Toolcraft Plastics Company History - 44 years of Toolmaking & Moulding
Toolcraft Partners was set up 44 years ago in 1975 by John Hemsworth and Peter Jelly. John had already clocked up many years working as toolmaker, draughtsman and development engineer for the likes of Napiers Aero-Engines (later Rolls-Royce), Duvall & Son; Lynton & Hurst; Linolite (developing tools for light fittings) and Plessey (developing silicon chips & circuit boards).
Pete started his career at Spectrol Reliance, apprenticed as a Mould Toolmaker from 1960 to 1969. John and Pete met at Plessey Semiconductors and carried on working together at Square D. In 1970, they decided to strike out on their own and started their business in Pete's garage.
Left to right: Pete Jelly, Nikki Hemsworth, John Hemsworth,
Russell Hemsworth and Julie Hemsworth (sitting down)
As John and Pete both had a strong reputation for their toolmaking skills with their former employers, they obtained a large number of tool orders directly from them. They worked from the garage for 2-3 years before moving to a small industrial unit in Gorse Hill, Swindon, where they had the space to hire a couple of extra employees and buy an injection moulding machine to trial their tools.
A few years later, the injection moulding business side of the business had grown so fast that it was incorporated into its own business, also offering printing and finishing options. In 1982 Toolcraft Plastics was born, employing 30 people. The company moved into its current premises in Argyle Street in 1988. John's daughter Nikki and son Russell joined Toolcraft in the late eighties. Nikki now runs the sales office, providing a welcoming service to our customers. Russell looked after all the IT systems, the website, the ISO 9001 certification and whatever else came up!
In the late 90s the company successfully branched out into vacuum forming, offering a custom service as well as a very large range of ready-designed plastic trays. James Caldwell, our Projects Manager & Designer, returned in 1998 after working for the competition for a while. His knowledge and experience has proven invaluable for us as well as our customers.
These days, a lot of the injection mould toolmaking work is done in China by Toolcraft's Chinese Partners – with Toolcraft's tool life guarantees in place for all tools that Toolcraft also mould from. This allows Toolcraft's customers to benefit from lower prices combined with Toolcraft experience. Most vacuum forming tools are still made at Toolcraft.
Toolcraft's injection moulding and vacuum forming service is running strongly as ever, with special focus on shorter run technical mould tools and mouldings. Russell took over as MD in 2010 and Toolcraft remains a forward looking family business dedicated to providing the best of tooling and injection moulding services.