Stop motion animation manufacturer resumes production utilising 3D printing to develop outsourced parts in-house.
Animation Toolkit are a small Salford based firm that manufactures and supplies stop motion animation equipment, including armature kits and parts, animating clay and software. Owned by Wes Wood, the business supply clients including Disney Productions and Netflix, whilst also selling direct to the customer through their retail website.
Andrea Hill, Account Manager at GC Business Growth Hub initially met Wes back in early February 2020, after he contacted the Hub’s enquiry team about supply chain issues they were encountering in China due to the outbreak of COVID-19.
After initial discussions Andrea and Wes recognised that the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic would impact their ability to manufacture in the coming month and created a pandemic plan to mitigate the risks. Andrea referred Wes to the Hub’s Innovation team to explore 3D printing opportunities in the UK.
Three weeks later, in early March, Wes received news that his puppet hand paddle parts were quarantined in China with no likelihood of arriving in UK, halting his production line.
Innovation advisor, Paul Halliday spent time with Wes to develop an Innovation project brief, that would be
circulated across their networks in universities, research facilities and partner organisations to identify a suitable provider. This led to Wes working with Manchester Metropolitan University - Print City.
Following a series of meetings and exchanges of design files, an initial prototype of a new design for the puppet
hand paddle was developed. This product will now be
tested with the client and in the marketplace in order to
help formulate future manufacturing and design strategy.
"Working with the GC Business Growth Hub and their network of research and academic facilities, during such uncertain times, helped keep our business afloat when this could have easily taken us out of the game, like it unfortunately has for other manufactures with supply chain issues.”Wes Wood
Hear from Animation Toolkit founder and managing director Westley Wood as he talks through his experience
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