Have you ever wondered how products are made? Did you just assume that it’s all just done by machine? Think again, as we talk you through how our best seller of 2017, the adorable Chip Mug, is brought to life (no, not like in the film).
Mugs are generally made by continuous batch production, often involving 3 factories;
1) Blankware Factory
Here the body of the mug is moulded. This mug is moulded by pressure casting 3 different moulds to make the body alone, each part is then stuck together by hand.
2) Decal Factory
This is where the printing and production of the decals take place. Water slide decals are produced for all the detail on the face, whilst the handle rim and part of the base is painted by hand. They rely on the dextrose corn sugar residue from the decal paper to bond the decal transfer to a surface. Water slide decals are thinner than many other decorative techniques; which stops them from feeling like a sticker over the top of the mug.
3) Decoration and final firing – Here the handle, rim and foot of the mug are painted by hand before the multiple water decals are also applied by hand. The mugs then undergo final firing at around 800 degrees celsius before being cooled, quality checked and packed ready for shipment – typically 2000-3000 pieces decorated per day.
And finally the finished product…
As labour costs rise, manufacturing is becoming more and more automated and finding skilled workers adept at this kind of hand decoration is becoming harder and harder to find.
With China fast becoming a consumer market, manufacturing faces considerable pressure to harness a workforce that possess these traditional labour skills. With better access to education and the opportunity to find alternative employment in the hospitality, retail and service sector, we see these methods of manufacture decline only to be gradually replaced by costly automatic manufacturing, suited to higher volume stable output. This is not only more expensive, but also does not allow for low order quantities; giving us less flexibility in production. Other developing countries start to fill the gap such as Thailand and India.