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Pupils get a lesson in product design at Icon Plastics

Precision plastic injection moulding firm Icon Plastics has opened its doors to a party of sixth formers to give them practical experience in prototyping components as part of their A-level studies.

The 3D Design and Technology students at Stokesley School have been given a brief to design and make a set of working headphones that would appeal to a target market of eight to 12-year-olds.

Phil Walker, Operations Director at Icon Plastics, said: “Icon Plastics is committed to supporting the wider community. Therefore, when we heard that students from Stokesley School were learning about new product design as part of their course, we were only too happy to invite them in.

“The aim was to demonstrate to them the precision, creativeness, innovation and challenges that make up the product development process.

“As well as helping with their studies, we hope the visit may have encouraged some to consider a career in this business arena as it is important to inspire a future generation of workers.”

Teacher Mike Stevens said: “This was a fantastic opportunity for the students to expand their knowledge by seeing first-hand how prototyping works in a real workplace environment.

“Giving students the opportunity to experience the world of work all adds to knowledge that will help them move on to next stage of their lives whether that’s higher education, training or employment.”

The design brief is the first of two modules during 2015/16 in the lead- up to the Year 12 students’ exam next June.

They are being encouraged to make full use of a wide range of resources including 3D printing, laser machines, lamination, drape forming, vacuum forming and sublimation printing, in order to simulate a mass-produced product that has been injection moulded.

As part of the task, they also have been advised to consider how all the parts are to be fabricated and assembled along with the internal speakers and cables. The end product will be tested and evaluated and its commercial viability identified.

Icon Plastics, which employs 43 people, has invested £1m in its premises at Durham Lane Industrial Estate since it moved there in 2014.

The company, which has 24 injection moulding machines, operates around the clock five days a week. It recently was awarded the prestigious global-scale accreditation, ISO/TS16949, which enhances its ability to win contacts from major blue-chip companies in the automotive sector.

Icon Plastics manufactures and supplies complex plastic injection moulded parts and assemblies into the Automotive, Electronics and Defence industries.