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Stewart Group Holdings unveils new plastic tooling method for lightweight carbon fibre parts

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Stewart Group Holdings, the leading UK manufacturer of technical plastic moulded products for the automotive, industrial, professional catering, packaging, home and gardening sectors, has become the first Tier 1 supplier in the world to create moulds from soluble plastics.

Having trialled and tested this innovative new process extensively, the company offers this advanced method of production for lightweight, hollow carbon fibre and fibre reinforced parts.

The development means businesses in aerospace, defence, marine and vehicle manufacture can benefit from significant component weight reduction by sourcing parts through the Banbury based business. Aircraft hollow sections, for example, can be produced from a single piece of carbon fibre instead of multiple parts, by using Stewart Group Holdings core tooling.

Soluble plastics offer huge advantages over traditional moulding methods. Wax and sand cores are notoriously messy and need to be disposed of, while wooden cores need to be burned out. With soluble plastic, once the final product has been cured, the core simply washes away. Traditional plastic cores are left inside the hollow section which also adds to the final component weight and this is also eliminated by using the Stewart Group Holdings cores.

Commenting on the new production method for fibre reinforced products , Richard Butler, CEO & Chief Engineer of Stewart Group Holdings, said: “Stewart Group Holdings cores, when used as a tooling core for carbon fibre moulds, increases at a stroke the range of lightweight parts and components we can offer the manufacturing industries. It’s also much cleaner and more precise than traditional tooling methods and reduces the final component weight. This exciting new development reaffirms Stewart Group Holdings’ position as a world-leading innovative plastic component manufacturer.”

This latest development when coupled with Stewart’s range of long fibre injection moulded products allow Stewart to offer a full service supply service to automotive and aerospace customers in particular.

In January 2014, Stewart Group Holdings gained ISO/TS16949 certification. This recognises the company’s management and control systems and allows the company to guarantee repeatability in the quality of its products.

Stewart Group Holdings offers an extensive portfolio of products across its three specialist divisions of aerospace, automotive and medical industries. Additionally, they are the brand leader in plastic gardening products and have been a longstanding supplier to the house wares and catering business sectors.

For more information, visit www.stewartcompany.co.uk.


Stewart - backgrounder

Stewart is the UK market leader in the manufacture and supply of technical plastic moulded products for the gardening, home and professional catering sectors. The company offers an extensive portfolio of products ranging from garden planters and propagators, to food containers and specialist storage products. Three specialist divisions also work across the aerospace, automotive and medical industries.

The company employs 70 permanent staff and 30 seasonal workers at a purpose-built 178,000 sq ft facility in Banbury, Oxon, which opened in September 2012. The factory and distribution centre includes state of the art machinery giving Stewart a world class advantage over its UK competitors.

It enjoyed a turnover of £13 million in 2010.  

Stewart is headed by CEO Richard Butler who built his career in the technical plastics and rubber sector and has worked for leading manufacturers in the aerospace and automotive sector.

Originally established in 1945 the company was the subject of a BIMBO (buy-in/ management buyout) in June 2011.  ECI, the mid-market private equity specialist, invested £12 million in the company in a deal that valued the business at £17 million.

Stewart Garden produces grow your own products, watering, pots, propagators and garden accessories and sundries. These are available in over 1600 outlets across the UK and Eire including major DIY outlets such as Homebase and Wilkinsons and garden centres across the UK such as Dobbies and Klondyke/Strikes, The Garden Centre Group and some 600 plus independent garden centres.

Stewart Garden plays an active role in the gardening and leisure industry through its membership of:

  • GIMA – the Garden Industry Manufacturers Association
  • Gardenex – the Federation of Garden and Leisure Manufacturers Limited
  • HTA – the Horticultural Trades Association

Stewart won the House Beautiful Best Product Garden Category in 2005 and the Klondyke Dry Goods Supplier Award in 2010. The company was a GIMA Awards - POS Finalist in 2009, and Best of British Finalist in 2011. It’s Heat and Grow Thermostatic Propagator was top in the Which? Gardening Best Buy test on windowsill propagators 2011.

Stewart Home provides food storage and homewares products. These comprise of the Refine, Essentials and Seal Fresh food and drink storage collections, offering hygienic storage in a wide range of colours and shapes.

Stewart Catering supplies the Gastronorm and Seal Fresh food storage ranges to the catering industry and specialist cook shops via wholesale and cash and carry outlets.

Other Stewart divisions are:

Stewart Aerospace

Stewart Automotive

Stewart Medical

Each division of Stewart is BS ISO 9001-2000 and TS16949 accredited and operates from the company’s manufacturing, warehousing and distribution centre in Banbury, Oxon.

For more information visit www.stewartlimited.co.uk

For editorial enquiries, pictures, interviews and samples, contact Emma De Maio on 07921 160 134 or email emma@redheadpr.co.uk