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Toy Manufacturing - A Truly International Enterprise
Children find toys endlessly fascinating and derive hours of fun from playing with them, and parents love giving them. Hardly any adult or child will give much thought to how the toys came to be made. Parents are happy to know that their child’s toys are made to the highest standards and leave it at that, while children’s knowledge of toy making is usually limited to the kindly toymaker Geppetto, the “father” of Pinocchio. But the real-life story of how today’s toys are manufactured is just as fascinating.
Like all other manufacturing industries, the toy sector has experienced profound changes over the past 30 years due to the massive growth of the global economy. Large-scale manufacture in the UK, and much of the rest of Europe has all but ceased. Nowadays, components for a single product can be made in several different countries – with China fast becoming a major player in the international toy trade.
The manufacture of any toy – no matter how traditional – begins at the design stage. Designers are either employed in-house, or an outside team of professionals is engaged. Computer aided and mechanical design processes are often utilised before the prototype formation goes ahead. The toy company itself then subjects this to product review, moulding, trial production, evaluation, and finally full production.
When it comes to making the components or the toys themselves, however, the process is almost always outsourced to a third party.
A very wide range of raw materials are used in the toy manufacturing process – wood, fabrics, plastics, resins, paperboard and card, metal, zinc alloy and electronic components.
The manufacturing process itself depends entirely on the sort of toys being made. Dolls and action figures are usually made from injection-moulded plastics, whereas toy cars and trains tend to be manufactured from die-cast metals, and hand or spray-painted afterwards. Components for self-assembly kits and board games will require a professional printer, while dolls and stuffed toys are almost always sewn and stuffed by hand. Many toy makers purchase components from one vendor and then assemble the finished product at another facility.
At The Imagination Station, the emphasis is on traditional toys made from high-quality, durable, traditional materials. the vast majority of our products are manufactured from wood, metals, fabrics and environmentally-friendly plastics, and are made to meet – and in many cases exceed – international standards on quality and safety.
In an increasingly globalised economy, we believe that it is important to combine great value with great quality.