IQMS manages & controls plastic manufacturing processes efficiently & effectively
Located in Mullingar, County Westmeath in Ireland, Trend Technologies provides world class precision injection moulding services to the medical, automotive, industrial and IT sectors. Part of a global company which is headquartered in Chino, California, the Mullingar operation is just one of ten manufacturing facilities across eight countries.
Mullingar represents Trend Technologies European headquarters and the global centre of excellence for precision injection moulding. Operating from a 75,000 sq ft state-of-the-art manufacturing facility, the Mullingar plant boasts a Class 10,000 (ISO 7) cleanroom and in-house metrology laboratory amongst its capabilities.
Trend supplies components and assemblies through various Tier 1 manufacturers for leading automotive brands including Jaguar Land Rover, Triumph, Volvo, Renault, BMW, Saab, Ford, Fiat and Honda.
Specialists in medical device plastics, Trend manufactures wound care products, diagnostic laboratory consumables, ventilator housings, surgical handles and stent delivery systems to various medical device brands including Acelity, ARC Devices and Cook Medical. They also supply inkjet cartridges to Hewlett Packard.
Business changes puts strain on back office systems
Donal Lawlor, Trend’s Managing Director, a qualified management accountant, joined Trend in 1988 and has overseen a significant shift in the business from exclusively supplying to the IT market to diversifying into the automotive, industrial and medical device sectors.
“We’ve gone from purely supplying customers requiring high production volumes from a low number of products to more and more higher value complex product parts for both new and existing customers. We are now manufacturing a greater variety of products across more sectors using more and more moulds. For one customer, for instance, we have over 200 moulds.”
Donal Lawlor, Managing Director
Trend’s existing back office systems were struggling to cope with the demands of increases in part count, and the resulting production volume and complexity.
“We were relying on Scala accounting software and a complex system of Excel spreadsheets to manage the business. Our spreadsheets were used for everything from keeping track of production materials to manufacturing costs. Nothing was in real-time and could only be relied on for information purposes. Once a month we had to take a physical inventory and literally count everything in the facility. It was becoming increasingly clear that it was not feasible to continue managing the business in such a way.”
Donal Lawlor, Managing Director
Managing the entire manufacturing operation
Having had a recommendation from a supplier, Trend evaluated IQMS’ expertise in plastics manufacturing and decided to implement EnterpriseIQ including the warehouse management module and IQMS RealTime™ Production Monitoring in 2007 installed on their own dedicated servers. .
Using some external project management and support, Trend went live with the new software in early 2008.
“IQMS worked pretty much from the start. We took our time making sure that all the infrastructure, policies, data and procedures were in place before going live. We also ran the old system in parallel for the first few months, but never needed to touch it. Since the initial installation, we’ve added the quality management module and implemented EDI to serve the needs of our largest automotive customer. We are now in the process of adding the forecasting module to the IQMS mix as well as planning for implementing the project management module so we can manage the manufacturing of moulds more effectively. Since implementing IQMS we have access to real-time and accurate information. Quite simply, our manufacturing and production could not run without IQMS.”
Carmel Martin, IT Systems Administrator
Delivering quality to customers
One of the areas in the business that has seen the most benefit has been in quality management. Priding itself on consistently delivering to exacting product requirements, Trend quite rightly boasts about having world-class quality management systems in place.
Fully integrated from initial part design through to tool approval and finished product delivery, IQMS’ quality management system ensures that all products meet exacting dimensional, functional and cosmetic requirements, while Trend’s manufacturing operations strictly adhere to current good manufacturing practice (cGMP) and good documentation practice (GDocP) and regulatory standards.
Holding the ISO 9001:2008 and ISO 13485:2012 standards, Trend is also certified to meet the requirements of the Medical Devices Directive 93/42/EEC. Their quality management system covers component approval (including APQP and PPAP), process and product validation (IQ/OQ/PQ), in process monitoring (SPC) and process improvement programmes.
Throughout the system, the emphasis is on delivering and improving customer satisfaction driven by Trend’s continuous improvement philosophy.
“We’ve had some very good feedback from customers when they come in to conduct their own quality audits. Customers have been impressed with IQMS’ ease of use and the speed at which they can access all the information they require. We’ve found that the document management and control has been particularly good”.
Stephen Lynam, Project Manager
Adding greater value for the customer
Trend currently operates with 45 moulding machine ranging from 25 to 650 tonnes – and all the moulding machines are fitted with robotic take out systems and other product-handling equipment. Trend now has over 1,000 active BOM’s managed through the IQMS software with between 600 and 700 moulds.
“Over the past three to four years we’ve worked to add considerable engineering value to our offerings. We firmly believe that we can meet any injection moulding challenge thrown at us by our customers. We’re currently in the process of adding another clean room facility to boost our medical device production capacity. Our customers really value the consultative approach we take to every project and this is a strategy we will be continuing into the future. We aim to deliver more added value services to new and existing customers, with IQMS’ software being an integral part of the business, helping to manage and control the processes efficiently and effectively.”
Donal Lawlor, Managing Director