Injection moulding for the Channel Tunnel

Project: Custom-designed heavy-duty cleat strap

Services:
Design for manufacture, injection mould tool design, production tooling, material selection, plastic injection moulding and rapid tooling.

Our Client:
A large OEM who were commissioned by ElecLink, which was a large Channel Tunnel Project in 2018.

Our Mission:
To produce cable liners to support new power cables for a new electricity interconnector between the UK and France, inside the Channel Tunnel. Up against very tight timescales and stiff competition, we were the only manufacturer to provide injection mould tool design through to production tooling in-house, including small batch sampling to facilitate modifications before starting full production.

Our Solution:

The BEC team out-did themselves on this one, demonstrating their fabulous teamwork, commitment, determination, flexibility and sheer hard work! Overcoming every one of the challenges brought on by the sheer scale of this hugely exciting project – one of the most intense in our history!

Involved from the outset we were able to fully comprehend the entire supply chain and appreciate the timescales, complexity and pressure to overcome multiple problems; mould tool design, modifying the tool, properties of the material, variations in thickness and responding quickly to varying test reactions, keeping the client regularly updated on this extremely time-critical Channel Tunnel project.

During the Design for Manufacture process, it became necessary to adjust a component to reduce cycle times to meet the unchangeable timelines. As well as supplying rapid prototypes for short-circuit testing and increasing production capacity by increasing machinists’ shift patterns.
By offering the flexibility and capability to set up 6 months’ worth of dedicated production time, we were able to provide many solutions including:

• Designing the injection mould tool to meet specific material requirements including; flame retardancy to EN5454, low smoke and fume risk, shore hardness and all at the right price
• Produce a fully automatic injection mould tool
• Design and develop a mould tool to run quickly enough to produce 6k mouldings per week, incorporating air-ejection and water-cooling channels to reduce cycle times and allow greater tool temperature control
• Stand-alone refrigeration unit to keep water temperature controlled
• Store in a dedicated unit to ensure we could call off required quantities as and when.

Result:

Literally overnight, with the autonomy, capacity and scope, we set up a dedicated 24-hour production run. This ran 5 days a week, and, recruiting a full night shift specifically for the project, we produced the required 6,000 per week. That’s a whopping 150,000 mouldings in total!

We designed and manufactured the following mould tools:
• 3d printed parts for testing
• Single cavity injection mould tool, hot sprue with direct injection, pin and air assisted ejection and machine finish. Our customer originally requested a prototype tool but because we exceeded lead times a testing only tool wasn’t needed, saving both time and money.

The two direct current cables inside the Channel Tunnel enable the electricity produced, on either side of the Channel, to circulate between the two countries as needed.

We can help with all aspects of your plastic injection moulded products.  From designing your next mould tool, to making it, testing it and running off samples before going into full production.  Proud to offer the flexibility to scale up or down to suit you.  Simply give us a call on (0)1425 613 131 or email hello@becgroup.com