Specialising in precision engineering and tool making, Mordialloc-based Plastool recently ramped up its capabilities with a Makino V80S vertical machining centre from Headland.

Plastool was established by Bert Down in the 1950s, originally operating out of Box Hill, Victoria. The company has undergone significant growth over the years, and now employs a staff of 14 at a purpose-built 1,600sqm facility in Mordialloc, in Melbourne’s south-eastern suburbs. The business remains very much a family operation, with Bert’s sons Gary and Andrew now serving as Chief Executive Officer and Manufacturing Director respectively.

Plastool provides high-precision 3D CNC machining, engineering and toolmaking solutions. This includes new tooling, repairs, and modifications to all types of moulds. The company’s primary focus is on the food packaging, aerospace, defence, automotive, housewares, medical, electronics, building and construction industries. It has now expanded into thin-wall plastic and composite tooling.

According to Kieron Donoghue, Project Manager at Plastool, the secret to Plastool’s success has always been good leadership.

“Gary and Andrew Down always research the future trends of the market and pursue them,” he explains. “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. 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, Plastool’s success is underpinned by the high quality of the work it delivers. The team at Plastool produces impressive results, with integrity, attention to detail and client service. Their technical expertise and project management systems are second to none. Every job is on time and accurate.

Donoghue discusses why Plastool recently purchased the Makino V80S vertical machining centre from Headland: “The Makino V80S has a larger machining envelope than any of our current machines. It has higher tolerance capabilities, with five axes. 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.”

Investing in technology such as the Makino V80S help Plastool optimise its operations and maintain a competitive edge, Donoghue add: “The machines save us time, increase efficiencies, and increase our market size. We have machines that few companies have. They’re high end, five-axis and not easy to come by. We can take on work from anyone; we enable anyone to have access to this equipment.”

The team at Plastool were very pleased with Headland’s customer service.

“Headland is always very attentive,” says Donoghue. “They are very helpful and always solve problems for us.”

Large-scale manufacturing such as the automotive industry may have declined in Australia, but Donoghue regards this as a positive – not a negative – for businesses like Plastool.

“In Australia, we’re becoming more of a niche market,” he says. “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.”