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Case Study

Why Investing in New Machinery Is the Key to Plastool’s Success

Why Investing in New Machinery Is the Key to Plastool’s Success


Headland recently had a chat with Kieron Donoghue, the Project Manager at Plastool. We discussed their business’ success as well as the manufacturing industry in general.

Success Secrets

The secret to Plastool’s success is good leadership. “Gary and Andrew Down always research the future trends of the market and pursue them. They are willing to reinvest any profits back into the company. This includes investing in new machinery and equipment. As well as keeping employees’ skills and training up to date,” explains Kieron Donoghue.

“Our strengths are being able to do things with more accuracy than our competitors. We take on more difficult challenges and trickier jobs than other companies.”

With a talented, dedicated team, their success is due to the high-quality of the work produced. Plastool produces impressive results with integrity, attention to detail and client service. The team’s technical expertise and project management systems are second to none. Every job is on time and accurate.

The Headland Connection

Kieron discusses why Plastool purchased the Makino V80S from Headland recently. “The Makino V80S has a larger machining envelope than any of our current machines. It has higher tolerance capabilities (5 axis). This enables us to fit more parts on the table and change our programming styles. Makino has a great reputation. And it was the size we needed… New machinery means expansion and putting more work through the factory. This allows us to be more productive. ”

“The machines save us time, increase efficiencies, and increase our market size. We have machines that few companies have. They’re high end, 5 axis and not easy to come by. We can take on work from anyone. We enable anyone to have access to this equipment.”

Plastool were very pleased with Headland’s customer service. “Headland are always very attentive. They are very helpful and always solve problems for us.”

Kieron from Plastool with the Makino V80S tucked away in its new climate-controlled environment.

Industry Insights

Finally, we asked Keiron his opinions on the industry in general. “In Australia, we’re becoming more of a niche market. As long as you can find something that you’re good at… And find a customer who needs what you can offer… The opportunities are there. Keep developing your skills and keep travelling down that road.” Large scale manufacturing may not always be the focus in Australia. Yet Keiron views this as a positive, not a negative.

About Plastool

Gary and Andrew Down’s father, Bert Down, established Plastool in the 1950s in Box Hill. As a small business of 14 staff, they have experienced significant growth over the years. Plastool are now based in Mordialloc.

Plastool provides high precision 3D CNC machining, engineering and toolmaking solutions. This includes new tooling, repairs, and modifications to all types of moulds. They focus on food packaging, aerospace, defence, automotive, housewares, medical, electronics, building and construction industries. They have now expanded into thin wall plastic and composite tooling.

Examples include:

  • machined components
  • special-purpose machining
  • carbon fibre
  • aluminium
  • stainless steel
  • graphite
  • aerospace components
  • complex machining
  • epoxy tooling board
  • design and build of jigs and fixtures
  • manufacture of prototypes and models etc.