Toolcraft Plastics, an established custom plastic moulding & vacuum forming company, has recently joined forces with Stephen Scargill of Aqueous Plastics to expand its services to include plastic fabrication.
“We already served a niche market with short-run, precision plastic moulding and vacuum forming. Plastic Fabrication is a logical extension to what we do.” says Russell Hemsworth, MD, “When we needed a new Production Supervisor, Stephen, with his extensive experience in plastic fabrication, was the right choice”.
Apart from reorganising Toolcraft’s production department, Stephen has kickstarted Toolcraft’s break into the plastic fabrication market.
Russell: “We have exciting times ahead as we expand our plastic fabrication service. We’re not only going to manufacture bespoke Waterfed Pole systems, but we’re also looking to develop a range of products that will improve both the efficiency and safety of Water Fed Pole Businesses.’
Below: Stephen Scargill working on a battery box and tank several years ago.
Stephen Scargill, Toolcraft’s fabrication specialist.
Stephen Scargill is, of course, a well-known name in the window cleaning business and brings great expertise and experience to Toolcraft. Stephen has worked in the plastic fabrication industry for 30 years, including 12 years in the Water Fed Pole Industry. During the 7 years he worked at Ionic Systems Ltd he was the Senior Fabricator and Fitter. He was often sent to distributors in Europe to teach them how to use the WFP systems and to advise on safe installation.
Stephen then set up his own company, Aqueous Plastic Fabrications, and designed a whole range of products for the Waterfed Pole Industry. One example of Stephen’s products is the Flat Tank System, which offers a great space-saving advantage: a flat tank incorporates most of the footprint of a vehicle with minimal height, so it’s possible to the cover over the tank and still uses the bed footprint for other things. When properly covered over, flat tanks can take up to 500kg of weight. Another benefit of the flat tank system is universal weight distribution: As the tank is utilising the entire footprint of the vehicle, the weight of the tank will be evenly distributed across the whole bed of the vehicle.
The Square Trolley System is also one of Stephen’s ideas. The Square Trolley is completely made from Polypropylene which makes it not only lightweight and easy to move, but also very chemical resistant so it’s suitable for Softwashing as well. As they’re fabricated, the trolleys can be made in any size the customer requires, from 25ltr-90ltr. All electrics – pumps, batteries, controllers – are hidden away for protection with an easy access recharge point for the battery.
Other new designs by Stephen include Softwash Systems; DI Vessel Holders; Hosereel Stands; Storage Modules and more.
Stephen: “It’s flattering to find that other suppliers keep trying to copy my designs. As I’m always thinking of new ideas & tweaks to improve them, the competition is left behind again soon enough”.
Why a bespoke system when a standard one is cheaper?
The main advantage of choosing a bespoke fabricated plastic tank is that bespoke tanks can be purpose-built to the user’s exact requirements, to the exact volume of water it needs to contain, or to the payload of the vehicle. Fittings, such as hose connectors, pumps & controllers, can be placed exactly where needed. Moreover, different thicknesses, finishes, and colours of plastic can be chosen, allowing for colour coded systems if needed. Finally, bespoke tanks can be made with a layer of insulation between two layers of plastic, instead of the single plastic wall of a moulded tank.
With a system built around a ready-made rotational moulded tank you are dictated to regarding the tank size, footprint and the location of all electrics and filtration. Ready-made tanks are a good bet for someone just starting up their own business, who don’t have very many jobs yet and don’t have the budget for a bespoke system. When a business takes off in earnest, they can progress to a bespoke tank that’s going to keep water hot throughout the day, isn’t going to leak and has the fittings placed where they’re most convenient.
Ready-made tanks are quicker to leak for two reasons. Due to the process, they’re made by, rotational moulding, they’re not the same wall-thickness throughout. They are also made from polyethylene which cannot withstand heat very well. Bespoke fabricated tanks have an even thickness throughout and in case of window cleaning tanks, they’re made of polypropylene which is much stronger and has much better chemical & heat resistance than the polyethylene used for standard tanks. To show the benefits of each more clearly, Toolcraft created this bespoke versus ready-made tank comparison.
What can Toolcraft do that others can’t?
“The advantage of starting the plastic fabrication service at Toolcraft is that Toolcraft already has an in-house design team – we’re working together to design even more new products. With 20,000 square foot premises and a full range of CNC Machines, Mills and fabrication equipment we’re ready to meet and fulfill any order. We can now also achieve designs that are not possible by fabrication alone, such as domed shapes, which can be created through vacuum forming and then incorporated into a fabrication afterward. Toolcraft can also Pad and hot foil print on plastic, to add logos, pictures or text to the fabricated products. All this will bring our fabricated products to a whole new level”, says Stephen.
It’s not just a plastic tank.
For the window cleaning market, Toolcraft can make any size tank needed from a simple water tank to a complete water fed pole system with all fittings needed, such as electric pumps, pump housings, filler tanks & hoses. Clips, mounts and screwthread bosses for hoses, pipes & immersion heaters can be added. As can fast-fill outlets, return pipes & valves for pressure washers and electrically controlled fill/shut off valves /solenoids. Other fittings include mounting points for power up reels; voltmeters; inline TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) meters and DI (De-Ionisation) vessel holders.
How does it work?
“First, we need all of the measurements and exact knowledge of the planned use of the tank, as well as the fittings that are required. We then design and fabricate the tank to your specific requirements. The customer can decide to fit the tank in their van themselves, or have us fit it”, says Stephen, who has helped well over 3,000 customers fit out their vans ready for window cleaning, oven cleaning, fascia cleaning…you name it.
Toolcraft Plastics Ltd are a family company and easy to work with. They welcome all inquiries. There is a dedicated fabrication quote form on the company website which asks for all the information needed to quote quickly. They aim to answer within 1-2 working days.