Our Sixth Form Design and Technology students were recently invited to see the production techniques used to make canoes and office furniture at two local Norfolk factories.

The morning began with a visit to Tootega watersports, where the students were shown how canoes and kayaks develop from initial ideas into full production runs. Two particular highlights were the explanations given as to why it is considered less environmentally damaging for the company to use new virgin plastic granules rather than recycled plastic and the procedures that are put in place to make products from their own waste materials. It was then amazing to see first hand the process of rotational moulding and the in-depth analysis of how the plastic flow was calculated to create different wall thickness at various places within the canoe hull.

The trip continued into the afternoon to another company on the same industrial estate; Lee & Plumpton. This company designs and manufactures office furniture which is distributed throughout the UK. It was fantastic to finally see first hand a multi-headed CNC machine which cut, shaped and edged various different shaped table tops. The group also saw robotic welding of the metal framework and how the metal work was electrostatically powder coated to give the product a high class finish.

Big thank you to both companies for their excellent hospitality on the day. The students certainly had an invaluable experience of our subject being demonstrated within an industrial situation and they will be able to draw on this experience in their A Level work.