knew how vital it was that manufacturing supply chains focused on achieving a low carbon/carbon neutral process.
In April 2019 the Midas Green Initiative (#MidasGreenInitiative) was born and with a relentless dedication, energy supplies were switched with the support of Ecotricity and Crown Power and Gas, waste streams reduced, a zero landfill waste policy introduced combined with the removal all single use plastics from the process. Significant investments were made including the installation of a Dual Charge EV station to encourage the use of electric vehicles by both staff and visitors and 650 PV panels laid to create their own solar farm. In addition a new energy efficient compressor was installed after a comprehensive energy audit by Anglian Compressors. The compressor switch alone has helped to reduce carbon emissions by 60 tonnes per annum and offered ROI in just 1.5 years.
2000 M2 of PV Solar panels being installed across both factory roofs
The Role of Reaction Injection Moulding.
Reaction Injection moulding is a process favoured by many in the high tech, medical and scientific world as it provides an opportunity to source very large mouldings, with complexity similar to injection moulding, in much lower volumes and with significantly lower tooling costs.
Typical products that favour RIM moulding are manufactured in relatively low volumes (50-2000 off each year) and with life cycles of up to 20 years so part durability is fundamental. Instruments require stylish and robust moulded panels to enshroud and protect their internal components and can range in size from handheld devices through to 3m floor standing instruments.
Midas Sales and Marketing Manager Rachel Sparkhall comments that
‘Science and high tech companies favour RIM moulding because they can source parts that varying greatly in size and they don’t have to commit to large batches size, which in turns require much less space for stock holding’
‘A real design benefit of the process is that reaction injection moulding produces sink free mouldings. All split lines and feed vestiges are removed via the finishing process and customers can order parts in different colours and finishes, batch to batch. Any reduction in design time and reduced risk of failure can be crucial in getting new innovation to market'.
Scientific instrument with a single RIM moulded enclosure, finished in a two colour epoxy paint.
The Future of Polyurethane
So what’s next?
The Midas Green Initiative (#MidasGreenInitiative) will continue to shine a light on climate change and promote how carbon neutrality is indeed achievable for UK SME manufacturing companies. Not one to rest on their laurels, Midas have their eyes now firmly set on Product Carbon Neutrality and achieving scope 3 in carbon emissions, so watch this space.
For all the latest developments and green news, go to the dedicated Midas website