A small band of members and a couple of guests including Peter Martin and Brian Lewis visited the Dapol model railway factory at Chirk on 30th May. We met and lunched at the local Wyevale Garden Centre before moving on to the Dapol shop and factory where we were made very welcome.
The factory whilst being quite small and with staff away for the half-term holidays was still a hive of industry. The plastic parts for each model, including ’N’ gauge ‘00’ gauge and ‘0’ gauge, are extruded using a number of machines depending on the size of the part. We saw the NEM couplings being made.
Remarkably the basic ingredient is white plastic pellets but with a very low proportion of black ones. Mixing and applying heat to the plastic results in turning the whole sprew black. The bodies are spray painted by hand before having any decoration added, each colour applied as a separate process. The components for each model are subsequently assembled completely by hand, chassis, couplings, buffer, wheels, body and load, with a member of staff adding parts at each stage.
I certainly expected to see more automation. Finally a visit to the shop.