With a rich history dating back to 1989, Holmgrens Plast AB has been at the forefront of plastic injection moulding manufacturing for over thirty years.
Based in Gnosjö, Southern Sweden amongst a cluster of other plastics manufacturers, Holmgrens Plast is a family run company founded by Stefan Holmgren with an annual turnover in excess of 100 million krona (circa £8.6m).
Heavy investment in new technology and a history of being first
From its inception, Holmgrens Plast has invested heavily in advanced machinery, automation, and new technology.
On its 7,000 square metre manufacturing shop floor, Holmgrens Plast has 23 robot-controlled injection moulding machines ranging from 28 to 1,000 tonnes, which enables the manufacture of plastic parts ranging from 1 gram to 5 kilogrammes.
Holmgrens Plast also has facilities for casting metal inserts into injection moulded parts; potting; ultrasonic welding of plastic parts; laser marking; clean room assembly; tooling manufacture; prototyping; in mould labeling (IML); and 3D printing to name but a few.
On the subject of tooling, Stefan Holmgren commented on the Gnosjo Region website:
““The trend over the past three years has been that ten percent of our sales go to new tools in new projects, which can be compared with the average of 2 percent in the rest of the plastics industry. Every year, we produce about 100 new tools.”
Driven by innovation, Holmgrens Plast has been a pioneer in more ways than one in plastics manufacturing across Scandinavia. They were, for instance, the first manufacturer to offer one component polyurethane (PUR) production in the region – and can also boast two component PUR production which it introduced in 1995.
Complex projects delivering innovative products and continued growth
Holmgrens Plast’s focus on delivering innovative, complex projects has proved successful, both domestically and internationally. The majority of its customers are based in Sweden and the products they manufacture are mainly for the Scandinavian market, with some products being shipped worldwide.
A combination of cost-effective production methods and innovation in design and prototyping has meant that Holmgrens Plast has been able to win a new customer in 2020 that has a requirement for 19 new projects; they chose Gnosjo rather than offshoring production to Asia.
Holmgrens Plast has also been involved in the design, manufacture and assembly of advanced medical devices over the past couple of years, including:
Dosell, which is a mobile-connected pill dispenser to enable safer medication management at home and for residents in care homes. In Sweden alone, it is estimated that 300 people are hospitalised every day due to the incorrect use of prescription drugs.
FlowOx, which uses a vacuum to improve blood circulation in the feet and has been designed for patients with ‘blood flow deficiencies in the lower limbs such as Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD), (i.e. Diabetic Foot Syndrome); people with paralysis (due to spinal cord injury) suffering from pressure ulcers; as well as dialysis patients.
Holmgrens Plast has also been involved in the continued development of a dynamic trim control system for boats. ZipWake promises ‘a more comfortable ride, better performance and improved fuel consumption’.
A need for specialist plastics manufacturing ERP & real-time monitoring
Continuing the theme of Swedish firsts, Holmgrens Plast was, in 2005, the first company to implement IQMS’ EnterpriseIQ and MES system (now called DELMIAWORKS) in Sweden.
According to project manager Tiia-Mai Truup, who has been with Holmgrens Plast for a decade, the business needed an industry and process-specific ERP system to manage those complex projects.
“Before Holmgrens Plast implemented IQMS [now called DELMIAWORKS], we used a number of manufacturing software systems which were developed locally. These were, however, not made for injection moulding. It just wasn’t possible to continue using these systems to manage the business.
”One of the major problems with the software we had was that we could not see what was happening in production in real-time and it certainly wasn’t designed for injection moulding,” Tiia-Mai continued.
“We simply used the software for the financials and stock inventory, but not for the moulding process. IQMS was the perfect choice when Holmgrens went through the selection process as it meets the needs of plastics manufacturers so perfectly”.
Since Proximity became IQMS’ reseller and provider of implementation services across the UK, Ireland and Europe, we have supported Holmgrens Plast to upgrade their system to the latest version as well as implement new mobile modules within the business.
Managing projects and controlling BOMs
One of the areas which sets DELMIAWORKS apart from other ERP systems, especially when applied to injection moulding, is the way the Bills of Materials (or BOMs) are structured.
Tiia-Mai is responsible for creating new inventory items and BOMs for each project that goes through production:
“When setting up new BOMs in IQMS, I may need to look at things such as machine cycle times, cavitation and tooling on a project-by-project basis. I may also need to factor in regrind percentages and the weight of runners and sprues. IQMS enables me to do that easily through its pre-configured structure.”
“IQMS is so well designed that it gives us perfect control over all our production processes and ensures we can monitor them in real-time. This means we can ensure we manufacture the right items, at the right time and ensure the very highest levels of quality management along the way.”
Gearing up for continued growth
Holmgrens Plast has continued to invest throughout 2020, installing four new all-electric high-speed moulding machines that enable fast cycling times and high performance moulding of thin-walled products. Warehouse capacity has been increased by 800 pallets so that the business can meet the needs of customers more efficiently.
Back in 2008, when Tiia-Mai joined the company, Holmgrens Plast employed about 30 people across the business. Now, they have 50 with further recruitment ongoing.
“We’re planning to buy more machines, the machine park is going to be bigger. We plan to build out the company more and we need some more space so we’ve bought land to build on. We passed the 100 million Krona mark during our 30th anniversary year. Our basic plan is to grow even more” commented Tiia-Mai.