Denroy Plastics – Leader in Polymer Innovation

Denroy, the world’s leading innovator in the design and manufacture of engineered polymer components and solutions, is expanding its business.

Denroy Plastics, based in Bangor, Northern Ireland, is one of the UK’s foremost providers of precision plastic injection mouldings. It is a subsidiary of Denroy Group Limited, which also comprises Denman International, the supplier of the world’s most iconic Denman hairbrushes; and Denman Inc., a regional sales office for the US.

“We are the manufacturing member of the Group, specialising in the design and manufacture of custom moulded products, working very closely with Denman and other customers,” says John Irwin, Managing Director, explaining that about a third of the company’s business is generated by Denman, the sister company within the Group, with the larger part accounted for by leading companies from the aerospace, automotive and other sectors.

Flying high

The company has developed extensive knowledge and expertise in the processing of a diverse range of polymers, from commodity grades such as polypropylene to engineering grades like PEEK and PPS prevalent in the aerospace industry.

As a specialist in high performance, engineering thermoplastics, Denroy is a partner of choice for companies such as Airbus, Boeing, Spirit and Bombardier, supplying components for various aircraft structures and systems. Denroy currently supplies parts for wings, nacelles, fuselage and propulsion systems.

Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, aerospace represented about 45% of the company’s business, and the sector will remain a key future strategic focus despite its current challenges.  “Aerospace was the central focus of our R&D technology pipeline. We remain active and committed to this strategy. It will ensure we are well-positioned to take advantage of the opportunities that will undoubtedly arise when the aerospace industry recovers,” says Mr Irwin.

The company’s track record is impressive. In 2010, Denroy commenced a project with Bombardier Aerospace to develop electrostatically dissipative PEEK brackets for the C-Series platform, now the Airbus A220. These brackets are now used throughout the A220 wing. Denroy has also successfully completed the qualification process to become a Boeing approved supplier. In 2019, Denroy signed a collaborative research agreement with Airbus to work on the Wing of Tomorrow. Denroy is also one of only eight companies in the UK to hold the ADS 21st Century Supply Chains Gold Award, an aerospace and defence continuous programme requiring on-going levels of on-time-in-full delivery and quality of 99%+.

“We are well-positioned to remain a valued supplier to leading aerospace players. First, we have a unique manufacturing capability currently unavailable elsewhere, and second, the barriers to entry in this sector are significant. The accreditations and approvals that we hold constitute a competitive advantage, one that we intend to maintain for the future,” says John Irwin.

At the forefront

Denroy’s comprehensive manufacturing facility in Bangor uses state-of-the-art Engel injection moulding equipment using the latest software for process set-up and repeatability. With machines ranging from 5 to 900 tonnes, Denroy can produce components weighing from a few grams up to 4.5 kilos in a wide range of materials.

Mr Irwin points out that unlike most other suppliers in aerospace, Denroy is very versatile and agile in accommodating varied customers’ requirements. “That diversification has paid off throughout the pandemic,” he says. “Innovation is one of our core company values and we take pride in our ability to quickly respond to changes. That has helped us win new business.”

Regarding future developments, he admits that supply chain consolidation seems inevitable. “Unfortunately, it is probably inevitable that there will be some companies in the supply chain with similar or complementary capabilities that will not withstand the current severe economic difficulties. We are a resilient and stable company and we may be able to fulfil any emerging supply chain gaps if they arise.”

The company’s own supply chain is an integral part of this future development and solid, long term relationships with its partners, such as UEpro, the mould supplier, will remain crucial for future projects.

New business

Denroy works with partners both locally and internationally to collaborate and enable the advancement of thermoplastics and polymer technology and is recognised as an innovator in its field of business. This strong focus on research and development has just won the company a £3.6 million R&D project over a three-year period for a customer from the aerospace sector, the details of which cannot yet be revealed.

But that has not been the only success during the pandemic. In response to new needs, the company has established a new brand – Denpro – focused on PPE production and supply. “The first product launched was the `Heroshield’- a face shield produced by a not-for-profit collaboration of local companies coming together to provide PPE equipment to local NHS workers in Ireland and Northern Ireland, throughout the COVID-19 crisis.”

At the same time, the company was busy developing its second product for the public -Bubl: a type II medical-grade barrier face mask equipped with a replaceable eight-hour filtration system, making it 100% reusable. Bubl, now available to buy, is the UK first transparent facemask enabling one to see facial expressions, read visual cues and even lip read.

The company is now testing its third product, an FFP3 mask aimed at the UK health sector. “Being fully manufactured in Northern Ireland, the FFP3 mask fits the UK government’s PPE strategy specifying 70% self-sufficiency in the UK,” says Mr Irwin.

To support the planned new business Denroy, currently employing 170 people, will recruit additional 120 local workers and invest over £3 million in production capacity expansion. “People are the greatest asset of any company and we make sure that we provide the right opportunities and support our employees in their career development,” affirms John Irwin.

Praising the workforce, he concludes: “It is also thanks to our staff, hardworking, committed and dedicated to the company’s values and standards, that during the summer Denroy achieved SC21 Gold, an award recognising the highest of standards in quality and delivery, for the 3rd consecutive year. We are the first manufacturer in the UK to have achieved this level of performance and we aim to continue this for many years to come.”

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